Sunday, July 15, 2018

Big Fish

Movie Name: Big Fish
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Billy Crudup, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, Marion Cotillard, Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi, Missi Pyle, Robert Guillaume, Deep Roy, Loudon Wainwright III, Ada Tai, Arlene Tai, Matthew McGrory
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

After his first big budget disappointment that came in the shape of the remake of "Planet of the Apes", director Tim Burton rebounded with the adaptation of the book by Daniel Wallace, "Big Fish". The film follows the adventures of Ed Bloom, particularly his young days, where he recounts his adventures always with a sense of wonder and hyperbole. His son, Will, never really understood him, nor forgave him for the time apart, and for all the stories he has always told. As Ed goes through his last days, Will has a chance to revisit a lot of the stories that were part of his father's usual storytelling, from his time at a circus, to him meeting the beautiful Sandra, who would become his mom.
"Big Fish" was hailed at the time of its premiere, as a return to form for director Tim Burton. It is definitely an improvement over his previous feature, benefiting from a fantastic cast, but it's still a diluted vision of what his best films have been able to showcase. Much of Burton's universe is centered around misfits and characters that can easily be perceived as monsters. His characters are possessed of a poetry and sensibility that at first glance is not perceived by the society around them. There's usually a heroine who digs deep enough to understand his heroes. His stories permeate dark humor throughout, and make them indelible, from "Edward Scissorhands", "Beetlejuice", "Ed Wood" and even "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". "Big Fish" which is a familiar story of a son coming to terms with an absent father, has glimpses of his universe, with Ed Bloom's character being constructed as a magical storyteller, but for the most part, he comes across as a chronic liar. The film does have charm (the supporting characters give it a distinctive feeling), it's beautifully shot (courtesy of Philippe Rousselot), but it's at times overly saccharine and even a bit generic. The cast is uniformly good, with Albert Finney creating a strong performance. A somewhat forgettable film from a unique voice in film.