Burton baits his hook and waits for a strike
A quiet film with a pat but satisfying ending, “Big Fish” is a heart-warmer suitable for most of the family.
Will Bloom has spent his entire life listening to his dad Edward’s tall tales. Edward is blessed with the talent for oral storytelling, but his son, now a married adult expecting his own child, feels that he’s never known Edward except through his tales, which he sees as a veil of lies obscuring his father’s real life.
Edward is dying of cancer, and time is pressuring Will to learn as much about his father as he can before the end.
What follows is a journey into the perception of reality itself. Will visits with his dying father and once again hears the stories of his youth, with perhaps a wiser perspective.
As the film spins out one unlikely yarn after another through a series of flashbacks that have us visit a circus, a giant, a witch, and a very large fish with a taste for gold, we gradually learn that Edward’s life, though related in story to Will through tall tales, is not that far from the reality at all.
Although the ending is somewhat predictable and the characters occasionally over-the-top. Burton handles the film with a deft hand, letting his audience\’s credulity work it
s magic instead of fancy photographic and CGI effects.
The cinematography is superb and the music by Danny Elfman is, as always, perfect for the setting.
The home DVD is light on extras. It features voice-overs in English and French, English and French subtitles, trailers, featurettes on the making of the film, and a commentary by the film’s director. It is formatted for the television screen, but a widescreen option would have made a nice addition.
“Big Fish,” released to theatres in 2003, stars Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, and Helena Bonham Carter. It is rated PG-13 for a fight scene, some brief nudity, and a suggestive reference, and runs 125 minutes.