I decided I wasn't going to see this movie but I did anyway.
I headed out tonite in like zero degree weather all bundled up and done did it. I wasn't going to see this flick because it looked bad to me in the previews. It looked wacked pretentious and boringly silly. I don't really like Billy Crudyup or Eugene MacGregor so they were no selling point for me. But I do like Tim Burton. Planet of the Apes was a disaster but he's a hit or miss kind of guy. He's directed some great stuff and regardless of his movies being decent, good, or great- they always look good (except for Planet of the Apes which I thought looked like crud). So I figured at the very least Big Fish would look really nice. Maybe like one big painting with pretty colors and weirdness.
(There is a old style purple painted airplane sitting on a runway. The big steel door of the nearby hanger slides open and a pilot walks out of a hanger onto the tarmac. He's wearing goggles, a long white scarf and one of those leather hats with earflaps. The pilot smiles at you showing off a missing front tooth. He walks around to the front of the plane and spins the propeller. Instead of a roar of an motor- you hear music. Beautiful music as loud as the engine would be. The pilot gives you a big thumbs up then claps his hands over his head. The sound of his hands coming together is joined by a booming thunderclap and black clouds roll in. Lighting crackles and he scrambles up the wing and plops down in the cockpit. It starts raining. You can see that each raindrop is tinted rose color and the runway is alive, jumping with small rosey splashes. You can hear the engine music over the storm. The pilot gives another big thumbs up as the plane starts rolling down the runway...)
Big Fish dives head first into fantasyland off the bat. Big groovy tall tales wider than octopus arms can reach.. sorta. The movie turns on and off between present day and fantasyesque flashbacks. The fantasy stuff was fun and coolio at first. The reality was flat. Crudyup acted like a dick practically the whole time. None of the characters in the real world were interesting to me. But the flashbacks were fun to watch and for the first half hour I was digging this movie. It was good random and floated nicely. But unfortunately as the movie dragged on, real world stuff eclipsed and spilled over into the fantasy world and the movie started sinking.
(The purple plane picks up speed down the runway. The engine music tempo picks up as it goes. The wheels bounce along lifting off a bit straining to get off the ground then hitting down on the runway again making the music skip each time it hits. You hear the pilot yelling urging the plane to gather the strength to go. Go! Dark clouds in the sky descend lower and lower to the ground as if the sky is coming down instead of the plane going up. Lighting bolts continue to crash and now that the clouds are within 20 feet of the ground the lightning explosions are quick and blastingly loud. The plane reaches the end of the runway and slows. As does the music. You see it turn around and start to head back the other way to try and take off again going the opposite direction. The pilot gives you another thumbs up and smile. This time not quite as big as before.)
The movie lags for a middle hour solid and then begins to pick up some speed toward the end- but for me it was too little too late. I wasn't all that interested in the story anymore. It worked up to the point when he meets his wife. Past that, the movie gets lost and wanders around while its imagination sags and we're told about how the main character spent much of his life wandering around as a traveling salesman straying inexcusably far from the one 'true passion' in his life. His wife. Toward the end I questioned his tall tales less and his love and devotion for his family more. As a touching story I think we shoulda dipped into regret of his sacrificing time with his one love for the 'greater good'- but he gets the best of both worlds and stretches stories to fill the gaps. Either I missed the point or he missed the point. Either way in the end, I wasn't that interested in the point of the point.
Three Good Things About This Movie
- Some of the stories were solid fantasyland stuff and certain scenes looked
fantastic. I wanted more.
- Steve Buscemi shows up and his very presence and crazy eyes make everything better.
- I thought about the movie more after seeing it than while watching it... which I guess says something... not sure what.
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- The back and forth from past to present was awkward and the closer it got
to merging- it just got messy and yawny..
- A storytelling tale to tell stories does not a moral make... maybe.
- As much as there was interesting nice crazy I think Burton was holding reins on his dark juicy crazy- and there was plenty of room to run and slosh.
(Halfway down the runway the engine music scratches like a needle on a record and the nose of the plane dips forward crashing the spinning propeller into the runway. The propeller snaps off and flies into the woods chopping down a few trees along the way until sticking into the ground . The purple plane wheezes and the wings fall off. The clouds lift and you hear dead silence except for the rosey puddles draining into the ground. The pilot hops out of the cockpit and gives you a thumbs down and a shrug. You say, 'That's it?' And the pilot says, 'Yeah... sometimes they go. Sometimes they don't. But when you see em go...Em go like pazazzy banshee hell! You should see it! And the sky! And the...! Eh... oh well. maybe next time...' Slouchily he wanders back into the hanger and you see glimpses of other colorful planes inside before he slides the big steel door shut.)