Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A fantastical imagination about choices

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
(Infinity Features Entertainment, 117 minutes)
Directed by Terry Gilliam

Starring Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Tom Waits, Jude Law, Heath Ledger, Lily Cole, Andrew Garfield. 
Written by Terry Gilliam,Charles McKeown

Director Terry Gilliam is known for creating astonishing and fantastical worlds. His rich imagination is shown again in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, produced in December 2007.
The tragic death of film star Heath Ledger during the filming of this movie forced Gilliam and co-writer Charles McKeown to make a few changes to the script, adding three saviors — well-known stars Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

The movie is set in present-day London. There is a Victorian-style traveling theater led by Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), which is on a horse-drawn caravan, driven by Percy (Verne Toyler).
The film opens with Anton (Andrew Garfield), the emcee, introducing the “Imaginarium” show. Curtains up, Parnassus appears on a moving seat in meditation, with a red mark on his forehead. Parnassus has the ability to inspire our imagination. 

His daughter, the beautiful 15-year-old Valentina (Lily Cole) wearing Victorian clothes, emerges from the “Imaginarium” mirror.
It is later revealed that Parnassus had a deal with Nick (Tom Waits). Parnassus had promised to hand over Valentina to Nick when she turned 16 or in this case of the movie, in three days. In return, Nick pledged to grant Parnassus immortality.

Back on screen, the theater show is disturbed by a drunken boy who comes up to the stage and lures Valentina. The boy follows her through the mirror and eventually gets punished.
The friends of the drunken-boy get mad because their friend has disappeared and create chaos until the police intervene and ask Parnassus to leave. The caravan stops at a bridge under which they find a hanging man from under it.

The stranger, Tony Liar (Heath Ledger), whom they rescue, is actually bad news for the company as he’s involved in a sinister conspiracy involving children. Parnassus uses him to draw crowds to the
“Imaginarium” and Tony has no trouble luring volunteers. 

Tony tells his new friends that he can’t remember his past life, but these lies cause him to be perpetually anxious. At this point in the filming, Ledger died and is replaced — in identical white suits and tidy beards — by the similarly attractive Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. 

This film’s world premiere was at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival — but was not part of the competition and also appeared on screen at several international film festivals before it was officially released on Dec. 25, 2009. In some countries, however, the movie is being released this year. 

The film has also been nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Film Award, a British Independent Film Award, a CDG Award and a Satellite Award. So far, it has won the Satellite Award for Best Costume Design.

*click the title above to see my little article - the original on its website :)

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