Make your own choices about Dances with Space Smurfs, but take my word on this: You should go see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, on the big screen, as soon as possible.
If Heath Ledger had to leave us, as the Irish lament goes, before he could comb grey hair, it’s a very fine thing that he left us this as his final appearance — and a tribute to the gifts and the hearts of Depp, Law, and Farrell that the transitions within the film are so seamless. Christopher Plummer is in fine form, Lily Cole is both scrumptious and heartbreakingly vulnerable, Vern Troyer gets to act, Tom Waits gets to play the sideshow freak of his twisted dreams, and Andrew Garfield has a great future ahead of him.
As the critics have said, Terry Gilliam gets full scope for all his marvelous tricks in this movie. (I only wish it could have been done in IMAX 3-D!) Monty Python fans, Terry Pratchett fans, those who loved Time Bandits when they were young and those who loved Twelve Monkeys when they were not so young, all need to see this movie. It is simultaneously packed with surprises, and so meticulously engineered that you recognise every twist as having been signposted along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing it again while it’s in the theatres, and I can hardly wait for the DVD version (hopefully with a full Director’s Commentary track).
Be sure to sit through the end credits, and remember that the Trickster always tells us one true thing:
“There is no black magic, only cheap tricks.”