This Week in DVD & Blu-ray: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, It’s Complicated, District 13: Ultimatum, The Descent: Part 2, and More
Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 by Adam Quigley
This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
I’m conflicted. Deeply, deeply conflicted. I’d really love nothing more than to tell you that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is wonderful—that it’s an impressive return-to-form from the man who gave us such enchantingly peculiar films as Brazil, Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Had things worked out differently, I imagine that I’d be telling you just that. They didn’t though, and so here I am, forced to contend with the realization that this film might’ve been great were it not for Heath Ledger’s untimely passing. Most readers of this site are probably already aware of the immediate effect that Ledger’s death had on the film; since the filming of his scenes in the “imaginarium” had not yet taken place, Gilliam was forced to invent a scenario that allowed others actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell) to fill in for the role. In theory, this sounded like an ingenious workaround for what should’ve been a project-terminating disaster. In reality, the best that can be said of the workaround is that it allowed for the film to be completed. The worst? It caused total narrative chaos. The nature of the character’s changes in appearance come across as awkward and forced, but more than that, they completely sever any connection the audience has with him. As a result, the scenes in the imaginarium—many of which are pivotal—lose all impact, and bring a halt to the momentum built up by the rest of the film. This is even more problematic in that the imaginarium sequences also lack any visual appeal, instead recalling the same eye-blistering green screen artificiality found in The Lovely Bones and Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. Outside of the imaginarium, the film fares much better. It still suffers a bit from Gilliam’s typical plotting messiness, but the story is so charmingly bizarre—and so distinctly “Gilliam”—that it quickly won me over. Had the narrative incoherence brought on by the imaginarium sequences not derailed the film, I suspect this would’ve been another seminal effort to add to Gilliam’s filmography. Regrettably though, the unfortunate realities of “life” once again got in the way of Gilliam’s efforts, making this strictly a film for curious and/or diehard fans.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Commentary with director Terry Gilliam, an intro by Gilliam, a deleted scene, featurettes (“Behind the Mirror”, “Building the Monastery”, “Doctor Parnassus Around the World”, “The Artwork of Doctor Parnassus”), a Heath Ledger Wardrobe Test, an interview with Heath Ledger, and a Cast & Crew Presentation on Stage. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as “The Drunk” Multi-Angle Progression Sequence, and 2 additional featurettes (“Heath Ledger and Friends”, “The Imaginarium of Terry Gilliam”).
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $17.99|
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $22.99|