Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer,
Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Andrew Garfield


Cinema 5, SM North Edsa




I went out of my comfort zone and delved into a fantasy themed film (not my fave genre) simply because I wanted to see Heath Ledger, again. Sadly, Heath Ledger died while "Imaginarium" was still being filmed. It took three good actors to replace him: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. They all contributed their talent fees to a foundation which will benefit Matilda, Heath's daughter with Michelle Williams. Now you would think that having four actors play the same role would be confusing but in this case it actually made sense — the character’s appearance depends on the person who’s looking at him. His appearance only changed whenever he entered the "Imaginarium".

It is a mirror on the outside but once you enter its realm, you are transported into a surreal, fantasy land where your imagination takes over. You can either choose between vibrant joy or bleak darkness. It is the main 'event' of the traveling show of Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) who made a deal with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) to stay immortal. In exchange, Mr. Nick will collect the soul of Valentina, (Lily Cole) the showman's daughter when she reaches 16 years old.

Although it was his last film, Heath Ledger didn't stand out as much as his Joker character in "The Dark Knight". Yet as expected, he totally immersed himself into his role. His character played a pivotal part in piecing the jigsaw puzzles together to better grasp the story. He was in almost 80% of the film so the fact that he didn't live to finish the movie is hardly noticed. Although I have to say he does appear a bit gaunt and haggard, physically.

Terry Gilliam's film takes us on a journey of vibrant and colorful set designs, amazing computer generated graphics set in modern times intertwined with a magical yet believable plot. It is further sustained by a talented pool of great actors who performed their roles, brilliantly. It expounds on the subject of making the right (or wrong) choices in life as well as living with the consequences of that decision. In addition, it also shows that having a creative and healthy imagination could certainly help us face the many challenges we encounter in life.

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