"You used to play so beautifully, Tom. You had a song for every little thing in your life..."
Imaginaerum is a Finnish musical fantasy film, directed by Stobe Harju and based on the eponymous album of the Symphonic Metal
It tells a story of Thomas "Tom" Whitman, a composer who in his late years has regressed to a mind of a child, living more in the world of fantasy rather than real life. After he collapses and falls in coma, he starts to delve deeper into the depths of his imagination while his estranged
daughter Gem follows her father's final days beside the hospital bed, struggling with her feelings over the matter. Meanwhile Thomas, tempted by a eerie snowman, Mr. White, begins a journey inside his mind, trying to recollect his memories of the past and, hopefully, find a way to reconcile with Gem before it's too late.
Tuomas Holopainen came up with original idea of Imaginaerum
soon after the release of Dark Passion Play
in 2007. Originally Tuomas had intended to make an album with music videos accompanying each song, but after the workload and budget needed for such were deemed big enough for an actual movie, Stobe suggested converting the originally drafted concepts into a coherent full-length feature film. The result is a heart-wrenching musical fantasy of epic (and weird
) proportions, family drama, cool visual effects
and a score based on the music by Nightwish
And no, Thomas is not
) Author Avatar
of Tuomas. The band does, however, make a couple of cameo appearances in the film.
This film contains examples of the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents: It is implied that Tom's father was one. When he notices himself picking up the same habits, he drives his daughter away to save her from that upbringing, causing her to hate him due to the neglect.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Chekhov's Gun: Snowflake.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The toy soldier that Tom steps on early in the film appears to him in his fantasy, and with the rest of the toy soldiers, carry him to the safe that holds his memories.
- Circus of Fear
- Driven to Suicide: Tom's father and Ann both attempted it. The former succeeded.
- Dying as Yourself: Tom eventually regains his memories before dying.
- Fighting Down Memory Lane: The premise of the movie for Tom's side of the story. Though he wasn't so much 'fighting' as he was 'chasing'.
- Foreshadowing: Mr. White wears a pilot hat and goggles. He's a memory of Tom's father, who was a pilot.
- Also, when Tom steps on the toy soldier near the start of the film, a few notes from 'Wonderfields' are briefly heard. This track would later be played in full when the soldiers come to him in his fantasy.
- Homage: The "Snowman flying with a boy" scene, anyone?
- Large Ham: The entire band during the nightmare at the circus plays up the hamminess, particular Marco and Anette.
- Long Song, Short Scene: A lot of the songs from the score album are this, but the one that suffers most is "Undertow" (the score version of "Ghost River" from the original album), which only plays the opening for about 30 seconds while Tom explores the wasteland, before talking to Ann.
- Meaningful Echo: "E Minor."
- Meaningful Name
- The snowman is called Mr. White, which resembles Tom's surname, Whitman. That makes a whole lot of sense when it is revealed that he is a memory of Tom's father, whose name would be Mr. Whitman.
- Gem has one as well, and she even realizes it herself in the end of the movie. "And there forever remains a change from G to Em." G Em.
- Memento MacGuffin/Orphan's Plot Trinket: The Arabesque, Tom's old toys.
- Mental World
- Monster Clown: The same ones from the "Storytime" video still harassing Tom in the Circus of Fear. Circus!Nightwish also qualifies.
- Mind Screw
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: When Tom, having wandered across the Mental World in a child form, ages to his old self while trying to reach the memory of Gem.
- Scenery Porn
- Serkis Folk: Mr. White, played by Ilkka Villi.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Gem, who's grown bitter believing that her father never loved her or her mother.
- World of Symbolism: When half the movie happens in one's subconscious...
- Fridge Brilliance: The train track. Near the beginning of the fantasy, it's made very clear that his mind is falling apart. A worker comes by complaining that he has to keep doing maintenance on a train track. A little girl comes by and tells him not to bother, much to his delight. The girl is soon after revealed to be his daughter Gem, though he is unaware of it. In the real world, she discusses cutting off additional medical support with a doctor in front of his comatose body. It's quite likely that he picked this up subconsciously, and portrayed it in his dream as the scene above. Near the end of the film, he takes a ride on this track, and it eventually comes to a broken down dead end. What further drives this home is that the doctor and maintenance worker are played by the same actor.