As is so often the case since his Monty Python days, Gilliam is best at visual games and weakest at storytelling.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Terry Gilliam's latest is a full three-ring affair, complete with puffs of smoke, glitter and grunge, some hocus-pocus, mumbo jumbo and even a dwarf.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
There is a fundamental lack of dramatic traction here and the surrealism creates an inert flabbiness in its already chaotic story.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Though rambling and at times self-indulgent, its wit and pageantry, boosted by Heath Ledger's final performance, render it irresistible.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Shot through with a bold, extravagant generosity of spirit, this journey behind the literal and figurative looking glass marks a gratifying return to form for Gilliam, whose recent films haven't quite lived up to his capacities.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Your mileage may vary, especially if you feel that the gifted celebrity dead should be mourned with taste and decorum. In which case, why are you even at a Terry Gilliam movie?
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
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.
Ella Taylor - Village Voice
When it's all done we're left with another recent Gilliam trademark: the highly imaginative mess.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
It teases with magnificently tantalizing moments that don't quite add up to one grand insight. Which, come to think of it, is an epiphany of its own peculiar sort.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
[Gilliam] can follow any train of thought, so he does, and it's no surprise when the trains run out of steam.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
I attended the Cannes screening of Doctor Parnassus to be baffled, which I was, and then the Chicago press screening, where I had an idea what was coming and tried to reopen my mind.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The behind-the-scenes tragedy gives Gilliam an easy excuse for the dull chaos that engulfs the story, but he might have generated it all on his own.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is vintage Terry Gilliam, a pour not to all tastes but one certain to please lovers of Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
I'd love to report that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a work of renegade genius. Alas, it's a minor film, memorable largely as the farewell of Heath Ledger, who died when his scenes were only half completed.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Parnassus is fun to watch a good deal of the time, and Gilliam is almost always visually surprising, but Ledger could have used a more momentous send-off.
Tom Long - Detroit News
If you're game, Parnassus is a richly rewarding experience. If not, it comes off like pretentious nonsense.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Ronnie Scheib - Variety
The helmer has made a pretty good thing out of a very bad situation in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus".
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Not up to the very best work of either Gilliam or Ledger, but it's a surprisingly satisfying coda to the latter's all-too-brief career.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
The cinema's greatest fantasist serves up towering cliffs and blinding blizzards, Satan conjuring up clouds he can walk on, a road of rose petals winding into a desert -- an imagination that has no peer.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Parnassus continues Gilliam's decade-old habit of sabotaging his work by piling on wild images without regard to character development or storytelling.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is one of those movies that, despite spectacular elements, doesn't add up to a spectacular film.
Christine Champ - Film.com
Terry Gilliam, the veteran film director who cut his teeth as the animation wizard of television's legendary Monty Python's Flying Circus, has flirted with genius throughout his career, and bedded her from time to time. In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnas
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
Marred by shoddy special effects and half-formed fantastical conceits, Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" has the feeling of a comic fantasia desperately seeking to find its rhythm.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
It meanders and jaywalks according to its own confused rhythms, and the suggestion is that if we don't get it -- or if we get bored -- we're just not clued in to Gilliam's genius.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
If I was a teacher and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was a student's paper, I would give it an "incomplete."
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A carnival show with a mirror to the imagination allows Gilliam to employ his remarkable gift for imagery, but the worlds he creates will not take the breath away of children or grown-ups.
Ray Bennett - Hollywood Reporter
The resulting film is an outlandish juggling act. It teeters, creaks and breaks at the seams, but somehow holds together better than you would expect and better than such an extravagant farce should.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
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.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
The film is flawed, but you don't expect narrative drive or coherence; you go for the director's flights of fantasy. Possessed of an imagination that throws off more sparks than a fizzing, spinning Catherine Wheel, Gilliam is a fabulous fabulist.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Hank Sartin - Time Out
One of the greatest motion pictures ever. From its astounding themes to its brilliant cast, stunning design to enchanting score, undeniable smarts to lasting significance, this is Cinema! Buy this movie. View this movie. Marry this movie. I have spoken.
Gregory Weinkauf - UberCine
A return to form for director Terry Gilliam?
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
I don't think it's such a big heresy to say that Terry Gilliam is both a genius and an annoyingly full-of-it director who's coasting on the goodwill he earned with Brazil.
Dave White - Movies.com
Mark Kermode - BBC Radio Five Live
It's like snorting a line of pure Gilliam.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
a confusing mess. ... a promising set-up assembled with bits and pieces of Gilliam's brilliance, but he clearly did not wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant vision
Matt Kelemen - Las Vegas CityLife
Overplotted and the film ends up as a head-scratcher -- we're supposed to sympathize with Parnassus, but the case just isn't strongly made.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
Longo e com uma estrutura frouxa resultante das varias alteracoes, ainda peca pela resolucao artificial que poderia perfeitamente ser descrita como um decepcionante diabo ex machina. Ledger merecia uma despedida melhor.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
...Ledger's death casts a blue shadow over the entire proceedings, as Gilliam hasn't the heart to turn this parade of images into something like a meditation on the cost of achieving one's wildest fantasies.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A trippy, uneven ride whose best assets are its imagination, Heath Ledger's final performance, and the three surprise stars who act as his replacements.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Terry Gilliam can't catch a break.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Fate's cruel trick -- taking Heath Ledger from us midway through filming -- has inspired Gilliam to make one of his most inventive and strange films.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Walks a thin line between the convenient and the absurd.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
The actual story is muddled, but the imagination of the visual imagery is very good.
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
although there are resplendent moments, they are mired in the kind of general narrative mishmash that makes you wish Gilliam would get outside his own head a little more and try harder to get inside of ours
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Heath Ledger is fine in his last performance, but the great Gilliam is still in a bit of a slump.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
Endearingly packed to the rafters with ornate anachronistic artistry, Gilliam's Imaginarium is a great place to window shop--and get lost for a spell.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
More for Terry Gilliam completists and Heath Ledger's more devoted fans than a general audience.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Gilliam has had a rough 10 years, but he's ended the decade with what is easily one of his seminal works. He has shown what imagination and storytelling means to him, and he's made one of his best films in the process.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
A visual and narrative whirlwind that's too scattershot to engage and is a disappointing finale to Ledger's career.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Ideally, Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight would have been his last performance. Once again Gilliam has made a movie probably only he can truly understand or find very interesting.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
The story is odd and doesn't really hang together very well, but the film is worth watching mainly to experience the wonder of Mr. Gilliam's fantastic visual imagination.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Overburdened with ideas, visions, and concepts, and rather than teasing any of them out, the director insists on them with great force and urgency that is rather more off-putting than entrancing.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
...while the film is not entirely successful, it certainly qualifies as a glorious mess of a failure.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
I have no idea what it was about, but it was fascinating and wonderful.
Fred Topel - Sci Fi Wire
There's a fine line that separates fantastical from nonsensical. Too often, Gilliam's film comes down on the wrong side.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Seriously, if you could make money designing other people's acid trips, Gilliam would be a zillionaire.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
If Ledger had completed the entire film or not, Doctor Parnassus doesn't seem well-focused enough to be a truly landmark Gilliam work but it's much closer than anything else he's done this millennium.
Brian Tallerico - Movie Retriever
Gilliam is a more disciplined storyteller here than he has often been, and the result is his most involving movie in years.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
'Parnassus' may be an unprecedented distillation of Gilliam's ideas about art and life, but as presented here, those ideas are less than compelling.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The whole thing teems with the sort of imagery and clatter that Gilliam's fans adore. If you loved his older work -- and if you can stand the twinge of pain that beholding the lamented Ledger will surely evoke -- it's worth a visit.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Those who find Gilliam visually stimulating should be willing to ride along.
Sean O'Connell - Hollywood News
As one of the last great proprietors of motion picture prestidigitation, Gilliam is his own protagonist. As you follow the fall of Parnassus, you see the story of the director's rise, rejection, and reinvention of himself.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
A new Gilliam film is always a good reason to go to the movies, and Ledger's final screen appearance is certainly more than a curiosity.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Imaginarium might have worked as a short film, but at two hours it becomes a soul-sucking void.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
One wishes the end result was a better tribute to a remarkable talent taken before his time.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Mr. Gilliam hasn't made a masterpiece here, but it's a fascinating tale with luscious visuals
Sonny Bunch - Washington Times
another sad miss in Terry Gilliam's shooting gallery
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
As for who other than Terry Gilliam might enjoy it, I'm at a loss.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Terry Gilliam is a director who aspires to magic and, with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, he's pulled an unruly rabbit out of a seemingly discarded hat.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
More than perhaps any other film Gilliam has ever made, Imaginarium's fantasy elements feel as if they are cobbled together enmasse from the Monty Python animated sequences he used to create.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Just when Gilliam's art is on the point of imitating life and all life's incidental meaninglessness, it convulses into an image of stunning weirdness and clarity, and for a moment you can believe that movies really do hold the key to immortality.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
It plays like a salvage job, with all the attendant compromises. Though the film is laden with backstory and exposition, not much actually happens onscreen.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a patented Terry Gilliam special, a remedial children's bedtime tale for anxious grown-ups.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
A film that was brought back from the worst of bad luck, "Dr. Parnassus" is a fascinating collection of things that might have been.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
Parnassus is an eye-popping fairy tale, a timeless tale of good battling evil and Gilliam's first film in a long while that wholly captures his vaudevillian spirit.
Steve Ramos - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
An invigorating paean to the revelatory powers of entertainment.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
[Its] strange narrative, grounded in a fantasy world that Gilliam renders via computer-generated effects, makes Parnassus a primarily visual spectacle.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
... this enigmatic through the looking glass odyssey suggests that surrendering oneself to imagination and creativity and storytelling... is dangerous business.
Sean Axmaker - Parallax View
...I found this film to be a fitting and lasting tribute to the man it is lovingly dedicated to.
Michael A. Smith - Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Gilliam gamboling freely through the public subconscious... just doesn't work, this time, on any level other than a meta one...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Parnassus is a step up from Gilliam's two previous pictures (the ineffectual The Brothers Grimm and the torturous Tideland), but it still feels like a cobbled collection of ideas and conceits rather than a stand-alone story.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Gilliam is more sure-footed and confident in his storytelling than he's been in years.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Somehow it all hangs together, thanks both to Gilliam's boundless imagination and to the appealing performances from the whole cast.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Artistically, Imaginarium exudes the influence of its creator, both in real world and fantasy.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Another of those failed Gilliam fantasies in which anything goes but nothing matters.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
...it seems that Gilliam may have been so eager to cram so much into his next big gamble that he smothers what was already working.
William Goss - Orlando Weekly
Cole and Garfield give terrifically witty, impassioned performances despite the very tricky material
Michelle Orange - Movieline
[it] does peter out in the end - it's perhaps too ambitious in telling too many stories - but visually it pops, its cast is terrific and the director's retrofitting of Ledger's role works far better than one would imagine.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Troyer's idiosyncratic character, enhanced by his small size, is hilarious, and he's one of my picks for this year's Best Supporting Actor.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Most of the film is artsy rather than effectsy, and actually it tends to drag a bit whenever the big deal effects become the meat rather than the spice of the scene.Abandoning oneself to the film is the best way to enjoy it.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
A surprisingly interesting picture.
A.O. Scott - At the Movies
Gilliama(TM)s visually assaultive technique doesna(TM)t make it easy on either the story or the actors.
Michael Phillips - At the Movies
Perhaps Ledger's death tore the heart right out of the film, or maybe Gilliam just can't quit his addiction to discomfort. Though it promises something fanciful at times, Parnassus" can be disappointingly moody.
Brian Orndorf - DVDTalk.com
Various actors taking Ledger's place turns out to make more sense than the rest of Parnassus... which starts strongly but soon begins to flail.
Eugene Novikov - AMCtv.com
A delightful, visually splendid slice of brilliant madness that's occasionally uneven and too emotionally hollow to reach the heights of a true classic.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Once Ledger appears, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus almost turns into another movie: What had seemed dry and academic...becomes fun, entertaining, and even, at times, wonderful.
Steve Biodrowski - Cinefantastique
If he had lived, Ledger would be glad to see his name in the credits.
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
Jennie Kermode - Eye for Film
Director Terry Gilliam is back in fine fantasy form, after a series of critical and commercial failures...
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
It exemplifies both the strengths and the shortcomings for which director Terry Gilliam has become known.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Dean Essner - National Post
The result is not just a filmmaker retracing the Faustian elements of his career but something far more poignant than he could have ever imagined in a film appropriately labeled as coming from 'Heath Ledger and friends.'
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Dean Essner - Irish Times
It is the director's ceaseless creativity that stands out in Imaginarium, and makes the film worth watching despite its narrative and logical flaws.
Paul Gallagher - Future Movies UK
Gilliam is incapable of telling a story casually, and his personal obsessions often come along as a bonus.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Ledger's admirers will be pleased with his farewell, even if his part is not fully realized and his character is more of a supporting syrup in this weird elixir.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
a massive sprawling explosion of a film, rife with hyperbolic visuals, and a story that dares to consider the contradictions of good and evil as played out in the hearts and minds of every human being on the planet
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Gilliam's paean to the imagination seems to lack imagination.
Jonathan Kiefer - Sacramento News & Review
While The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus for many will be known as Ledger's last film, this should not overshadow the fact that it is a glorious film in its own right and a testament to Gilliam's uncompromising vision.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Gilliam is concerned primarily with out-Gilliaming himself.
Jesse Hassenger - Filmcritic.com
Whichever way you choose to look at it, it's a trippy couple of hours at the theatre.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
diary of an artist who keeps trying to amaze when no one's paying attention anymore
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
An acidic combo of a Super Mario Bros. game on a disastrous drug trip and a bad Lady Gaga video -- however, both Mario and Gaga have better premises.
Clay Cane - BET.com
Once an exciting and daring filmmaker, Gilliam is now making movies that threaten to put their audiences to sleep. Ask your doctor if Parnassus is right for you.
Alonso Duralde - IFC.com
While a movie that is deeply flawed and ultimately fails, Parnassus is at least watchable, unlike Gilliam's last film, the wretched Tideland.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Yet another case of a film with not enough story for the amount of movie there is...more interesting for what it wasn't allowed to be than for what it is.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
It's hard to bear this film much ill will but it doesn't really work, apart from a couple vividly imagined set pieces. Mostly it just ambles along, like a scavenger hunt with an ill-defined search list, before collapsing in on itself in a finale of utter
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Gilliam is Parnassus, carrying his tatterdemalion show forward from year to year and trying to get people to pay attention, and the mingled sense of bitterness and hope in his story makes this whole crazed fantasy into something far more real.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
A dizzy spell of visual fantasy and rickety plotting.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
A morality tale about the consequences of making deals with the devil that has some visual flare but doesn't really hold together.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
What ifs and wherefores become irrelevant the minute you pass through Terry Gilliam's sparkly looking-glass.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Unsuccessfully attempts to fashion an actual story out of slapdash, seemingly improvised sequences awash in uneven CG effects.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Crammed with shifting CGI canvases and frenetic revues right out of Monty Python, Imaginarium is a galumphing bacchanal of illusionist clutter that's frequently unwieldy but rarely less than deeply felt.
Fernando F. Croce - Slant Magazine
The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus turns out to be a film of many subtle pleasures as well as grand images, and a tidy summation of many of this director's long-explored themes and ideas.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
A shambling, lovable mess of a movie that never manages to keep its boundless imagination in check.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
Dazzling and sumptuous, chronicling a haunting race to redemption.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
It's a film teeming with visual invention (often to the point of exhaustion), yet the big-budget pageantry is always counterbalanced by Gilliam's deeply felt and thematically potent sympathy for the downtrodden artistes of the world.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out New York
As impressive and as wild as Gilliam's acid-laced visuals can be -- and yes, they are often stunning and hilarious -- it's not enough to keep us engaged in a movie with a plot that spins circles around our heads and characters who are really nothing more
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
Lots of eye candy, but where's the story?
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
While he hasn't made a perfect film, Terry Gilliam preserves the memory of Heath Ledger in a way that appropriately matches his own sense of artistic inspiration.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Whatever my reservations, and they are only few, I welcome back the Gilliam of old.
Luke Y. Thompson - LYTRules.com
It's weird, wicked, wonderful and whacky for sure - much more a dark fantasy than a horror film (Waits' amazing Devil notwithstanding) - but it's also done with finesse, beauty, emotion and aplomb.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
The beautiful special effects sequences can drag on, but Gilliam's crafted an intriguing, old-fashioned fairytale framework for them.
Martyn Pedler - Triple j
If fantasy is your thing, take a trip through Gilliam's mirror and drink your fill, but don't blame me for your indigestion.
Evan Williams - The Australian
The film is classic Gilliam, the imaginative brilliance tempered by moments of incoherence and a strange lassitude.
Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
The melding together of the streamlined urbanscapes of modern London with the old-time production design of the Parnassus carriage, not to mention the CGI wonderlands beyond the mirror, is a spectacle that's worth the price of admission alone.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
This is a wonderous, dark and opulent film, that captivates and moves the audience. Fans of Ledger or Gilliam will feel rewarded for their time in the Imaginarium.
Giles Hardie - Unknown2
A visual feast is served up in former Monty Python cast member Terry Gilliam's fantasy -- credited to "Heath Ledger and friends" -- that should enthral loyal fans of the veteran's colourful film history, but is more than likely to baffle Gilliam novices.
Des Partridge - Courier Mail (Australia)
The film continually shifts in and out of coherency, much a like a radio trying to fix on a station broadcasting from far, far away.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
It's unlikely Gilliam's own, undeniably brilliant career will be revitalised by this rambling, undisciplined and indulgent piece of work.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out Sydney
For a film that lost one of its key players, Heath Ledger, mid-way through production, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus is remarkably cohesive. Marks a return to form for Gilliam.
Vicky Roach - Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Doctor Parnassus is sometimes exhilarating, sometimes merely deranged -- but since excess and fragmentation are Gilliam's trademarks, his virtues are impossible to separate from his vices.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
A hard to fathom storyline and obvious CGI effects detract from an otherwise big-hearted final film for Heath Ledger.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
Those willing to ignore these indulgences are guaranteed to be swept away by the sublime visuals, energetic performances and Gilliam's own incredibly unbridled imagination.
Gavin Bond - Sunday Times (Australia)
The script could have done with a little more work and the story loses its way more than once, but the weird and wonderful world Gilliam and Ledger have created is worth a peek.
Colin Newton - Sunday Mail (Australia)
Like a travelling sideshow, Imaginarium drifts from one weird and wonderful idea to another without any discernible plan or structure, kept alive by novelty value
Anders Wotzke - Cut Print Review
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
On one level this is a typically chaotic and rather overdone fantasy from Terry Gilliam, but on another it's an immensely touching film because it contains Heath Ledger's last screen appearance.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
[Gilliam's] got this imagination that shoots off into the stratosphere and, to a certain extent, you've got to travel with him. But there's no one like him in film.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
Somewhat intellectually mushy and sentimental, though never less than visually impressive.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Gilliam takes us on a whimsical flight through his imagination with this scruffy, messy movie. The plot doesn't really hang together, but the cast and imagery are magical.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The film is too much of a shambles, but it is brave and courageous; not tainted by anything other than circumstance and passion.
Thom Hutchinson - Filmstar Magazine
This surreal universe is the highlight of Terry Gilliam's film, showing that the former Monty Python has not lost his ability to astound audiences with visual wit.
Dean Essner - Sun Online
A grotesque squandering of time, talent and a great idea.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
[Gilliam's] most vibrant and alive film in years, his rich mind synthesised and running wild for a memorable adventure.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Like the cartoons of Monty Python, the results are weirdly inspired and fitfully amusing but mostly unfathomable. Such is the delirium of Doctor Gilliam.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Gilliam's plotting is typically ramshackle, but the fantasy visions are wondrous. Top job of rescuing Heath Ledger's cruelly curtailed contribution, too.
Kevin Harley - Total Film
It's mad and beautiful and bewildering; it represents a unique vision; it's a peek into the treasure trove of oddities that is Terry Gilliam's head.
Wendy Ide - Times [UK]
Gilliam struggles to create a coherent frame for his visual ambition.
Ben Walters - Heat Magazine
An overdone blow-out of a modern fairy tale.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Sadly, Parnassus' stop-start narrative frustrates, while much of its melancholy relies on Ledger's involvement. Still, there are those moments.
Josh Winning - Little White Lies
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.
Olly Richards - Empire Magazine
A rambling, unruly salute to the transformative power of the imagination that is filled with visual inventiveness, wilful eccentricity and even a burst or two of Pythonesque humour.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
It is a shame that Gilliam didn't settle for being an animator, because these squiggles of invention are so much more his forte than film directing.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Tom Huddlestone - Time Out
No amount of visual pyrotechnics can cover the fact that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus never quite knows what it is doing, where it is going and why. The pencil hadn't done its work before the digital geniuses moved in.
Andrew O'Hagan - This is London
A triumph. That Dr Parnassus was finished at all following the death mid-shoot of its star Heath Ledger is impressive. That it hangs together as a striking work of fantasy is truly remarkable.
Nick Curtis - This is London
A visually inventive fantasy romp that's big on imagination, but almost impossible to follow.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
A eulogy, a polemic, an intriguing mess: Dr Parnassus is ultimately more worth your time than many a polished creation, and it's a must for Terry Gilliam completists, but this time out he delivers a feast for the eyes more than he satisfies intellectually
Catherine Bray - Film4
Gilliam's imagination rubbing up against his constricted budget, and CGI showmanship is not on any level his forte. You miss the hand-made charm and extravagant matte-work of Brazil, even Baron Munchausen.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
Will delight and infuriate in equal measure; it's messy, rambling, patchy and occasionally annoying, but it's also visually stunning and superbly acted, with moments of magic.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
A shambolic Gilliam film may still be better than no Gilliam film at all, but losing the plot isn't quite as much fun as it used to be.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Doctor P is drenched in imagination, and pulses with a fizz-banging love for storytelling that outshines the slick but soulless pap currently clogging cinemas.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Terry Gilliam is perhaps the only director who could lure in the late Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell AND Jude Law - and still produce a phantasmogoric stinker.
Victor Olliver - Teletext
A cheerily irreverent memorial to Ledger. Ledger, meanwhile, immerses himself enthusiastically into the low-budget spirit of Gilliam's film.
Nick Hasted - Uncut Magazine [UK]
A film that's laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally touching and often borders on coherent -- a rarity for Gilliam, even when he's on top form...
Richard Edwards - SFX Magazine
Doctor Parnassus parallels Terry Gilliam and his most recent work: many complex ideas, grand intentions and miserable luck leading him down a path to nowhere, forcing him to start over with nothing one more time.
Patrick Kolan - IGN Movies AU
If you've seen how imaginative Terry Gilliam can be with "practical" effects, then you'll probably be dazzled by Imaginarium's finest moments.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical
Every favorite Gilliam device and trope is employed here to breathtaking effect.
Barbara Goslawski - Boxoffice Magazine
Despite the heroic efforts to save the troubled production due to Heath Ledger's death, it's a disappointing film, one that displays Gilliam's favorite themes but suffers from problems plaguing most of his work.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
It's a hyper-active, endlessly mutating cavalcade of colour, noise and surrealistic eccentricity.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
There's no doubt that the imaginary world [Gilliam has] created is awe-inspiring, but it's ultimately designed for an art house audience.
Dean Essner - BBC
Ledger's performance provides an adequate swansong for loyal fans on pilgrimages to the multiplexes this autumn. But many will exit scratching their heads.
Charles Gant - Independent
With clumsy dialogue, poor plotting and some downright terrible performances, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a huge disappointment for any fan of Terry Gilliam's work.
Chris Tilly - IGN Movies UK
To anyone not sympathetic to Gilliam's flights of fantasy, Parnassus will reek of rambling self-indulgence but fans will welcome it as a return to what he does best.
Allan Hunter - Screen International
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a film with a huge heart and a dazzling eye, but it does little for the very thing it is trying to celebrate: the imagination.
James Christopher - Times [UK]
For the most part Gilliam has toned down the aggressive darkness of his last film, Tideland, pitching at the broader audience he reached for with Baron Munchausen and Brothers Grimm.
Dean Essner - Total Film