The most normal Tim Burton film if there ever was one.
William Bloom (Billy Crudup) tries to learn more about his dying father, Edward, by piecing together disparate facts from a lifetime of fantastical tales and legends of epic proportions. Ewan McGregor co-stars as the young Edward, a traveling salesman, with Albert Finney playing him as an older man.
Usually, Tim Burton is amazing when he’s on his game and gives us such treasures as Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, etc. But there are many countless other times where he is just lost and has nowhere to go but down with such trash like Planet of the Apes, Mars Attacks!, etc. This is one that falls in the category of him on his game a little bit.
This is a fairy tale mixed in with a lot of realism but still enough of that signature weirdness from Burton to make you remember that you are watching the same dude who did Batman. This film never seems to drag and that’s because Burton has such a vivid imagination that he can show such things as two Siamese Asian twins singing to Chinese Communists, a car underwater in a rain storm, a friendly giant, and plenty of other random and crazy things that happen but it all is done so well that you can’t help but smile.
At heart, this is actually a father-son drama that shows what happens when you tell too many fake stories, you actually end up becoming them. That right there I felt was a good message but how it all plays out in the end just didn’t do anything for me, much to my surprise. The ending is pretty obvious about 10 minutes in and to be brutally honest, it didn’t really have me choking up much in the end neither.
The casting in this film may be a bit flawed, but it still had it’s fair-share of good performances. Albert Finney is amazing as older Edward Bloom, but he’s playing him so much older and more sick than the character actually looks which kind of took me away from the film considering I liked the performance. Billy Crudup is OK here but could have done a lot more to add to the scenes with his daddy; Jessica Lange has some good scenes as Edward’s wife; Marion Cotillard is as amusing as ever as Crudup’s wife, Josephine; and Alison Lohman has some very good scenes as Edward’s wife, when she was younger.
I liked this cast even though they were a bit strange and to say the least I liked Ewan McGregor as Edward Bloom because even though his Scottish accent almost may seem to get a tad bit in the way of his deep Southern accent, I still really liked this performance from him. Edward Bloom is such a happy guy that loves telling stories because they make people happy. Everybody wants to hear the truth but everybody also wants to hear something that will make them happy and that is what Bloom is all about and Ewan totally throws himself into this great character’s mind. I don’t know if any of you have ever met somebody like Bloom, a person who just loves to tell stories and make the others around him laugh and smile, but I have and the power that the art of storytelling has is just a very beautiful thing and something that this film embraces so well.
Consensus: Though I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to this film as I would have liked to have hoped for, Big Fish is a good Tim Burton film that has some weirdness, a lot of happiness, and just a true message about the art of storytelling and how sometime hearing the fake story is better than hearing the truth at all.