Big Fish (2003)
A Fishy Tale
William Bloom (Billy Crudup) has spent his entire life having to listen to his father, Edward's (Ewan McGregor/Albert Finney), tall tales and now as a grown up he has had enough because he feels his father has not told him one truth his entire life. But having become estranged from his father, each too stubborn to make the first movie, William now has to contend with the fact that his father is dying and in truth he doesn't even know him. So heading home he tries to get to grips with who his dad really is and the point of all his tall tales.
For some the trouble with "Big Fish" is that they have pigeon-holed director Tim Burton in to a gothic shaped hole and his attempt to do something different doesn't make them happy, in fact some of the comments I have read are amusingly rude as to Burton's decision to do something which dare I say is sentimental. Yet maybe Burton wasn't the master of gothic, maybe Burton was just the master of unusual and if that is the case then "Big Fish" is very much a Burton movie and ticks many of the boxes including cameos from faces you might not have seen for a while such as Robert Guillaume as Dr. Bennett.
"Big Fish" is also typical Burton when you come to the cast and performances and every single one is not only good but quirky. In a way the quirky saves the movie because listening to Ewan McGregor toss out a southern accent is for me not very pleasant but okay when you have such an unusual movie. In fact on the whole "Big Fish" has some of the most enjoyable performances I have seen in a Tim Burton movie.
But then there is the story and how should I put this, "Big Fish" is adapted from a Daniel Wallace novel but it has the comical creativity of Roald Dahl, just a bit darker a bit quirkier than a Dahl movie. That is all fine and dandy if you love that sort of thing but I am not a big fan and as such whilst I didn't dislike "Big Fish" it didn't grab me like it would others who enjoy quirky dark tales but with a happy side.
What this all boils down to is that "Big Fish" is an okay movie, in many ways typical Tim Burton with its blend of comedy and quirks. But unlike his other gothic movies this is a much lighter movie which won't be to everyone's tastes.
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