Good fantasy movies are so rare nowadays. They’re either pretentious and slow-moving indie productions or crappy mainstream blunders. Big Fish is not just a great fantasy movie, it’s a triumph of creativity and pure joy of life. It’s not encumbered by norms and customs, freely blending comedy, drama, and action into one potent mix. We will be following Will Bloom, a young man determined to find out whether all the stories his dying father ever told him were true. And Mr. Ed Bloom did have some outrageous stories to tell.
So, as you can see, at the heart of this movie is again a father-son relationship. Coming to grips with the way life inevitably unfolds is also connected with memories of those precious childhood moments. What is fact and what is fiction? And does it really matter if something isn’t true if it can make the people around you happy without doing them any harm? Speaking of memories, I vividly remember the first time I watched this movie back in 2003. At that time, I was quite narrow-minded when it comes to genres.
And I’ll admit it, I found the entire fantasy genre along with dramas and romance movies to be quite boring. I wanted monsters, explosions, spaceships, and raunchy comedies. However, one person convinced me to check out Big Fish and I freaking loved it. It literally changed how I feel about movies and opened my eyes to a whole new world. A whole new world… Big Fish is a movie based on a 1998 novel of the same name written by Daniel Wallace. And it’s directed by none other than Tim Burton.
It features stunning visuals which combine practical effects and CGI in the best possible way. After all, the budget for the movie was a hefty $70 million. I seem to be skipping these short summaries in every other movie but I think you don’t need them. Me going over the main story is not the thing that’s going to convince you to watch this beautiful movie. This is why I tried to be as honest as I could be without coming off as pretentious. You can say the same thing about this movie. It explores complex subjects with the wisdom of the old man and the curiosity of a child. And the narrative is so different from all the other movies currently on offer that it’s positively refreshing.
It’s definitely style over substance but it still manages to offer a comprehensible and engaging main story. It feels like an adventure for adults who perhaps lost that childish spirit somewhere along the way to adulthood. I know I did. So, if you want to find that “joie de vivre” or just forget about the “real world” for two hours, do check out Big Fish. Finally, I must mention Ewan McGregor’s stellar performance. There are not a lot of actors who could play this type of role so perfectly. And the rest of the cast also did a terrific job.
In case you’re wondering, Matthew McGrory who plays Karl the Giant is the tallest man on Earth. Standing at 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m), he also holds the records for biggest feet and longest toe. Matthew sadly passed away in 2005, just two years after making this movie. He was 33 years old. So remember to dream while you can and don’t take anything tragically. It’s all a fucking game so you might as well enjoy it.
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Daniel Wallace, John August
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Buscemi
Fun Facts: Before Tim Burton took over, Steven Spielberg was the original director with Jack Nicholson in the lead role.