Author Topic: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus  (Read 67880 times)

Offline Fran

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #100 on: May 22, 2009, 11:40:48 am »
From Variety:

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=festivals&jump=review&reviewid=VE1117940343&cs=1&nid=2854

Cannes

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
(U.K.-Canada)
By TODD MCCARTHY
 

An Infinity Features Entertainment and Poo Poo Pictures production, in association with Davis Film Entertainment produced in association with Telefilm Canada. (International sales: Mandate Intl., Los Angeles.) Produced by William Vince, Amy Gilliam, Samuel Hadida, Terry Gilliam. Executive producers, David Valleau, Victor Hadida. Directed by Terry Gilliam. Screenplay, Gilliam, Charles McKeown.
 
Tony - Heath Ledger
Dr. Parnassus - Christopher Plummer
Percy - Verne Troyer
Anton - Andrew Garfield
Valentina - Lily Cole
Mr. Nick - Tom Waits
Imaginarium Tony 1- Johnny Depp
Imaginarium Tony 2- Jude Law
Imaginarium Tony 3 - Colin Farrell

 
Especially considering the trauma and difficulties stemming from Heath Ledger's death during production and the fact that Terry Gilliam hadn't directed a good picture in more than a decade, the helmer has made a pretty good thing out of a very bad situation in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." Synthesizing elements from several of his previous pictures, including "Time Bandits," "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" and "The Fisher King," the often overreaching director addresses a mad hatter of a story with the expected visual panache and what is, for him, considerable discipline. With Ledger onscreen more than might have been expected, the film possesses strong curiosity value bolstered by generally lively action and excellent visual effects, making for good commercial prospects in most markets.

"Imaginarium" joined the short list of films interrupted by the death of a star when Ledger died in January 2008, after an initial stretch of shooting in London and before the box office smash of "The Dark Knight." Gilliam struggled to figure out how to proceed before asking three other stars, Johnny Depp (who toplined for the director in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), Jude Law and Colin Farrell, to step in to fill Ledger's shoes.

Many Ledger fans certainly will turn out just to see his final performance. But it's genuinely interesting to see how, under duress, Gilliam contrived to work the other actors into the role. The way it plays out in the finished picture is that Ledger's incarnation of Tony, a man rescued from death who provides a possible way for Doctor Parnassus to win a wager with the devil, occupies the London-set framing story, while his three successors play versions of the character in the CGI sequences set in fantastical other dimensions. It all comes off well, without terribly disruptive emotional-mental dislocations.

That said, Tony is not a demanding dramatic role, nor a particularly flamboyant one like the Joker, so this can't legitimately be described as one Ledger's most striking performances. Like most of the other actors here, he's antic and frantic, dirty and sweaty, as the principals flail around trying to cope with their desperate straits.

At first, it seems Gilliam's worst habits will get the better of him once again, as the early hectic action centers on a small group of traveling players who move about the seedier neighborhoods of modern London in a 19th-century-style carnival wagon that unfolds to allow the performers out to try to snare its few derelict customers.

At the center of the clan is Doctor Parnassus himself (Christopher Plummer, with a Lear-like countenance), who a thousand years ago made a pact with the devil for immortality. The downside to the bargain, however, as Parnassus is reminded when the devil comes to collect in the person of Mr. Nick (Tom Waits, forever the hipster); is that, when the doctor's daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) turns 16, she becomes Satan's property. Unfortunately, her birthday is imminent, so Parnassus makes another deal, which allows him to save his daughter if he can deliver five souls to his alternate world of the imagination.

This phantasmagorical domain exists as something like the anteroom to the doctor's wagon. Entered through a mirrored partition, it can assume multiple forms, and great comforts await there as well as considerable perils. It's another "Alice in Wonderland"-like playground for Gilliam, and while all the specific action may not be entirely coherent or exciting, it's always visually stimulating and allows the three incarnations of Tony to host assorted guests.

In a morbid touch, Tony is first seen hanging from a noose suspended from a London bridge and presumed dead. Once resurrected and done flopping about in the mud, the young man, who says "mate" a lot, joins Parnassus' small band, which, in addition to his kewpie doll-like daughter, consists of the over-avid Anton (Andrew Garfield), who's smitten with Valentina, and midget Percy (Verne Troyer). Seeing little upside among the drunks and homeless who generally witness and sometimes disrupt the troupe's appearances, Tony suggests a modernizing makeover and a move to snazzier environs.

A lot of the stage business consists of pratfalls and chaotic behavior, which quickly become overbearing, and the plot mechanics are scarcely more engaging. Fortunately, the central conception is sturdy enough to bear Gilliam's sporadic excesses, which in any case are better focused than is sometimes the case with him. Worst are the persistent and ineffectual flailings of Anton, a character poorly conceived in hapless 19th-century romantic mode.

It's 66 minutes into the picture when Depp first appears, and you have to look twice to make sure it's him, so closely has his pulled-back hair, moustache and beard been tailored to match Ledger's. At one point, Depp's Tony conducts a middle-aged woman to the river of immortality and says that there she can join the likes of Valentino, James Dean and Princess Di among those who never got old, which serves to ease Ledger's unspoken admission to that group.

Ledger reappears whenever the action returns to modern London, but the fact that Tony is always dressed in a white suit makes him instantly identifiable when Law takes over to deal with some Russian gangsters who pass through veil. Last and very much the best of the three new Tonys is Farrell, who brings great zest to Tony's efforts to become the crucial fifth soul who will save Valentina for Parnassus.

Pic's second half is resplendent with ever-changing CGI backdrops for the imaginary world the doctor has created with his gift. "Original designers and art directors" Dave Warren and Gilliam no doubt played a dominant role in conceiving the film's look, which is ornate without being a riot of detail, but production designer Anastasia Masaro, visual effects supervisors John Paul Docherty and Richard Bain and costume designer Monique Prudhomme certainly made major contributions as well. Other production values are strong across the board.

Plummer enacts the oldest man in the world with verve, and Troyer, Waits and Cole nicely hold necessarily caricatured work in check.

Pic is dedicated to the memories of not only Ledger but producer William Vince, who also died during production.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 02:59:22 pm by Fran »

Offline sel

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #101 on: May 23, 2009, 03:26:25 am »
Thanks for this article Fran.

This morning on the Italian radio (Radio 1) I heard that the film was well received and that it was a shame that it had been shown out of competition.
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Offline loneleeb3

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #102 on: May 23, 2009, 08:51:34 am »
I saw this today  the hihglighted part really moved me to tears because it was if they were referring to Brokeback and Ennis:


Ledger and friends' present actor's final role


CANNES, France (AP) - Heath Ledger's zeal roused his co-stars to up their game in his final film, and his death inspired them - and three A-list friends who completed his role - to carry on with a story the late actor had wanted to see, director Terry Gilliam said Friday.

As Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the filmmaker said Ledger almost co-directed the film.

"Heath was enjoying himself so much, and he was ad-libbing a lot, which I don't normally allow ... but Heath was just brilliant at it, and he got everybody else going," Gilliam said. "Everybody was just energized by Heath. He was extraordinary. He was almost exhausting because he had so much energy.

"That just passed on to everyone else. Everyone's part grew because they were full of Heath's energy," Gilliam said. "What I thought was interesting was to watch people filling the void that Heath left. Everybody was just growing to make sure that there was no void left in the space that Heath had left us."

The movie closes with the dedication: "A film from Heath Ledger and friends."

Ledger's death by an accidental prescription drug overdose on Jan. 22, 2008, left Gilliam with some of the biggest hurdles he has faced in a career filled with tough breaks. Gilliam fought prolonged battles with studio executives over both "Brazil" (1985) and his previous Ledger collaboration "The Brothers Grimm" (2005).

In 2000, Gilliam saw his fantasy epic "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" shut down after a few days of shooting because of a string of mishaps. On Friday, the director said he would soon restart production on the project.

Gilliam said that, when Ledger died with only about half of his performance for "Doctor Parnassus" filmed, his first thought was to scrap the film.

"Fortunately, I was surrounded by really good people who insisted that I couldn't be such a lazy bastard and that we had to go out and find a way of finishing the film for Heath," Gilliam said.

His solution was to cast Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to play incarnations of Ledger during otherworldly portions of the fantasy film.

Ledger's character, Tony, is a slick-tongued fundraiser for children's charities who crosses Russian mobsters and is left for dead, hanging under a London bridge. He's rescued by a small theater troupe run by Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), an immortal monk who made a deal with the devil (Tom Waits) and now must find a way to keep the wily demon from taking the soul of his teenage daughter (Lily Cole).

Parnassus is overseer of a magic mirror that sends people to a world of imagination, and the script called for Tony to take three trips to the other side - portions of the film that had not been shot when Ledger died.

Depp, who worked with Gilliam on "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (1998) and the Quixote picture before it was aborted, stepped in with Law and Farrell to each play an incarnation of Tony on his through-the-looking-glass sequences.

"The real credit has got to go to Johnny, Colin and Jude, which was an extraordinary thing, to come in," Gilliam said. "They're all doing other films, they're involved in other projects, and they came to the rescue of this thing.

"They did it solely, basically, for nothing. The money they would have been paid went to Matilda, Heath's daughter. To me, they're the real heroes."

Ledger won the supporting-actor Academy Award in February for his last completed role as the maniacal Joker in "The Dark Knight."

"Doctor Parnassus" includes allusions that eerily parallel the mythic aura that has grown around Ledger. The movie has references to unforeseen death, remaining forever young - even James Dean, to whom Ledger has been compared as another rising star who died before his time.

Gilliam said those parallels were in the script before Ledger died, and he decided they should stay because "this is the movie Heath wanted to see, and this is the movie that we will do. And I hope he would be pleased with it. I think he would be."

___

"The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear"

"Saint Paul had his Epiphany on the road to Damascus, Mine was on Brokeback Mountain"

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #103 on: May 23, 2009, 09:49:59 am »
Thanks for those articles, Fran and Rich.

Yeah, that part with the river, about those who never grow old because they die young, got to me, too. :(

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #104 on: May 23, 2009, 12:34:37 pm »


As Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the filmmaker said Ledger almost co-directed the film.

"Heath was enjoying himself so much, and he was ad-libbing a lot, which I don't normally allow ... but Heath was just brilliant at it, and he got everybody else going," Gilliam said. "Everybody was just energized by Heath. He was extraordinary. He was almost exhausting because he had so much energy.

"That just passed on to everyone else. Everyone's part grew because they were full of Heath's energy," Gilliam said. "What I thought was interesting was to watch people filling the void that Heath left. Everybody was just growing to make sure that there was no void left in the space that Heath had left us."

The movie closes with the dedication: "A film from Heath Ledger and friends."



Thank you so much for posting this, Rich.

I have so many thoughts reading this: I think this is one of the most clue-filled bits we've read since Heath died, as to what was going on for him.  I almost get this image of him as a shooting star exploding/burning out as it streams across the sky.

Offline sel

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #105 on: May 23, 2009, 05:00:55 pm »
NEW EXTENDED IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS CLIP

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPY2jxTDu_0&feature=channel_page[/youtube]
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Offline sel

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #106 on: May 23, 2009, 05:14:04 pm »
PRESS CONFERENCE FOR IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS AT CANNES

Part 1
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IowKKSM1rws&feature=channel_page[/youtube]

Part 2
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o70hhaqBSNE&feature=channel_page[/youtube]

Part 3
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKbhxCB-FnQ&feature=channel_page[/youtube]

Part 4
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6NC-9jcMac&feature=channel_page[/youtube]
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Offline loneleeb3

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #107 on: May 23, 2009, 05:27:09 pm »
Thanks Sel and Fran! Those were great!

I honestly think we were so blessed to share space on this planet at the same time he was among us.
That may sound corny but I think he was so special and people like him, that talented, that gifted are few and far between.

Quote
I almost get this image of him as a shooting star exploding/burning out as it streams across the sky.

I agree! I think Jim Morrison said it best "It's better to burn out than fade away" I just with it hadn't happened so quickly!  :(
"The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear"

"Saint Paul had his Epiphany on the road to Damascus, Mine was on Brokeback Mountain"

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #108 on: May 24, 2009, 01:40:42 am »


I agree! I think Jim Morrison said it best "It's better to burn out than fade away" I just with it hadn't happened so quickly!  :(


Neil Young? 

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
« Reply #109 on: May 24, 2009, 01:44:35 am »
l'ultimo lavoro di Heath Ledger.

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnOzE-5oJ5I[/youtube]