I was following the progress of this movie ever since Heath Ledger died. I didn't know Malaysia started showing this movie until a friend surprised me with movie tickets!
The story opened with a troupe of street performers, consisting Anton, Scrumpy, Percy and of course Dr Parnassus, trying to attract attention of the local crowd with a weird story. A drunk young man entered the magical mirror and failed the test of faith. The audiences were then told that Dr Parnassus was a monk who made a deal with the devil to gain immortality and youth so that he can be with the one he loved. In return, the devil demanded his children's soul upon their sixteenth birthday. So when Dr Parnassus' daughter, Scrumpy was about to turn sixteen, the devil made another deal with Parnassus. Who got themselves five souls wins the bet and gets Scrumpy. One night, the troupe picked up an amnesiac stranger, Tony, and he helped both sides collect four souls. I shall not further spoil the movie for you. Watch it in your closest theater.
I admittedly do not understand the story or its objective. It does sound like a simple story but the loops and turns in it was simply confusing but interesting nonetheless. The element of surprise was always there where I find myself always wondering what will happen next. The imaginarium is indeed an imaginarium but something rather similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nothing in the imaginarium surprises me. On the other hand, the development of the plot is something that intrigues me. Hours after the movie, I was still thinking of what happened in the movie.
This movie was halfway in production when Heath Ledger died. Thus, many scenes with Tony wasn't completed. But I have to compliment on the director's brilliant idea on using famous "doubles" like Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. They each played a different imagination in the imaginarium and it fitted perfectly. The acting was rather good too! I love all the accents by the actors playing Tony except Colin Farrell. Colin Farrell seemed to be a little out of place in this movie but he did played the darkest and baddest part of Tony's life, which is rather suitable with his bad boy image. Director Terry Gilliam chose these three actors to played Tony so that Heath Ledger can have his final legacy in the film and Gilliam kept the replacement cast close to heart too. All three actors were friends with Ledger and all three actors redirected their wages to Ledger's daughter, Matilda, who was left out of Ledger's old version of his will. Gilliam also changed the credit from "A Terry Gilliam flim" to "A Film from Heath Ledger and friends". I find this touches very thoughtful and moving.
The soundtrack of the movie was rather funny and cute. It was, again, a little like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But this one was a little more terrifying and unexpected. But nothing spectacular from the scores or the sound. The digital department also didn't demand much attention with their rather tested and true methods of animations. The animations in the imaginarium looked rather cartoon-ish, either intended or not. But to me, it wasn't as real as I expected it to be.
Ratings : 7.5/10. Not a bad movie. The twist and development of the plot is still food for thought for me. Not the best of fantasy films but this one did make a mark as Heath Ledger's final product.