|Submitted by T. Rayne Ratliff |
(Mar 08, 2004)
Reviewed by T. Rayne Ratliff
"Giants, tigers and bears, oh my!" There may not be a yellow brick road in Big Fish but, there is a journey with a few witches, fishes, werewolves, a slew of unconventional characters and a small town called Specter - which literally means ghost. Director Tim Burton has woven time and story on top of story that takes us off the beaten path in what transforms into a coming of age tale between a father and his adult son.
Ewan McGregor stars as the young Edward Bloom, a character sharing the questionable events of his life to those he meets. Edward is someone that everyone loves for his fast wit and imagination while the relationship between him and his son falters due to what the son sees as a lack of honest and straightforward communication. “We are like two strangers who know each other very well” he says at one point speaking of the contrived connection between the two of them.
“My father talked about a lot of things that he never did and I'm certain he did a lot of things he never talked about” states Will Bloom (played by Billy Crudup) who was questioning his dad’s frequent absence and fidelity to his mother while growing up. Burton has a way of projecting dark imagery that somehow turns melancholy into beauty and happiness while still managing to entertain and touch the heart. Admittedly there was a point in which the film seems a bit lengthy but wait till the end and it all falls into place. There are laughs to be had, wonders to behold, and jokes to be told - especially if you don’t realize that it’s a joke. The script manages to balance the weight of the serious with outright silliness and warmth.
Though the narration is a key part of the method used to tell the story, it blends very well with the live action. When he was young: Edward Bloom had a crow fly into his room and give him the gift of sight. It spoke to him saying that his Aunt was going to die, to which is immediately took the news to his parents who viewed it as superstition and an over active imagination. The next day, just as the bird had spoke - the macabre warning came true. Sometime later the bird returned and warned him that his father was going to die. This time the family reacted a little differently. “I wish I hadn’t told my father that” he said “because he spent the entire day afraid that something was going to just fall on him.” By the time his father got home he was shaken up and a nervous wreck. “My dad wanted to share with my mother how bad his day had been but she was not moved.”
“‘You think you’ve had a bad day’” she said, “‘today the mailman dropped dead right in front of me!’ You see”, Edward continued, “it turns out that mom was messing around with the mailman and he was my real father.”
For making me laugh out loud and making me feel something for the father and son I give this one 400dpi (based on a 500 point scale).
The film also stars Albert Finney (the elder Edward Bloom), Jessica Lange (Sandy Bloom) Helena Bonham Carter (Jenny and The Witch) Danny DeVito, and Robert Guillaume to name a few. Big Fish opens in select US cities on Dec 25 and nation wide Jan 9, 2004. Rated PG-13