This is potentially wonderful, if not exactly new stuff, but Gilliam and McKeown's willful refusal of coherent narrative and determination to pack every idea about art they ever had into one scenario, make this fiendishly gorgeous movie more exhausting than exhilarating to watch.
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He can follow any train of thought, so he does, and it’s no surprise when the trains run out of steam.
A movie assembled from diverse pieces that don't quite match. It's the cinematic equivalent of a patchwork quilt.
The real drama in Parnassus comes from the troupe of sideshow performers, led by a terrifically morbid Christopher Plummer.
As is so often the case since his "Monty Python" days, Gilliam is best at visual games and weakest at storytelling.
The Depp sequence is especially poignant, apparently rewritten with references to other celebrities who died before their time -- Rudolph Valentino, James Dean and Princess Di -- and who will remain "forever young" in our imaginations.
There are thrilling flashes of Gilliam getting back to top form here. A scrappy movie with more ideas than it can control, but one born out of a passion and determination that are wholly infectious.
Despite a shaky framework, the magic works. It's a chance to see Ledger one last time in the act of doing what he loved. Take it.
The film is neither intelligent enough nor silly or grotesque enough to become a lasting favorite.
With Ledger onscreen more than might have been expected, the film possesses strong curiosity value bolstered by generally lively action and excellent visual effects.