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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 26: Big Fish


Nov 26: Big Fish

"A son tries to learn more about his dying father by reliving stories and myths he told about his life."
Directed by: Tim Burton, Rated: PG-13, 125 minutes

Tim Burton and I have a love-hate relationship. His earlier work I adore but his more recent films are absolute travesties. He's an incredibly talented filmmaker that's spiraled into awful. However, before his downfall, Burton delivered to us, in my opinion, his masterpiece with Big Fish. The film is a collection of tall tales that have twisted visions of reality and fit Burton's style and perspective brilliantly. Featuring larger than life characters, creatures, and situations, it's Burton's swan song of brilliance, incorporating everything he had become known for with dashes of added emotion. It's also worth noting that Burton's long time collaborator, Danny Elfman, also delivers one of his greatest scores to accompany the film.

Elfman even earned an Oscar nomination for the score, which is well deserved. 

In a Burton film lacking completely of Johnny Depp (that's a plus), Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, and Albert Finney shine. Crudup plays Will Bloom, a man that's become disconnected with his father, Ed (Finney), because of the constant larger than life stories he tells about himself, some seemingly exaggerated well past believability. Will feels his father has been lying to him his entire life with these stories, and as Ed lies on his death bed, Will feels obligated to figure out what's fact and what's fiction. In the retelling of the stories, we flashback to Ed's younger days (where he's played by McGregor) and see how he got to where he is now, how he meets the love of his life, Sanda (played by Jessica Lange and Allison Lohman), and his encounters with rather unique individuals throughout Alabama and the south.

Including a giant played by the late Matthew McGrory. Rest in peace, big fella. 

Big Fish is a beautifully colorful film that creates a fantasy world rooted in reality. With energetic and extraordinary embellishes, we see Burton burrowing into his comfort zone of the rather unusual and bizarre. However, unlike most of his films, he's pulled back to the real world more than often, and the blend of both worlds gives the film a greater strength. It's relatable and magical, something that's hard to find in a movie of this particular persuasion, and tells a story that inspires your imagination. Along with the magical qualities, Big Fish's other strengths are the performances. All three men at the core of the film are exceptional, and McGregor proves again that he's more than a likable face and is indeed a leading man and suave, gentle hero. Crudup also delivers a terrific performance as the man looking to find truth about the man he's called his dad for so long. He reminds us that he is just as talented as the rest of the cast and that deserves to be in more than what his career as ended up with. And, of course, the star of the film is the legendary Albert Finney. He's the "grandpa" we all would love to have and the over-the-top stories that come out of his mouth are never questioned, but believed immediately because of who he is.

You don't question Daddy Warbucks. 

Driven by incredible visuals and powerful performances, Big Fish is a film you cannot miss. It's Burton's final masterpiece before he loses himself along the way and he puts everything he has into it. It's just enough of his style for familiarity purposes, but focuses much more on the relationship between a father and his son than anything else. It's heart-warming and tests any ideas you have about how fully you can live life and that holding any grudges or regrets will only weigh down upon you and ruin any relationships you have. Big Fish is a tale of coming to terms with what you at first believe to be impossible and helps you realize that even if the truth may seem stretched a bit at first, there really is magic all around us.

The Good:
a focus on genuinely good storytelling, with visual beauty only strengthening it
The Better:
great performances from the entire cast, with even the smallest of roles added something special to the movie
The Best:
Tim Burton showing that he can make a movie that's not as weird as his usual outings and is much more effective

Overall: 9.0/10

Discussion Question:
Do you have any relatives that tell tall tales that are a little too hard to believe?


Also, as a reminder, make sure to check out The Shoes They Wear Blogathon, focusing on biopics of all varieties, even including, yes, Big Fish.

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At November 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Squasher88 said...

I love Big Fish! Definitely a masterpiece from Burton.

At November 26, 2012 at 9:55 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Indeed it is!

At November 27, 2012 at 1:16 AM , Blogger KimWilson said...

I think this is a marvelous film. I thought I would hate it, but it was just so damn good on so many levels.

At November 27, 2012 at 3:46 AM , Blogger Nikhat said...

I love this film. Truly beautiful film, one that personally affected me in many ways. Let's hope Burton gets back to this form.

At November 27, 2012 at 4:13 AM , Blogger Shane said...

Glad you have the same love for this film that I do. I saw this in the theater and I couldn't stop telling people how good it is.

At November 27, 2012 at 6:53 AM , Blogger Nick said...

It really is!

At November 27, 2012 at 6:54 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I don't think that's possibly as long as he works with Disney lol

At November 27, 2012 at 6:54 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Man, I wish I saw it in theaters!

At November 27, 2012 at 10:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you feel about Corpse Bride?

At November 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Really don't like it lol. Here's the review-


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