May 01, 2004

Big Fish

If you ever wanted to see a real live elephant take a dump while Ewan McGregor is delivering a line, this may be your only chance.

Big Fish looked like a good Friday night movie. Friday nights are best left to good comedies, or fantasies, because my wife works in an abominable office all week and we need something to relax her going into the weekend. Friday is not for intense emotional dramas, horror movies, or challenging arthouse obscurities.

Tim Burton obviously had fun making this film, but he probably had more fun making it than I had watching it. It tries, but doesn't get there. I found the film ultimately boring, and the ending anti-climactic rather than uplifting. There are some nice special effects, which Burton is known for, but the story is disorganized and the whimsy is forced.

In another post I warned against movies where the central character is a writer. Here Albert Finney's old man is a storyteller, in a family oral tradition, and his semi-estranged son has grown weary of the grandiose embellishments his Dad is known for. The younger man wants to know what really happened. (He's a writer, we're told, but it's not much of the story.)

From there we somehow get all back into the fantasies that Dad likes. As he related in his oral autobiography, he finds a hidden village, after convincing a 12 foot tall giant who is terrorizing his hometown to go with him to the city. I found intriguing the part during the war where he encounters a set of twins who have but one pair of legs between them, and I enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter's three different characters. But by and large it all runs together after a while.

Lucy liked it well enough so Big Fish served our end-of-the-week purposes, even if I did catch her dozing off a couple of times.

Posted by Wayne at May 1, 2004 02:11 AM
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