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Worth A Look: 38.79%
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Sucks: 1.82%

11 reviews, 99 user ratings

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Big Fish
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by Elaine Perrone

"By all means, catch this Fish!"
4 stars

With Big Fish, Tim Burton ventures into almost mainstream-movie territory, and does so beautifully. Of course, Tim Burton's version of mainstream still includes an abundance of quirky characters such as Karl (Matthew McGrory), a 7+ foot-tall giant; Norther Winslow (Steve Buscemi), a blocked poet who breaks out of his slump in quite an astonishing way; Amos (Danny DeVito), a lycanthropic circus ringmaster; and Ping and Jing (Ada and Arlene Tai), Siamese twin performers who entertain the military troops at WWII USO shows. Too, all these Burtonesque characters populate a landscape featuring his trademark eye-popping jelly bean colors, stunningly photographed by Philippe Rousselot.

The real stars of Big Fish are Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor as Edward Bloom, traveler and raconteur, beloved by all whose tales he collects and freely shares. Playing the women in Edward's life are Jessica Lange as his wife Sandy; Alison Lohman, who bears an astonishing resemblance to Lange, as her younger self; and Helena Bonham-Carter as Jenny, his great friend and unrequited love.

With the exception of one, all the performances are lovely, with the standouts being Finney, as the older, bedridden but still garrulous version of the larger-than-life storyteller, and Lange, as his wife who is as much the girl of his dreams after 30 years of marriage as she was on the day their eyes first met. The chemistry between these fine veteran actors is palpable, all the more impressive in that this is the first time the two have performed onscreen together.

The only weak link is Billy Crudup, whose performance as Edward's estranged son Will seems curiously flat for a character in the emotionally wrenching situation of trying to effect a reconciliation with his dying father.

My only other quibble is with an intrusive use of voice-over narration, which never lets the viewer forget that this is an adaptation of Daniel Wallace's book, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions.

To my mind, "Edward's Excellent Adventures" are in and of themselves wonders to behold, manifesting themselves in scenes such as time stopping in a circus tent, with kernels of popcorn suspended in a dazzling moment of love at first sight; the young Edward wooing Sandy from a glorious field of yellow daffodils, his dopy grin remaining wide even after he’s floored, literally, by her current boyfriend; and Danny DeVito...well, you just have to see him. The last thing we need is someone expositing what we can plainly, joyfully, see and hear for ourselves.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8377&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/21/04 18:52:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/16/12 obnox brilliant, awesome, remarkable...yesssssss 5 stars
1/15/12 hurdygurdy man Not sure who's this for...maybe w/some good Acid?? 3 stars
3/05/10 cutie_b's this movie made me realize that clowns should ALWAYS carry guns. 5 stars
12/01/09 Troy The best movie I've seen in 10 years. Just awesome 5 stars
7/27/09 iloveEM i loved this movie ewan mcgregor did an amazing job with a great accent 5 stars
8/02/08 Shaun Wallner Such a Happy Story! 5 stars
7/27/08 The Dork Knight I don't get it. 3 stars
5/07/08 chamorro awesome 5 stars
2/17/08 SamanthaP it was really sweet and imaginative and sad at the end (good sad) 5 stars
6/16/07 Bopo A phenomenonally creative feel good movie. Easily one of my favorites. 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega A great story with a moral agenda. 3 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini very funny 3 stars
7/24/06 R.W.Welch Not flawless, but highly imaginative, funny and touching, too. Close enough. 5 stars
12/30/05 tony BORING 1 stars
8/27/05 Quigley ewan ruled int his, as he always does. its surreal atmosphere is great and enjoyable. 5 stars
8/05/05 Zack GREAT! 5 stars
7/15/05 Charlie Alison Lohman is great in this flick, just like in Matchstick Men. 5 stars
4/30/05 Alyson A magical and enchanting movie. Favorite actor and director. 5 stars
3/12/05 Alice Colwell allright 4 stars
3/01/05 Pinthestripeonthegoat Tales of a catfish hunter 5 stars
12/24/04 Red Sox Still Suck Great movie. Tim Burton rarely disappoints. See it by all means 5 stars
12/14/04 Tom Benton Beautiful, moving, clever and often funny drama, Burton's "Forrest Gump"; McGregor is great 5 stars
11/30/04 lolalaloca13 1 of top 5 fave films 5 stars
11/26/04 Matt Carson looking forward to seeing it again 5 stars
11/22/04 luis i like it but the 2 chinnesse girls they werent join? 5 stars
9/23/04 denny the parts were better than the whole 4 stars
9/12/04 Edgar Well, it manipulated my feelings, but in a clever well done way... 5 stars
9/07/04 JeffK Very enjoyable 5 stars
8/25/04 Anthony G good times 4 stars
8/20/04 DM Tied with Ed Wood as Tim Burton's best movie 5 stars
7/28/04 tristan tim burtons best since edward scissorhands 5 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans Nothing spectacular. I expected more out of it 4 stars
7/20/04 AngeFaitore Forrest Gump Acid Trip! 3 stars
7/08/04 Ruth Ann Farver Overblown, Mundane, Cutesy, Junk 1 stars
7/06/04 Taylor Fladgate Unforgetable 5 stars
7/03/04 Ionicera good all around but too sentimental near the end 4 stars
6/14/04 Gerry Ditrich Bloody Brilliant!! best film by Tim Burton so far 5 stars
6/11/04 Larry We live on by the way we are remembered. Seems simple, yet this is done so beautifully! 5 stars
6/07/04 palaboy101 unforgettable and excellent! 5 stars
5/26/04 Russell Watson Wonderful Movie 5 stars
5/24/04 DMF Incredibly affecting. If you have (or had) a parent, see it. 5 stars
5/21/04 Gretchen Ross this was a beautiful film in terms of story and acting; very creative as well 5 stars
5/19/04 Matthew Tim Burton's best effort since "Ed Wood"! 5 stars
5/10/04 Efrain Vivas a masterpiece 5 stars
5/06/04 Mermaid's Pedicurist Overblown tribute to the fetish that flaky and offbeat is automatically good. 2 stars
5/06/04 Maryclaire Becan LOVE THIS MOVIE 5 stars
5/02/04 blue absolutely magical 5 stars
4/16/04 A Reader Strikes right notes of fantasy, whimsy, sentimentality; the town of Spectre will haunt you. 5 stars
3/26/04 S-P Sweet Movie..similair to FG, but not as interesting. 3 stars
3/23/04 Chloe Brody THis was so sweet - how gorgeous was Edward??? 4 stars
3/19/04 kari dennis great movie 5 stars
3/16/04 Holly Beeman ...The most beautiful story ever told. :~) 5 stars
3/01/04 Wendranh strange plot...different 3 stars
2/28/04 alien assasin "Forrest Gump" with a quirky twist 4 stars
2/26/04 Troy Butler Not Burton's best, but highly entertaining nonetheless!!! 4 stars
2/25/04 susan lee liked use of VO... diff burton style ..ewan rocks! 4 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Whimsical, magical and loaded with innuendo, this is Burton at his best. Rich and tasty. 5 stars
2/23/04 FrayLo I wasn't sure about this movie at the beginning, but the ending sealed it for me. 4 stars
2/21/04 Phyllis Joy Very good movie. Stunning visuals and an interesting storyline. "Almost Awesome." 4 stars
2/17/04 Joe So good 5 stars
2/16/04 Chris I thought this was a nice good movie but the ending made it terrfic. I loved it alot. 5 stars
2/09/04 Caiphn Great film. 5 stars
2/08/04 Whatevr The only sucking this movie does is sucking you in. 5 stars
2/07/04 Smitty Great performance by Finney. A visually stunning film reminiscent of Fellini in his prime. 4 stars
2/07/04 ThriceRise beautiful movie. 5 stars
2/07/04 john bale A modern fairytale that proves to be poetic Cinema of the Wizard of Oz quality 5 stars
2/06/04 Brendan What a story and what a telling. I'll see it again. 5 stars
2/02/04 Matt One of Tim Burton's best! 5 stars
2/02/04 Monday Morning Disappointingly manipulative. 2 stars
2/02/04 Heath Entertaining and imaginitive! 5 stars
1/31/04 STUFU McGrego and Finney are great, but Crudup gives a boring performance. Great overall. 5 stars
1/30/04 Chopper3 Very nicely crafted indeed 5 stars
1/26/04 Helen Bradley McGregor great; confusing plot too long 2 stars
1/25/04 Lord Chu Very, very nice 5 stars
1/24/04 chris. excellent film...better than the other crap they want us to see 5 stars
1/19/04 disaffected daughter too forgiving of remorseless bad parenting 4 stars
1/18/04 yeahboy Forrest Gump meets Baron Munchausen!! 4 stars
1/18/04 Nicole Very entertaining 5 stars
1/18/04 Bemused Often Brilliant; although I would love to see Burton transcend his own style for a change 5 stars
1/17/04 steve andrews 2003's Best! 5 stars
1/17/04 Ayatolla of Rockinrolla The best movie of 2003. Similar yet better than Forrest Gump 5 stars
1/17/04 jcjs fantastic 5 stars
1/16/04 Agent Sands Too unbelievably entertaining for words! Fantastic! 5 stars
1/14/04 Todd Bertuzzi What a beautiful movie....expected great...got great. Wow...very, VERY good. 5 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Pleasant, charming Burton flick; Lange & Finney are wonderful. 4 stars
1/13/04 Jon Lyrik One of the best films of 2003, and Burton's best since Ed Wood. 5 stars
1/13/04 AH I've only cried that hard one other time at a theatre, but I was so happy at the same time 5 stars
1/13/04 syrius speechless 5 stars
1/12/04 Gray the most beautiful death scene ever filmed 5 stars
1/12/04 KingNeutron Burton's best film, IMHO. Helena Bonham Carter's char stole the show for me. 5 stars
1/11/04 HorrorScribbler That Tim Burton, he make-a me cry! 5 stars
1/10/04 T. Hall Has there been better casting this year? 5 stars
1/09/04 jcjs wow, under the infulence, captivating, transforming, telling, delightful, clever etc. 5 stars
1/06/04 JT Finale made my GF cry! 5 stars
1/02/04 chris 1 movie has ever made me cry. this is the second. one of my top 5 favorites 5 stars
12/28/03 Eric S. Good movie, nice ending, unique 4 stars
12/16/03 - Fantastic superb. 5 stars
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  10-Dec-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005



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