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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Blu Ray

  • Score: 68

    from 2 reviewers

    Review Date:

  • 'Doctor Parnassus' excels in visuals & cast, notably Ledger, with unique effects and a worthy Blu-ray release.

    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date

  • Video: 71

  • Sony's Blu-ray transfer of 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' excels in vibrant, detailed visuals with natural colors and deep clarity, though it faces minor flaws in black levels and green screen effects.

  • Audio: 71

  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus dazzles with a crisp DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, balancing powerful effects and clear dialogue, despite occasional overwhelming scores.

  • Extra: 61

  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Blu-ray release offers a comprehensive dive into the movie through features like detailed audio commentary, various behind-the-scenes looks, and tributes to Heath Ledger, albeit some content feels brief and lacking depth.

  • Movie: 61

  • Terry Gilliam's 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' dazzles with whimsical visuals and a poignant final performance by Heath Ledger, upheld by a uniquely enchanting, yet complex story.

    Video: 71

    The Blu-ray presentation of "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" epitomizes the high standards one has come to expect from a Sony transfer. On this AVC MPEG-4 encode at 1080p within a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, viewers are treated to a visual feast that strikingly balances two distinct worlds. The real-world segments are characterized by natural, albeit somewhat muted colors, presenting a stark, somber contrast to the vibrant pastel and brilliantly primary hues of the imaginarium. Detailing is exquisite across the board; from the texture of the troupe's wagon, laden with minute, well-worn intricacies, to the vividly resolved distant debris of a dilapidated London segment in chapter five. Despite an occasional visibility of green/blue screen disparities and a stray orange line mar, the overall film maintains a mesmerizing depth and an immersive clarity that commendably encapsulates both the drabness of reality and the unfettered vibrancy of imagination.

    Technical fidelity of this disc underscores Sony's commitment to excellence, showcasing a transfer devoid of common pitfalls like DNR, edge enhancements, or artifacting. While blacks sometimes present brighter than ideal, this slight inconsistency does little to detract from an otherwise impeccably maintained film-like appearance. The Imaginarium segments especially benefit from a palette that exercises no restraint in color expression, rendering each scene with a broad array of hues that contribute to an enchanting visual narrative.

    In sum, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" on Blu-ray stands as a testament to effective visual storytelling through meticulous attention to detail and color richness. The variance in texture and hue between the real and fantastical elements of the film is rendered with great care, supported by a technical execution that largely sidesteps digital manipulation issues. Though not without its minor flaws, the transfer presents a detailed, dimensional experience that visually captivates and elaborates upon the cinematic journey laid out by Terry Gilliam.

    Audio: 71

    The audio presentation of "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" on Blu-Ray is a showcase of technical prowess, featuring a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that promises and delivers an auditory experience as rich and engaging as the film's visual spectacle. The track impressively balances the delicate subtleties of ambient sounds with the robust dynamics of explosions and pyrotechnics, creating an enveloping soundscape. Tight, clean bass accompanies larger-than-life explosions, rendering them with startling clarity without overwhelming the ears. Surround effects are employed to great advantage, both in discrete and atmospheric capacities, further drawing the listener into the magical world of the Imaginarium. Sounds such as the distinct pop of bursting balloons or the clatter of a chase on tall broken ladder-stilts are delivered with exceptional crispness, enhancing the overall sensory immersion.

    However, despite its many strengths, the audio mix is not without its shortcomings. The very richness that makes the track a marvel can at times lead to a crowded auditory space, where the score occasionally overpowers dialogue, making some lines difficult to discern. This issue, while not pervasive, hints at a balancing act that slightly misses perfection. Even so, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix provides a solid foundation of motion and localization, filling the room with an almost ceaseless array of effects and atmospheres that truly make "Doctor Parnassus" an auditory circus of delight. Bass levels, though on the lighter side, are effectively used to punctuate scenes with needed emphasis, contributing to the track's dynamic range.

    In conclusion, while navigating a few minor hiccups in audio balance, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" delivers an audio experience that is nearly as ambitious and all-encompassing as the film itself. The sonic adventure it offers, complete with its layers of sounds that range from the ethereal whispers of wind to the definitive boom of explosions, showcases a level of fidelity and clarity that nearly matches its visual counterpart. The Blu-Ray’s audio track not only complements but elevates the viewing experience, ensuring that both audiophiles and casual viewers are treated to an immersive sonic journey through Doctor Parnassus's fantastical universe.

    Extra: 61

    The Blu-ray release of "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" goes beyond the imaginative bounds of the film itself, providing a treasure trove of supplemental features that dive deeply into the creative process and the monumental task of bringing such a fantastical story to the screen. The extras strike a balance between honoring Heath Ledger's final performance with personal and poignant testimonials, such as the wardrobe test and an interview, while also offering behind-the-scenes glances through technical showcases like "Building the Monastery" and the multi-angle progression sequence. Director Terry Gilliam's energetic presence weaves through the extras— from his film introduction to detailed audio commentary— sharing insights that are both candid and captivating. Though individual segments might leave viewers craving more depth, collectively, they furnish a comprehensive look into the film's artistic and logistical complexities, enriched by Gilliam's unfiltered observations on everything from set design to the cast's dynamic and Ledger's indelible impact.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Terry Gilliam Film Introduction: A brief introduction by Terry Gilliam discussing inspirations and production challenges.
    • Audio Commentary with Director Terry Gilliam: Insightful commentary on the film's production, themes, and performances.
    • Behind the Mirror: Cast and crew discuss their roles and the film's visual and thematic elements.
    • The Imaginarium of Terry Gilliam: An exploration of the film's creative vision and special effects.
    • Building the Monastery: Details the creation of one of the film's key sets.
    • 'The Drunk' Multi-Angle Progression Sequence: Demonstrates various stages of VFX development for a particular scene.
    • Heath Ledger and Friends: Discusses Ledger's death and the inclusion of Depp, Law, and Farrell.
    • Heath Ledger Wardrobe Test: A wardrobe test featuring Heath Ledger, with optional commentary by Gilliam.
    • Interview with Heath Ledger: A radio interview snippet with Heath Ledger.
    • Doctor Parnassus Around the World: Compilation of red carpet footage from global premieres.
    • Cast & Crew Presentation on Stage: Gilliam introduces key figures onstage at an event.
    • The Artwork of Doctor Parnassus: Showcases inspirations behind the film's visuals.
    • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene with optional commentary from Terry Gilliam.
    • Theatrical Trailer: The high-definition trailer for the film.
    • Previews: Additional trailers for various films.

    Movie: 61

    Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," receives a high-quality Blu-ray presentation that delights and dazzles in equal measure, showcasing the director's signature flair for visually stunning, if narratively complex, filmmaking. This film, like Gilliam’s earlier works, offers an intricate tapestry of storytelling, set against a backdrop of fantastical visuals that transcend anything he has previously accomplished. The narrative complexity and the dominance of special effects may not cater to everyone's taste, but the overall spectacle is undeniably captivating. Gilliam crafts a unique cinematic experience, reminiscent of his work on "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," yet enhanced by the advancements in visual effects, providing an eclectic mix of whimsy and profundity.

    The film’s plot revolves around Doctor Parnassus and his travelling theatre troupe as they navigate the complexities of bargains made with the devil, featuring a nuanced performance by Heath Ledger in his final role. Ledger's untimely death could have derailed the project, but the seamless integration of Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell as iterations of Ledger's character within the fantastical realms of the imaginarium speaks volumes of Gilliam's ingenuity and the collective dedication to Ledger's legacy. The ensemble cast delivers with both vibrancy and depth, contributing to the film's rich tapestry of illusion and reality, underscored by themes of redemption, love, and sacrifice.

    Gilliam's film is an ambitious exploration of narrative and visual storytelling, where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred with artistic finesse. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus stands as a testament to Gilliam’s innovative direction and to the enduring spirit of Heath Ledger. Though it might challenge conventional narrative expectations, it rewards viewers with a visually extravagant journey through imagination. This Blu-ray release not only celebrates Gilliam's directorial vision but also honors the remarkable performances of its cast, ensuring that Ledger's final cinematic contribution is recognized within an appropriately imaginative and lovingly crafted film.

    Total: 68

    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," directed by Terry Gilliam, stands as a testament to the power of visual storytelling and the indelible mark of Heath Ledger’s final performance. This Blu-ray presentation captures the essence of Gilliam's vision, offering a feast for the eyes and ears that fans of the director and newcomers alike will find compelling. While the film may primarily be remembered for Ledger’s untimely departure, it's worth noting the commendable performances by Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, and Colin Farrell, who contribute significantly to the film’s depth and emotional resonance. The Blu-ray edition does justice to the film's striking visuals and intricate audio design, ensuring a viewing experience that is immersive.

    Sony's release of this Blu-ray is commendable for its preservation of the film’s visual and auditory marvels, boasting an array of extras that, though somewhat lacking in depth, provide an adequate behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of this unique cinematic piece. The visual quality is stunning, matched by a soundtrack that complements the film’s eclectic imagery. While the special features may leave some enthusiasts wanting more substantial content, the overall package remains a worthy addition to any collection, striking a balance between filmic artistry and home entertainment technology.

    In conclusion, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" on Blu-ray is a product that admirably encapsulates the film's artistic achievements and narrative peculiarities. Despite its few shortcomings in the extras department, the release stands out for its excellent audio-visual presentation, ensuring that Gilliam's fantastical journey remains vibrant and engaging for viewers. It’s a fitting homage to Ledger's talent and a testament to Gilliam's enduring legacy as a filmmaker who dares to visualize the unimaginable.