— by TOM ELCE —
Just when it looked like director Terry Gilliam had another “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” on his hands following the death, mid-production, of lead Heath Ledger, a trio of stars (Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell) arrived on-scene to get the production rolling again on “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”
Now, those anticipating the film’s arrival on the big screen have a new trailer to marvel at.
The film concerns a trek through numerous worlds by a troupe intent on rescuing the daughter (Lily Cole) of the eponymous Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) from the clutches of the Devil himself (Tom Waits). Chief subject among the group is the mysterious Tony (initially played by Ledger, then played by Depp, Law and Farrell as transformations that occur while travelling between dream worlds).
It looks positively mad, a seeming onslaught of superlatively designed and richly coloured sets, wherein the action that takes place might well be happening in some alternate version of Alice’s “Wonderland.”
If “Imaginarium” doesn’t look totally unique, it appears to represent the year’s most diverse release — a disarming marriage of styles that could border on being a live-action cartoon.
Gilliam’s always had a thing for dazzling alternate realities, so the additional attraction of “Imaginarium” might be that the filmmaker seems to know what he’s doing — even if his last big film was 2005’s faceplanting “Brothers Grimm.”
Looking so out-there going in, this looks to be a film that’ll split audiences, especially since the boost of starring a late Ledger has perhaps been exhausted on last year’s “The Dark Knight.” Whichever side you, and I, end up falling on, it’s at least pleasing to see a film that (with its perilous ladder fall, bizarre monsters, apparent holes in the open air) looks so creative.
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” opens Oct. 16 in the U.K. and Christmas Day in the U.S.
Follow Tom Elce on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tom_elce.