Released in 2003, Big Fish was somewhat of a departure for Tim Burton. A movie that didn’t star Johnny Depp and took a huge leap from his usual quirky films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, and Ed Wood just to name a few. Big Fish stars Ewan McGregor (young Ed Bloom), Albert Finney (elder Ed Bloom), Billy Crudup (Will Bloom), Jessica Lange (elder Sandra Bloom), Alison Lohman (young Sandra Bloom), Helena Bonham Carter (Jenny & the witch), Robert Guilluame (elder Dr. Bennett), Marion Cotillard (Josephine Bloom), Matthew McGrory (Karl the Giant), Missi Pyle (Mildred), Loudon Wainwright III (Beaman), Ada Tai (Ping), Arlene Tai (Jing) and last but not least the great character actor Steve Buscemi (Norther Winslow). This film was adapted from the Daniel Wallace novel by John August.
Will Bloom has heard his father’s stories all his life. Huge outrageous tall tales that, while he was young seemed great and wonderful, became irritating as Will got older. So, Will marries and moves overseas to France with his wife (she’s French) where they live and work. One day, Will gets a phone call from his mom that his father is dying. He travels home to reconcile with his father and finally get to the bottom of those tall tales.
The theme of this film is the estrangement of the father and the son; which seems to mirror the relationship Burton has with his own father. He reflects in an article that he had the desire to leave the house at a very early age. This is also similar to the character of Will Bloom. Burton frequently depicts strained father/son relationships (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Edward Scissorhands). Burton’s penchant for misunderstood characters comes through in this film with the blending of fact and fiction in Ed Bloom’s tales, the “Siamese” twins Ping and Jing and Karl the Giant come to mind. We, however, learn the truth behind these colorful characters in the end. But, Ed Bloom himself is one of those misunderstood characters. Ed is seen through the various stages of his life through his stories. Burton also uses his usual musical collaboration with Danny Elfman for the soundtrack. Helena Bonham Carter plays not one character but three in this film, another one of Burton’s usual suspects as well as a very talented actress.
Burton uses flashback well when Ed Bloom is telling the story of his life. He also uses camera angle to the film’s advantage. One instance is the first time we hear about Karl the Giant. The shot from inside the barn wall looking out piques the interest to want to know what made the hole, then the cut to the front as they stand in dismay over a large human shaped hole is the answer. It made the audience say “What the …?” Then “Oh my.”
This film fits into Burton’s personal life very well, strained relationship with his father and the desire to leave the house. This is probably the closest storyline to his life that the world will ever see. He may pick films with this theme on purpose but it is highly unlikely since he claims to be a very private person. It has been debated that this film may have begun some sort of commercialization of Tim Burton. He went on to Disney films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Frankenweenie, and the mixed reviews cult film Dark Shadows. But yet, he still has a knack for the odd characters like Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
So, who has read this little gem? If you're an English Lit major you probably would have. If you're a Victorian Era specialist you probably would have. If you haven't read it ... you should but SPOILER ALERT!
We're going over this poem in class. I don't know what it is about this poem but I like it, despite one professor's reading that it seems highly sexualized. For example lines 125 - 140 "'Buy from us with a golden curl.'/She clipped a precious golden lock/she dropped a tear more rare than pearl/ then sucked their fruit globes fair or red/ sweeter than honey from the rock/Stronger than man-rejoicing with wine/clearer than water flowed that juice/she never tasted such before/how should it cloy with length of use/She sucked and sucked and sucked more/Fruits which that unknown orchard bore/She sucked until her lips were sore/then flung the emptied rinds away.But gathered up one kernel-stone/and knew not was it night or day/as she turned home alone."
Line 134-136 is apparently as close to being erotic as Victorians got. But it makes sense! Okay not really just those lines. If you take it apart stanza by stanza... the first stanza completely sets up the scene for temptation, sin, lust and a moral at the end. The way Rossetti describes the fruit the goblins are hauling to market is enough to make a young girl desire them. (Temptation/lust) The way Laura eats the fruit is really sexual (I suppose) but it's her reaction to how they taste... she lusts after the goblin fruit and can't rest until she has more, despite what her sister, Lizzie, said to her. The sin is taking the fruit after Lizzie warns her not to! There it is. That's the only sexualized part in the poem.
But couldn't this poem be about something else? It was suggested Tuesday in class that it could be a study in addiction. Yes! Laura became addicted to the fruit and in drug addition it can lead to death. But it isn't what you think! There was a price for her lust. Her golden locks suffered as well as her health. Her sister, as sisters should, took pity on her for her condition. She goes to the goblins to bring fruit back to Laura. But (you could describe this scene as a kind of attempted rape) the goblins wanted her to eat with them and she refused. Yay! She stood her ground and took some remnant of fruit back to Laura.
Oops, I lied. There is one other part that could be considered a bit sexual. Lines 465 -510 "Did you miss me/Come and Kiss me/Never mind my bruises/Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices/Squeezed from goblin fruits for you/Goblin pulp and goblin dew/Eat me, drink me, love me/Laura, make much of me...Flung her arms up in the air/Clutched her hair/"Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted/For my sake the fruit forbidden...She clung about her sister/Kissed and kissed and kissed her...She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth." I could go on but I won't.
Another taboo thing in Victorian London. Did it happen? Probably. Was this something that Rosseti was familiar with? She had a strange relationship, from what I understand, with her own siblings.
So what do you think? Is this a Victorian Era erotic poem or is it more of a tale with a moral?
The Bearcat Archery team is raising money to go to Louisville, KY to the national archery shoot in May. Here's their GoFundMe page. Please take time to visit it. Tweet it, share it, help these kids get to Louisville. They have worked hard to get that slot and we sure are proud of our kids!
I was lucky enough to go see The Lego Movie this past Sunday with the youth group from my church. Why did I say lucky enough? Because we were supposed to be at a double header soccer game in the northwest part of the state. Thanks to Mother Nature we were "weathered out."
I went with a mission. The mission? To scope out the credits for a name I personally know. But once the movie started the mission went to the back of my mind. (Yes, I saw the name at the end.)
It was cute. Not what I expected at all because it blended live action with animation so, I was confused when the name which-shall-not-be-dropped said she worked with the humans. The storyline pushed the agenda of following instructions, perfection, and everything had to go as planned. The hero, Emmet, was a follower that didn't have an original thought of his own. He, like a lot of residents of Brickville, had an instruction book and they were told what was pop music. Enter our heroine Wildstyle. She brings free thought with her and the knowledge of being a Master Builder. Master Builders are all original thinkers and are slowly being captured and held by Lord Business (that's kind of a funny stab at adults that have lost what it means to be a kid and play because that's all they think about is business and getting ahead, but that's my opinion).
The action was well executed and is good entertainment for kids of all ages!
Sorry it's such a short review! Kathy Lee & Hoda are on so it's time for me to get out the door for class!
College graduate, Army vet, single mom, Husky mom, Movie lover, writer