Tim Burton films often rely heavily upon being visually stunning. The fantastical nature of Big Fish does afford Burton scope for indulgence in this sense but perhaps as a result the narrative is neglected a little and it’s rather like watching a lightweight version of Forrest Gump.
The storylines are never really developed beyond the superficial and there is no strong message or moral. Subsequently I felt the film had very little of genuine interest to say. All of which might not concern me if it wasn’t played out over 124 minutes and Burton wasn’t so keen for us to take this as a serious effort.
Ewan McGregor is perfectly competent as the central character but he’s an actor who’s never really caught my imagination. Sadly here he doesn’t do anything to change that opinion.
Albert Finney’s performance didn’t captivate me either. Indeed the film as a whole lacked the spark that might have turned it into the genuinely magical experience that it aspired to be.
Still Alison Lohman, Jessica Lange, Danny DeVito, Helena Bonham Carter and Steve Buscemi are always very watchable and do make up a tremendous supporting cast.
It also speaks volumes of Tim Burton’s power within Hollywood that he’s managed to assemble so many charismatic actors who ultimately make this film more charming than is immediately evident in John August’s rather meandering script.
Big Fish is perfectly watchable as a whimsical tale but it’s not my catch of the day.
3 stars out of 5
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