Big Fish on DVD
At some point in their lives, everyone has had one of those friends who tells
stories that you know cant possibly have happened. But that doesnt
mean there isnt some ounce of truth to the whole thing.
Big Fish is about Edward Bloom (Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor), a very likeable
man and a teller of tall tales. He spent his young life in a series of fantastic
adventures, and his later life talking about them. In fact, he loves talking
about them so much, he seems to have forgotten all about his family.
When William was born, Edward was off catching a fish (the one that got away);
when William got married, Edward stood up and told his stories, of which William
is a mere footnote. William is very upset about the whole thing, causing he
and his father to stop talking to each other for three years.
But when William gets word of Edwards illness, he flies home and breaks
the vow of silence. He decides to try and make amends, and give his father a
chance to tell the real versions of his stories. But Edward would rather tell
his own versions to the people who havent yet heard them.
From the day he was born, Edward has seemed destined for bigger things. From
his successes in sports, to his confrontation with a 15-foot tall giant, to
his rescuing a small town from extreme deterioration. Edward is a caring, lovable
man, and its unfortunate that his own son is the only person unable to
see it. It takes the entire movie for the kid to pull the stick out of his butt
and recognize who his father is.
Big Fish is a Tim Burton movie all the way. It takes a good story, adds a great
visual style and an equally great cast, and creates a wonderfully charming movie
that leaves you feeling good.
Ewan McGregor is delightful as the young Edward Bloom, a likeable and determined
fellow with dreams of bigger things. Albert Finney seems a good choice to play
the elder Bloom as well, since he also does such a good job of being likeable.
Billy Crudup is appropriately bland, and Jessica Lange (getting on but still
beautiful) is perfect as Edwards wife. It also features amusing performances
by Steve Buscemi and Danny DeVito, both doing what they do best.
The film has elements of just about every genre there is, and it does a good
job of jerking your heartstrings. Im not ashamed to admit that I nearly
cried at the end, which is sad, happy, and perfectly appropriate (the ending,
not the fact that I nearly cried!).
Though it will draw comparisons to Forrest Gump, Big Fish is a great film that
can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone. Tim Burton brings his trademark style
to an already fine movie, and the end result is a Tim Burton movie worthy of
being a Tim Burton movie. Very highly recommended.
On a budget of about $60 million, the movie raked in about that much at the
The DVD presentation is pretty good, but could have been a lot better. The
video is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks pretty muddy for
a good portion of the film. Color looks ready to run during the older scenes,
and detail is less than spectacular. The newer scenes look better, but still
not great. Normally, I might say that the lesser quality flashbacks might work
well, but with such a visual movie, its not a good choice.
Audio, in Dolby Digital 5.1, is quite a bit better. Surrounds are used effectively
in certain scenes (such as the ones with the giant), and the dialogue and other
sound effects are separated very well. The Oscar-nominated score by Danny Elfman
is fairly quiet for the most part, which is unfortunate, because its a
Tim Burton provides an audio commentary for the film, and while he does have
a lot to say, hes not the most engaging speaker. There are also seven
featurettes totaling about 53 minutes, but only about half of them are worthwhile.
The first few are just extended advertisements, but the later ones actually
discuss the production design, visual effects, casting, and Tim Burtons
The Finer Points is a quiz about Tim Burtons movies, and
even if youre as big a Tim Burton fan as I am, its pretty hard.
Complete the quiz and you get a two-minute featurette thats completely
Big Fish, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
125 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange with Steve
Buscemi and Danny Devito
Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks
Screenplay by John August, Directed by Tim Burton
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