Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 133 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present-day. It tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a traveling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. (Sony Pictures Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. As unusual and idiosyncratic as its one-of-a-kind title. You'd expect no less from Terry Gilliam, and admirers of this singular filmmaker will be pleased to know that "Imaginarium" is one of his most original and accessible works.
  2. If you're game, "Parnassus" is a richly rewarding experience. If not, it comes off like pretentious nonsense.
  3. 75
    Despite a shaky framework, the magic works. It's a chance to see Ledger one last time in the act of doing what he loved. Take it.
  4. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    This is potentially wonderful, if not exactly new stuff, but Gilliam and McKeown's willful refusal of coherent narrative and determination to pack every idea about art they ever had into one scenario, make this fiendishly gorgeous movie more exhausting than exhilarating to watch.
  5. As is so often the case since his "Monty Python" days, Gilliam is best at visual games and weakest at storytelling.
  6. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell do yeoman work on behalf of their late friend and, as usual, Gilliam's film is a feast for the eyes. But all the king's men can't corral the horses running roughshod over basics like plot and character.
  7. The film ends up landing in a confused middle category. It's neither a coherent, discrete work nor a zany tribute to the late actor.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 33
  2. Negative: 5 out of 33
  1. Aug 3, 2012
    This is one of my all time favorite movies because of it´s atmosphere that´s seems to be borrowed from a different universe. The film is so absurd, hilarious, astonishing, disgusting and all over chaotic it´s just BEST FANTASY MOVIE OF ALL TIME Expand
  2. Feb 27, 2012
    Terry Gilliam always delivers the film that he wants to make rather than something that is instantly appealing or even commercially viable. For each Time Bandits or Brazil there is a Brothers Grimm, but even his least successful productions are superior to the continuous stream of turgid super hero tie-ins and remakes that have filled cinemas in recent years. Parnassus has an excellent cast who act their socks off. It's hard to single any one of them out, although it is a pleasure to see Christopher Plummer centre stage, and the combination of the "Tony" actors (Ledger, Depp, Farrell, and Law) shine through. The plot is arguably a little simple, but with the way it weaves between imaginary worlds and fascinating characters this is probably for the best. And what richly painted worlds and characters they are, with the irony that the most fascinating element is the Imaginarium itself - a Victorian era anachronism touring the back streets of modern London. The special effects are truly special due to the level of art that has gone into them rather than just the capabilities of a team of programmers. Modern SFX have become such a continuous drive of "bigger and better with more pixels" that many directors have lost sight of the fact that they are meant to be "special". Look, a bigger explosion, with more colours! Or a bigger robot, a bigger spaceship, a bigger, more impossible car chase.It has reached a point where SFX have reached saturation - completely ridiculous things are now mundane. Parnassus SFX focus on the detail, the minutiae, the art. And much of it is big, but that's not what makes it clever. What makes if clever is the fact that Gilliam decided that a "magic" mirror just needed a piece of plastic with a hole cut in it. Sometimes it's knowing when not to..... Expand
  3. AnnieS.
    Feb 3, 2010
    This movie is underrated by this site, as if Terry Gilliam's films normally make more sense. As if life normally makes more sense. Personally I prefer movies that are unique and flawed over perfect boring movies any day. Can't wait to see it again. Expand
  4. Dec 2, 2010
    Though this is Heath Ledger's last movie officially, It was confusing to the point of wondering if i should watch it again for it to make more sense. The movie was hard to keep up with but I do not know if thats what the point was or not. It makes you think when you look at it and thats good for a movie to do. Expand
  5. Oct 16, 2010
    The effects and the idea are brilliant but the plot is a bit of a borefest and the movie drags on and on and on. This is not a great ending to Heath Ledgers acting career but lets hope The Dark Knight is the one he is really remembered for. In a nutshell, dissapointing. Expand
  6. zekeb
    Jan 3, 2010
    Starts well, but by the end has managed to under-utilize the Devil & over-utilize the Russian mob. As visually compelling as the last Willy Wonka, but way less emotionally affecting than the average Doctor Who. As for Heath, etc? A goatee is not acting; not that any of this is the actor's fault. There just isnt a script, and there are no consistent rules in the world of the Imaginarium. Too bad; the Brothers Grimm, while much hackier, was better. Expand
  7. CarolineC
    Dec 30, 2009
    This was an appalling film and felt much more like Gilliam's constipated sparkly turd. An awful mess. I understand that Gilliam and his friends like to buck the trend in traditional movie making but this went nowhere fast. It felt like a drunken stupor with copious amounts of creative vomit -- just get it out there and maybe the audience won't notice it's my puke! Also, those who "don't get it or were bored (like myself) just don't understand Gilliam's genius." Bullshit! Gilliam can be genius but Parnassus was not. Watch his other films, you'll have a lot more enjoyable time with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Expand

See all 33 User Reviews

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    Published: January 7, 2010
    The Monthy Python alum and director of the new Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is responsible for some all-time great movies -- and some absolute box office disasters. We examine his 35-year film career.