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tim burton

You can usually spot a Tim Burton film by analyzing two easy to find aspects. One, is the film incredibly dark, and, two, is the film so twisted with its imagery that it looks as though the entire set creation team was on crack? With past films like Sleepy Hollow and A Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton has created wonderfully twisted worlds complete with their dark happenings and beautiful eye candy to boot. He even managed to bring the caped crusader to the big screen in glorious form before that franchise hit a stumbling block by the name of Joel Schumacher.

Tim Burton returns to the big screen with his latest twisted adventure by the name of Big Fish, and if it wasn’t for the resounding shadow being cast by Return of the King this holiday season, the film would be the year’s best, hands down.

Could this movie have succeeded without the unique style of Tim Burton? That’s unknown, but his vision and the entire casts acting bring together a convincing story that makes you wonder if the stories being told are real or not. Several of the tall tales you may have heard before (such as the one about the milkman dying on your step), but they are still pleasant enough to be realized as part of this distinctive film.

Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom (Albert Finney/Ewan McGregor), a father with so many stories to tell it begins to drive his son, William (Billy Crudup), away when he finally is old enough to realize his father is nothing more than a crafty liar. When Edward is diagnosed with cancer, William returns home to finally get the true story of the many events his father relayed to him over the years. Without ruining too much of the story, the film is told in the present looking back on the events of the past as Edward leaves his small town for the big city and details some of his glorious adventures along the way. In true Burton fashion, everything in the film is visually stunning which only adds to the fact the story is extremely well written and the acting is beautifully performed.

Big Fish is more than your average “son-returns-home-to-dying-father-for-redemption” type film that we have seen done over and over again. The movie is something more because of the way the stories are told. The film holds a comedic tone throughout, but still manages to portray the hardship that the Bloom family is going through with Edward dying. At times the movie feels like a clip from Monty Python and at others more like a serious drama.

Through the stories told by Edward we learn about his first encounter with the witch of the swamp, the meeting of giant, his employment at a circus, for Danny DeVito nonetheless, and how he met his blushing bride. The beauty of these stories is they don’t last too long, and aren’t complicated in any way, or shown in a Tarantino-out-of-order-style, which makes the movie easy to follow.

Big Fish is an exceptional film with the visual prowess of Tim Burton leading the way among the contenders for best picture of the year. The story never becomes overly hard to follow, and the film has the least amount of “check your watch” moments that I have seen over the last few months. Not since Return of the King last week and 28 Days Later in June have I enjoyed a movie so much that I’m at a loss as to what to say. For those who love the work of Tim Burton, you won’t find any overtly dark imagery in this film, but you will find an amazing story, careful direction, and great acting. Don’t miss this one.