Because I am alive, I am bringing you one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, Tim Burton's Big Fish. Big Fish is the story of a man who tries to discover who his father really is, after a life of hearing tall tales, as his father is slowly dying of cancer. This film is both a beautifully told story, as well as amazing piece to look at. Its the last classic Tim Burton film, not that Sweeney Todd isn't an amazing film. In many ways its a piritual successor to his earlier and more personal films that use bizarre visuals to enhance the story, but all the while the story is about some misunderstood or eccentric character. In many of Tim Burton's early films, the main character was an allegorical reference to Tim Burton himself. The odd man out, dark, confused, and an enigma to his peers. Sweeney Todd utilizes this formula, but its nowhere near the personal level of Big Fish. It is also a throwback to a time when Tim Burton was the go-to artist filmmaker with cooky ideas and oddball characters, instead of being a corporate pawn of uninspired and, for the most part, flat films (Alice in Wonderland, Planet Of The Apes, Dark Shadows).
The film is both the tale of a great man, and a discovery of who that man really is. Albery Finney plays Edward Bloom, as man who appears to be as great as the stories that he tells and Billy Crudup plays his estranged son, William Bloom, who has grown bitter towards his father for always being the center of attention and never opening up about who he really is. The story follows William as he tries to discover who his father really is, and as he finds a clue or hears a story, a flashback is shown to telling the story of Edward Bloom as a young man (played by Ewan McGregor). How and where he was born, where he grew up, how he met his wife, and all the little adventures he got into along the way, as well as all the people he met on his journeys. As the film approaches its end, as does Edward, William begins to realize that the stories are incidental, but the man telling the stories are what matter. William realizes that his father was indeed a great man, and he does indeed love him. The film is overall a story about stories. Truth or tale, stories gain their power from the teller, and they are, in fact, what the listener makes of them. Its a wonderful tale of humanity and the bond of a father and son, that is ultimately elevated by strong performances, dazzling visuals (which are vintage Tim Burton) and a hauntingly beautiful score by Danny Elfman. It is one of the truly classic and personal Tim Burton films along with Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. If you haven't seen it, go watch it right now, and if you have seen it, watch it again, but with someone who hasn't seen it.