Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When Will Bloom was a boy, his father’s tall tales about his life were exciting and fun. But as Will got older, the stories seemed to lose a bit of their magic. Will seemed to outgrow the tall tales in favor of truth and reality. Now that he has discovered that his father is terminally ill, nothing seems more important to Will. He wants to know who the real Edward Bloom is behind all of the stories. He wants a chance to get to know what sort of man Edward Bloom really is before it’s too late.
Big Fish, based on the novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace, is a heart-warming tale about love and trust and seeing the big picture. Edward Bloom is brilliantly portrayed by two actors. Ewan McGregor’s natural quirkiness and innocent-boy good looks are perfectly suited for the role of young Edward Bloom, while Albert Finney’s charm and playfulness are incorporated masterfully in the older Edward Bloom. Billy Cruddup is the straight man to McGregor’s comedic character as Will Bloom, the truth-seeking son. The cast is an incredible mix of talented established actors, such as Robert Guillaume and Jessica Lange, and new faces, such as Alison Lohman and Mathew McGrory.
The writers, actors and directors should all be commended for a job well-done in making the character of Edward Bloom come to life. The marvelous exploits and fantastic adventures are hilarious and fully enjoyable. There is a hint of sadness underlying all the humorous exploits as we come to realize that there is no hope for a cure for the beloved Edward. But that does nothing to dampen the fun of this movie. And, if the viewer pays close attention, he / she might walk away having learned a lesson or two.
The DVD version of this film contains many extras, including featurettes about the larger than life world of Edward Bloom, a walk-through of the Calloway Circus by Danny DeVito, thoughts by cast and crew about the father / son dynamic, the magical creations of Stan Winston Studios, and more. There’s even a Tim Burton trivia quiz and running commentary feature. The only thing missing from the DVD are outtakes, which could only have proven to be a hilarious addition to an already highly enjoyable tale. Big Fish is a must see for fans of tall tales, big adventures, and tales of the heart.