Big Fish (8/10 Rating)
Released December 25, 2003 (Limited)
For rent/purchase on all major platforms.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
PG-13: A Fight Scene, Images of Nudity, and a Suggestive Reference
When I think of Tim Burton films, I tend to forget how good his films can be. Then I recall Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beetlejuice, and…Big Fish. Big Fish definitely comes up far less than the others and it may be his best work as an overall film. It is also one of Danny Elfman’s best musical scores, this one nominated for an Oscar. Burton’s movies can be a little too Burton, in my opinion. Here he is subdued, graciously weaving between a realistic timeline and the stories of a dying man’s life. Ed Bloom, played by the late Albert Finney and in flashbacks by Ewan McGregor, has always told fantastical stories to those around him, including his son Will, played by Billy Crudup. Will, however, wants the real stories of his dad’s life before his father passes away. The film tells Bloom’s life story through his own tellings as well as close friends, with most of the tales being close to reality, but filled with embellishments that are expanded by the visuals of Burton. While parents may find issues with a few moments, I would consider this a good family film, at least with older children. It presents opportunities for discussions about life, death, and relationships in a fantastical way. It would be easy to find comparisons to The Princess Bride or Forrest Gump. The storytelling is presented similarly to the prior and the fictional elements mixed with reality mirror the latter. As stated, the musical score is wonderful, the effects are great, and the acting is superb all around. The plot moves along quick enough to keep anyone entertained with a wide variety of tall tales mixed with real life drama and romance. If this is one that got away, you might want to consider casting a line and catching this Big Fish. Just grab some tissues for the ending.
Also released in December 2003: The Last Samurai, Pride and Prejudice, Something’s Gotta Give, Stuck On You, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Pan, Mona Lisa Smile, Monster, Cheaper by the Dozen, Cold Mountain (follow @jlucia85 for these reviews and more)