Wednesday Movie Night: Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish is probably one of Tim Burton’s most fairy tales of tales he has brought to life to the screen. There seemed to be something in this movie that a lot of his films have lacked since Edward Scissorhands, and that is heart. Ewan McGregor makes the role work, though he could have been better cast, as a southern boy. The movie did take some time to grow on me though. It wasn’t love straight out of the gate with this one. It felt almost like a television movie at first until the guy finally sets out on his adventure.

Summary: Will Bloom has always believed that his father was lying growing up when he told him tales of his childhood and how he met his mother. Ed Bloom though isn’t letting go of his stories even as death nears him in old age. Will’s wife, Josephine, tries to bring her husband closer to his father though by helping him understand his father’s need for the stories, and telling them to him. As he tries to understand who his father really his under the stories he also begins to relive them and bring the stories the to life.

Acting: To be honest, the movie does really exaggerate and over act, but as the movie does go on it does capture the idea and the imagery of the story well. Some of the most dullest parts have to be the present with Will though. Billy Crudup doesn’t seem to have that connection with the character or the man portraying Ed Bloom, Albert Finney. He seems to be disconnected, and I think in a way he does ruin the emotions this movie is aiming to capture. I felt no close sentiment to the movie after watching. What I did enjoy were the flashbacks to the creation of Ed’s whimsical past. In Tim Burton style, it’s colorful, magical, and allows the fables to run free. It is by far what the makes the movie as good as it is. Ewan McGregor has a pretty terrible accent though that was difficult to get past, but I think he covers the transition to youth to adulthood of Ed very well.

Filming: As stated, it does feature a lot of the usual characteristics of a Tim Burton film, so if you’re a fan of his style there is plenty of it woven in. What was disappointing is that when he is shooting to be whimsical his set looks very bland. What makes all the attributes of his movie are the very artsy sets, but without that there is nothing astounding or even emotionally catching in the way he shoots his scenes. As soon as I went to the present away from the fables I instantly wanted to get back to the past in the movie.

Plot: The plot is one based from a book that I haven’t read yet. I think the transitions were a little rough in tying the past to the present, but I think Albert Finney did a wonderful job of connecting the heart of his old self with the current self he was living as in the future. I felt the personalities of him younger could have just as easily been him older.

Big Fish is a movie that will appeal to Tim Burton’s usual fans and might even draw some new ones since he doesn’t rely on his usual oddities to make the movie something. The movie is led by acting that is good, and some that really does take away from the movie. It lives up to being visually stunning though, and one of the better works that Burton has done.

Rating 8 of 10.

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