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The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and Invictus

I went and saw The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, directed by Terry Gilliam. He has also directed Moulin Rouge, a favourite of mine, and I thought it might be something like that, but alas, it was not. There was no singing what-so-ever and only a little bit of dancing. Neither were there any montages. Needless to say I was quite disappointed. The costumes and colours were evocative, but all too often the movie fell into darkness. Just balancing it out, you might say. I have enough balance in real life, thank-you, I don't go to the movies to get depressed.

Dr.Parnassus is an old wizard who travels London's seedier areas with his daughter, a dude, his midget and his theatre. The theatre houses a mirror, which, once entered transports you to the depths of your imagination. Gilliam's reinterpretation of the imagination seemed cliched and overly whimsical.

Heath Ledger plays Tony Sheppard, a man they found dangling beneath a bridge by his neck. He is a smooth talker and as demonstrated in Batman, a good actor. But since he died halfway through shooting, they filled his part with the likes of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrel, while he was in the land of Imagination. It seemed like a good idea at first, but how come none of the other characters changed appearances when they went in? And how come his appearance changed every time he went in? It was either a tribute to Heath Ledger, or a way to cram more stars in, which would help this production on account of it's floppiness.

I also saw Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood. After seeing The Imaginarium, I walked down the stairs to the lobby and overheard a guy asking the ticket seller which was better: Invictus or The Imaginarium. He was asking because those were the only two movies playing, and wanted to spend his money wisely. If he had asked me I would have told him Invictus. But my decision is based on emotion. For some reason I was feeling emotional when I watched Invictus. Was it the movie that did it, or was it my own bodilies?

I was surprised to find out that Invictus was a sports movie. I thought it would be a political film. I believe, as the film crystallized the belief, that sports do pull a town, or city, or, as in the case of Invictus, a nation, together (or apart). That may seem superficial, but sports have been apart of society since society, maybe even before that. Indeed, sports may have formed society. What are they if not a recreation of war?

So, like Speed Racer, and The Jamaican Bobsled Team, I assert that you would have to be a robot not to cry in Invictus, and the emotions were entirely deployed by the tactics of the film maker, and it's content.

Is this a cop out for Clint Eastwood? Is playing to primordial emotions taking the easy way out? Did Eastwood serve us macaroni and cheese? I think so. Gilliam tried for something a bit more complex, and failed, while Eastwood slapped us around like a piece of meat.


Asylum Dolly said...

hmmm, I was wondering about The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and how it would work with the extra actors playing the does sound a little clumsy, like they thought "shit. Ledger's dead. but we've already gone overbudget, so let's just wing it and put a shitload of extra dudes in it and realease this anyway".
Visually ot looks like my kinda film- I do like anything with circus freaks/midgets/magicians/steampunkery :) But at least now i know not to get my hopes up as far as plot is concerned. Damn.
And yes,I agree- there is enough depressing shit in actual reality to waste time and money on extra depression. That's why i love comedy so much!
methinks I'd still like to give The Imaginarium a go..but I might wait until it comes out on dvd!

John Dantzer said...

Since you are from Oz, I would consider it your duty to go see this movie. It's not all bad. I liked the idea, but not the delivery. A lot like the things I do.

dogimo said...

Hey! Movie reviews. I like it!

You should do more of these. I also like that you actually see the movie before doing the review! That gives you a leg up on a few of mine.

John Dantzer said...

Ha ha! That's a good idea, just reviewing it based on the trailer or other peoples reviews.

I'd do more if I saw more movies. Christmas is not only the time of jolly fat men, but also of movies.