The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=171672&d=1270065623
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

92






Studio and Year: 2009 - Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 123 minutes
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy


Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Starring: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Collin Farrell
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Music by: Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna
Written by: Terry Gilliam & Charles McKeown
Region Code: A/B


Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 27, 2010







"A Thousand years ago Doctor Parnassus made a deal with the Devil."



Film Synopsis:

Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is cursed with a dark secret. An inveterate gambler, thousands of years ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits), in which he won immortality. Centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his daughter reached her 16th birthday, she would become the property of Mr Nick.




My Take:

Choices. Life is all about choices and as the old Klingon proverb goes, "art imitates life". The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, written and directed by Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), is no exception. Underneath its wandering story line and beautiful production, its core is about choices - good or evil, choose and have your fate decided.

The stakes are usually pretty high when dealing with the Devil, played with a perfectly slimy swagger by Tom Waits. In this case, Dr. Parnassus, brilliantly played by Christopher Plummer, deals his daughter to the Devil. He is now ultimately faced with losing his daughter on her 16th birthday. This brings up my first issue with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Why should we feel bad for Doctor Parnassus for making such a moronic deal with the devil? Make all the deals with the Devil you want, but don't trade your daughter with him, right?? Also, I felt that the movie needed a bit of love in the editing stage, trimming a bit of the self-indulgent fat. It just seemed to take way too long to get out what was really happening in the Imaginarium and why. Like I once told another reviewer (guess who??), I feel some movie's can be like a pop song. Take a 5 minute song, cut it down to 3 minuets and you have a huge hit.

Parnassus' daughter saves Tony, a mysterious man hanging from a bridge, and he joins the Parnassus entourage; using it as a way to escape bad choices and a sordid past. The late great Heath Ledger played Tony. A quick Google search can tell you in detail about his untimely passing during a hiatus in filming this movie (if you have been living in a cave) and how his character was filled by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrel. The three fill-ins play Tony when he enters the 'Imaginarium' of Doctor Parnassus. The Imaginarium is a place where one’s own fantasies mix with Parnassus’ control over their imagination. They get this fantastic experience all for a donation to Parnassus’ traveling sideshow. After one last wager is made in an attempt to rescue his daughter, the first to five people who choose either Dr Parnassus’ or the Devils choice when it is presented to them within the Imaginarium wins.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus reeks of style over substance. Gilliam’s films have always been visual and most the time the story a mere device to get you to a fantastic looking world. This is no exception. Unfortunately the story plays out without enough narrative to really make clear what is happening at times. But hey, it sure looks good…that what seems to really matter here.




Parental Guide:

Rated PG-13 for violent images, some sensuality, language and smoking.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 96



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697


Video: 88



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373696

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 mbps.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a beautiful film with great cinematography, imagination and design. The contrast between the dark and seedy reality and the colorful and spectacular dreamworld looked amazing in High Definition. My only issue was with the black level; at times there was hue to them, making them a bit lighter than what we want to see, especially in a film that spends a lot of the time in the dark. That aside, it was all quite positive. There are moments where the separation of images in the forefront and back gave a 3D-ish facade where fine details are rendered everywhere, especially apparent in the dream sequences. Colors go from realistic and as drab as its real world environment to bold and spectacular, making The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus quite fun to sink into.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track is even more wondersome as the video quality. Sony never disappoints, and with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' audio presentation, they have gone beyond what we are used to getting in the home environment. The mix is stellar, dialogue is clear, even through sonically assaulting passages like a rainstorm that has never sounded better. The surround channels are full of life, adding depth to the stunning visuals on-screen. Even with such active surround channels, it is never used without taste and never distracts. The low end has enough backbone to give your subwoofer a workout when used, and is refined enough to fill the room with smooth atmosphere. The easiest way to sum up what I heard is that it is a mature yet bombastic track, and one of then best I have ever heard.

attachment.php?attachmentid=171673&d=1270065623


Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Introduction and Commentary with Terry Gilliam

  • (HD) Deleted Scenes

  • (HD) Heath Ledger Wardrobe Test with Optional Commentary by Terry Gilliam

  • (HD) Interview with Heath Ledger

  • (HD) Introduction and Commentary with Terry Gilliam

  • (HD) 5 Behind The Scenes Featurettes

  • (HD) The Imaginarium of Terry Gilliam

  • (HD) Heath Ledger and friends-Cast & Crew remember their friend

  • (HD) "The Drunk" Mulit-Angle Progression Sequence

  • movieIQ

  • BD-Live Enabled



Final Thoughts:

Based on the audio alone, this is a title I will go back to show people when giving a demo of my system. I wont go back to watching the movie as it never took me to the places it tried so hard to do. Maybe its because of the tragedy and ensuing rewrites, but it just didn't feel like a complete thought. If you liked The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' theatrically then its an easy decision to purchase, especially since its packed with extras. If you want to see the final performance of Heath Ledger, as well as a top-tier Blu-ray release, I do suggest giving this a view.




attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







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Old 04-23-2010, 02:48 PM
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I enjoyed this fantastical film, although I was a little creeped-out by the first images of the star, given the circumstances. Gilliam does movie fantasy superbly, and this holds up well among his other efforts.

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Old 04-23-2010, 07:32 PM
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Thanks, Lee. I'll give this one a rental based on the audio score.

Stephen.

Chances are very good that I was drinking when I posted the above.

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Old 04-25-2010, 11:38 AM
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Thanks for the review of the BD. It's all I've read as I'm quite curious about this film and have it in my queue as a rental. I'm not going any further though with reading what it is about (only the genre which I noted) and hopefully it will be time well spent.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Thanks, Lee. I'll give this one a rental based on the audio score.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertc88 View Post

Thanks for the review of the BD. It's all I've read as I'm quite curious about this film and have it in my queue as a rental. I'm not going any further though with reading what it is about (only the genre which I noted) and hopefully it will be time well spent.

You are welcome
Enjoy the movie. Listen a bit louder than usual...its sounds great!
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:30 PM
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I saw this movie in a REALLY CRAPPY theater and even then I knew I'd own it on Blu-ray. I was kinda hoping the video ratings would be in the 90's too, especially as visual as it is, but no matter...I enjoyed it and on BR it will a million times better than the first time I saw it.
Thanks for the review Lee...I'm all over it! .
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:34 AM
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Didn't get to see this when it came out in the theaters and only saw some of the trailers but based on this score i'll be buying it.

Thanks Lee!

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Old 04-27-2010, 07:34 PM
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Still on the fence on this one.... I want to buy it...but
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:14 PM
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I really wish I liked this movie more than I did.....but It was just ok to me.
In particular, I though Vern Troyer was fairly horrible in it
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:07 AM
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Will be recieving this on the weekend, looking forward to it!

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Old 04-28-2010, 02:11 AM
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I enjoy Gilliam's work. This one is a rental.

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Old 04-28-2010, 02:36 AM
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I enjoy Gilliam's work. This one is a rental.

cmon Wabo I can see you buying this one.

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Old 04-28-2010, 10:21 AM
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cmon Wabo I can see you buying this one.

Lol. We'll see... maybe... hey, we still need to get you Tombstone.

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Old 04-29-2010, 06:28 AM
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Fan of Gilliam's work and I did enjoy the movie. It was nice to watch Christopher Plummer in the lead as well as Tom Waits as the Devil.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:00 PM
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Waits stole the show... oddly enough, I did not feel the PQ on BD was all that great... of course, I had watched Avatar the night before, so that may have set the bar too high...

Just was expecting more I suppose, based on the trailers...

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Old 04-29-2010, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

Waits stole the show... oddly enough, I did not feel the PQ on BD was all that great... of course, I had watched Avatar the night before, so that may have set the bar too high...

Just was expecting more I suppose, based on the trailers...

Avatar will do that to you...

You do need to consider the films source and how it was filmed. Parnassus was 35mm...Avatar was filmed in digital and you are seeing it on a digital disc most likely on a digital display. I enjoyed Parnassus' audio track as much as Avatar...however, they are different beasts.
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:27 AM
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I was disappointed in this one but I agree with Lee, it has it's moments to show off something technical. I rented it and tried to watch 3 times. It put me to sleep! The story just didn't hold my interest.

I plan to give it a 4th chance sometime and rent it again. Next time I promise to watch when wide awake, alert, after a good nap and with 3-4 cups of strong coffee. (Note- I normally never drink coffee )
I know this is probably a good movie so it gets another try someday.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Avatar will do that to you...

You do need to consider the films source and how it was filmed. Parnassus was 35mm...Avatar was filmed in digital and you are seeing it on a digital dick most likely on a digital display. I enjoyed Parnassus' audio track as much as Avatar...however, they are different beasts.

Good points. I think sometimes, especially with a Terry Gilliam film, I just have to be in the right mood. His work tends to require some concentration, and after a beer or two or three, my mind tends to drift.

I'll probably do another rental at some point and give it another shot.

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Old 04-30-2010, 10:24 AM
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Watched this last night and found it to be ok as a rental.
There were some solid performances but I kind of felt like this movie was a mishmash of parts and never completely came together as a whole.
There some exciting visual moments and the audio was quite good but not enough to make this a compelling movie.
Thanks Lee for your review.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:21 PM
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I watched this tonight, as with most Terry Gilliam films more is more. At times it was wonderful, at other times it meandered. Sad to see Ledger and know his life was so short. Worth seeing for the Art Direction, "Brazil" is still Gilliam's best work.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:18 AM
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Agree with your review Lee.

Didn't care for this one at all. Meandering story, and difficult to attach yourself to. Confusing at points, and bizarre in others. Almost put me to sleep a few times, which is hard to do for a film.

Ledger was good, but not great. Christopher Plummer was very good.

Picture quality was o.k., sound quality was good.

PQ: 3.5 out of 5, SQ: 4 out of 5, Film 2 out of 5.

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Old 05-11-2010, 12:44 PM
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Terry Gilliam is an imaginative and very visual director and this movie was no exception. My favorite Gilliam movie is 12 Monkeys. With Imaginarium I didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by the story and the acting. This is one of Christopher Plummer's best roles, even better than his part as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station which garnered him an Oscar nomination this year. Tom Waits was great as the Devil and Lily Cole (she's older than she plays in the movie) is one of the most unusual looking actresses I've seen lately. I was surprised to find she was featured in a French Playboy issue. Heath Ledger, Jude Law and Colin Farrell were all fine in their parts but none were memorable. As one earlier post mentioned you have to be in the right mood for a Gilliam movie and I guess I was because I really enjoyed it. But I watched it with the subtitles on even though "English" was spoken, whenever I do this it reminds me of the quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when James Fox says "I'm sorry, I don't speak American". I think it really adds to a movie when one can understand what the actors are saying.

Lee, thanks for the review. I may buy it someday when the price drops to $10 or less.

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Old 05-12-2010, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Lee, thanks for the review. I may buy it someday when the price drops to $10 or less.



You are welcome, I am glad you enjoyed the film!
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:04 PM
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Nice review. The bluray looked and sounded awesome. The actors did a great job. But just like you say there was no substance to it. I did enjoy it though. Also, it was just such an odd movie. I found myself thinking this is really a nicely made movie as the subject matter felt like a low budget independant flick but it looked like a major release movie. I had never really followed Heath Ledger before The Dark Knight, but you can see in that, and this, he could have gone on to be a huge star. Too bad.

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Old 05-25-2010, 03:53 AM
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finally giving this one a watch tonight.

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Old 05-25-2010, 10:22 AM
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Finished watching this I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to admit it beats the last two I just watched legions and daybreakers.

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Old 05-25-2010, 05:59 PM
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Finished watching this I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to admit it beats the last two I just watched legions and daybreakers.

You must be more well rounded than I.

There was just a level of frustration in this for me. I wanted something to happen and some common good come to the characters I liked. Kind of an undiscovered gem but it could have been more satisfying for me...

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Old 05-25-2010, 11:36 PM
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You must be more well rounded than I.

There was just a level of frustration in this for me. I wanted something to happen and some common good come to the characters I liked. Kind of an undiscovered gem but it could have been more satisfying for me...

Maybe I enjoyed it more because after watching the last two films ( day breakers and legion) this one seemed more interesting.

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Old 05-26-2010, 01:06 AM
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Maybe I enjoyed it more because after watching the last two films ( day breakers and legion) this one seemed more interesting.

I have these two (Legions & Daybreakers) coming. Are they really that bad?

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Old 05-26-2010, 01:19 AM
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I have these two (Legions & Daybreakers) coming. Are they really that bad?

Not that bad but not good eitheir

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