The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Director: Terry Gilliam
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 1.5

Ditzy, fumbling effort by Gilliam that starts with a basic premise: the head of a theater troupe (Christopher Plummer) making a deal with the devil (Tom Waits) ... and then it just explodes (literally, figuratively, unfortunately). Gilliam and co-screenwriter Charles McKeown do a fine job of working around the fact that Mr. Heath Ledger passed away before shooting was completed - leaving the likes of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to step in 'as' Ledger - and even without knowing anything about the troubled production background the mixture of talents 'works' in context (it is a dream movie, after all). However, what the screenwriters should be faulted for is turning this into a maximalist jumble of ideas and costumes and digital sets - it's one thing to have a plethora of images and ideas in one's head and another to lay them out in a coherent manner: this is the third film from the '00s by Gilliam (followed by the mediocre Brothers Grimm and Tideland) that's overblown and tough to relate to on any meaningful level.