The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

DVD - 2010
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
A thousand years after making a deal with the Devil to gain immortality, Doctor Parnassus must save his daughter from the hands of the Devil with the help of his friends in his travelling magic show.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 27, 2014
  • Nursebob rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Love him or hate him, Terry Gilliam never leaves you feeling neutral. This time he focuses his fervent imagination on the story of Dr. Parnassus; immortal, one-time mystic and now the owner of a ramshackle sideshow, “The Imaginarium” which sticks out like an anachronistic sore thumb wherever it sets up shop. All who pass through its enchanted mirror (actually two sheets of metallic plastic and a cheap gilded frame) come face to face with their deepest desires; or worst either emerge transformed, or not at all. It seems the mysterious doctor is fond of wagering bets with the Devil; a few souls won here, a few lost there, and not even Parnassus’ daughter, Valentina, is above being used as collateral. But when it comes time to collect his winnings Satan finds the playing board has become a tad more complicated than he had anticipated with the arrival of a certain wild card... In the same vein as The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Gilliam explores the role of myth and dreams in shaping our subconscious. “The universe is sustained by stories...” states Parnassus at one point; but stories always contain a certain amount of ambivalence and the old caveat, “Be Careful What You Wish For”, rings true time and again. Despite some long-winded passages which tested my patience, the trips through the looking glass, when they came, combined some fantastic effects with the kaleidoscopic charm of an old pop-up book. It could have benefited from some editing to keep the pace going but the impressive cast gave some wonderful performances and the Vancouver sights were fun to watch. Not enough to keep you rapt for two hours, but if you’re a fan of Gilliam (as I am) you pretty much know what to expect.

Sep 18, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Not to be confused with "Mr. Mogorium's Wonder Emporium." Terry Gilliam was one of the first directors I liked when I got into movies, but his work has been pretty disappointing over the past decade ("Brothers Grimm," "Tideland"), although I am anticipating "Zero Theorem." Like Tim Burton, he's much more of a visual stylist than a storyteller and too often the look of his films outweighs the story. "Imaginarium" is notable for being Heath Ledger's final film (he died during the shooting) and for being a return to the fantasy realms of "Time Bandits" and "Baron Munchausen." There are some stunning visuals, per usual, and a great cast, headed by Christopher Plummer. The plot, involving a Faustian deal with the devil (a sly Tom Waits), some kind of magic door, and gangsters doesn't make a lot of sense, but if you're a Gilliam fan, you won't mind. Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law were brought in to fill Ledger's role and it works. Andrew Garfield, the alien looking model Lily Cole, and mini-me Verne Troyer co-star. Worth it just for the set design and fantasy worlds, which shows just how influential Gilliam's aesthetic has been in huge mainstream films like "Alice in Wonderland," "Jack the Giant Slayer," and "Oz, the Great and Powerful."

Sep 12, 2014
  • hammer59 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Bravo! This is a brilliant film that is extraordinary in every way.

If you don't need your art spoon-fed to you like a little baby, I highly recommend this gem.

Jul 09, 2014
  • FishbowlB77 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I keep thinking of "Monty Python" when I see the work of Terry Gilliam brilliantly displayed on the screen.

May 07, 2013
  • hania4987 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

the cinematography is extraordinary ... the imaginarium is full of Dali-esque landscapes come to life

Jan 08, 2013
  • librarydvds rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I couldn’t wait for this movie to end and then wanted those long, long 123 minutes back. There seemed to be potential in the first 15 or so minutes but then, before there was any opportunity to connect with any of the characters, the momentum was completely lost and the movie turned into a string of nonsensical, silly antics and character interactions I couldn’t have cared less about for what seemed like a very long time. Basically, if you don’t appreciate Monty Python type humor/styling you will not like this movie--and even then it's questionable. The basic premise has potential as a basis for a different, more serious, movie to be made by someone else someday and some of the visuals were clever but, this movie is so laced with silliness (in true Monty Python form) that it is mostly just annoying. I don’t know why kids would like it and I don’t think adults would care so I wonder who the intended audience is (other than Terry Gilliam)? A pointless, confusing, thoroughly unsatisfying mess not worth wasting time to figure out or watch.

Dec 16, 2012
  • slavaivashev rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Totally disappointing. Not worthy watching even because of the Ledger.

Jul 30, 2012
  • mexicanadiense rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Sadly, this film occupies a place as one of Terry Gilliam's lesser works, and also one of the least memorable performances by the late and lamented Heath Ledger. Morbid curiosity, however, isn't enough to justify putting in the 2 hours or so. To be avoided.

Jul 15, 2012
  • seedona rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I only watched it all the way through coz of Heath Ledger, or else I would have turned it off after 10 minutes,.

Jul 11, 2012
  • Gia481 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I was excited to watch this film after viewing the trailer. Unfortunately, the story was confusing and I lost interest. The acting was good but could have been better if the story was up to par with the visual effects. Gilliam, whom also wrote The Brothers Grimm (another film that I didn't like) has a great imagination of fantasy but it just becomes a waste if the story is complicated.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CRRL