Any time Tim Burton has a new film, I look forward to it. I’m a big fan of his visual style, storytelling ability, and overall presentation. So, when I heard he was doing Big Fish, which had been attached at various points in time to Spielberg and Zemeckis, I thought “hmm, that’s interesting!”. It kinda looked like Forrest Gump meets “Tall Tales”.
While I liked the film overall, it didn’t feel like a film that Tim Burton directed. I attribute this to his lack of involvement in developing the project. Unlike many of his other films, this was already packaged up by the studio, and they just needed a director. The result: it feels like a Ron Howard movie. Oh sure, there are a few moments where Burton’s style breaks through, but there weren’t enough of them for me.
Story-wise, there wasn’t as much character development as I would have wanted. And there wasn’t much of a structure – it meandered for a bit; it’s one of those films where you have to just go with the flow, and see where it takes you. If you’re expecting a plot, there really isn’t much of one.
Elfman’s score, while servicable and enjoyable for the most part, didn’t really stick with me. The musical style goes all over the place. I heard “classic” Elfman stylings one minute, then John Williams (yes, him!) styled music another minute. I can’t tell how it will play on CD; I just know that there are more source songs in this film than in any other Burton film, and many of them (while just snippets in the film) show up on the soundtrack.
This movie was pretty decent overall. The ending got me a tad emotional, but I still didn’t feel any real connection to the characters. Weird how that worked. It’s a film that is really tailored to a specific audience, and I’m not sure how it will be received by the general public, but I guess we’ll just find out soon enough.
Update 12/18: I have the soundtrack now… it’s excellent on CD, and is making me rethink it’s use in the film…