3.33- BIG FISH DVD review

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by David Blackwell

BIG FISH is a fantastic movie. You know you are usually in for a journey whenever you watch any movie directed by Tim Burton (who has directed movies such as Batman, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow). Tim Burton has a unique style that carries on in each movie he directs.

William (Billy Crudup) comes home to see his ailing father, Edward Bloom (Albert Finney). William wants to know the real story of his father's life and not just the tall tales that have been told to him by his father.

Edward recounts his life in exaggerated stories (aka tall tales). A young Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) is a hero in his hometown to go on adventures with a giant only to take a different path that has Edward wind up in the hidden town of Spectre (a place where you don't want to leave). Edward does leave Spectre to join up with giant again. Edward and the giant visit a circus that Edward joins to find out who the girl he saw for a brief moment in time. Edward knows this girl is the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Edward catches up with her three years later and declares his love for her. that is only the beginning of Edward's tall tales from his time in the Army, married life, and his journeys as a traveling salesman.

The tall tales in BIG FISH are just amazing. Tim Burton paints a fantastic landscape with this very human movie.

The acting is top notch as Tim Burton manages to bring together this gem that is moving and amazing.

The movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie is a good transfer that was mastered in high definition. The colors are nicely saturated, the flesh tones are right, and the blacks are good. No artifacts were present.

You have a choice of 5.1 English Dolby Digital and French Dolby Surround with subtitle options of English and French.


COMMENTARY- Tim Burton gets asked questions by someone I can understand what his name is. Tim was suffering from a cold while doing this commentary. Tim relates many production stories among other things. He doesn't get very technical about how some things were done, but he does stress how he doesn't like CG. He mentions that Steven Speilberg was once interested in making BIG FISH and Steven would have wanted Jack Nicholson to play the old version of Edward Bloom.

There are seven featurettes divided into THE CHARACTER'S JOURNEY and THE FILMMAKER'S path. There are behind-the-scenes footage in each featurette.

THE CHARACTER'S JOURNEY- There are three featurettes examining the characters.

Edward Bloom At Large- This featurette looks at the character of Edward Bloom. You have interviews from Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and Tim Burton. There is behind-the-scenes footage of Ewan chasing a pig around the Circus for one of the scenes shot for the movie (but I think I heard the scene was cut from the movie when I was listening to the commentary). Ewan comments on how it seemed to be like a different movie every day and he is happy about how jazzed he was after filming scenes for all the accomplishments of Edward Bloom did in his hometown.

Amos At The Circus- We hear from Danny DeVito on his character who runs a circus.

Fathers and Sons- This one looks at the father and son relationship in the movie with various people speaking including Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Tim Burton, Steve Buscemi, Albert Finney, producer Richard D. Zanuck, and producer Dan Jinks.

THE FILMMAKER'S PATH- Four featurettes.

Tim Burton: Storyteller- Tim Burton talks about how he got drawn to making the BIG FISH movie while providing some insight on how the movie was made.

A Fairytale World- The importance of myths, tall tales and fairy tales, and how they were important to BIG FISH.

Creature Features- This featurette takes a look into the effects work done by Stan Winston Studios from make-up effects to a fake wolf used to attack Ewan McGregor.

The Author's Journey- This one chronicles the story of Big Fish the novel that was turned into Big Fish the movie. There are interviews by author Daniel Wallace and screenwriter John August. The author comments on how his publisher says it is a great novel that will never be turned into a movie.

THE FINER POINTS- A TIM BURTON TRIVIA QUIZ- Once you finish the quiz, the reward is a 2 minute featurette on how they did "The Time Stands Still" sequence in the movie.

FISH TALES- It is an interactive feature that you can play with the movie. One of two icons will pop up on the screen at a certain time during the movie. You push enter to access one of the featurettes from A Character's Journey or A Filmmaker's Path. This is just a pointless feature like the "Spot The White Rabbit" feature on The Matrix DVD.



MENUS: There is some animation involved in some of the menus while some menus are just static frames. You hear music on the main menu and the main menu for the special features. There is some transition animation if you go to Special Features or Scene Selection.

DVD CASE SLEEVE DESIGN- The sleeve is in a transparent DVD keepcase. When you open the case, you see stills from the movie framed by some interesting design art on the back of the DVD sleeve you don't see from the outside (usually the back of the sleeve is blank if you ever bother to pull out sleeve art from a black keepcase).

FINAL VERDICT- BIG FISH is at least worth a rental. It is fascinating movie that the whole family can enjoy (despite the PG-13 rating and it gets even odder when it is rated PG in Canada). If you are a fan of Tim Burton or just plain loved this movie, this is a DVD you should own if you're going to watch the movie more than once.

this review is (c)4-23-2004 David Blackwell and this review can't be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and check for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia