Tim Burton is a director past his prime. I think we can all agree on that, right?
There was a point in time, I guess, where audiences were satisfied with "weird shit." "Weird shit" was a new thing, and nobody had ever seen a person with knives for hands before. Nobody ever saw a giant-ass worm before. Nobody ever saw...whatever the fuck is going in Nightmare Before Christmas before. And it was good. It was good, good stuff.
But then we get to the later years of Tim Burton. We get to the unnecessary-at-best reboots of Alice and Wonderland and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where the only thing we as an audience were treated to was a big mess of "weird shit". I can't tell you one thing that happened in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland remake that made me care about the movie. But it had Johnny Depp in it, and...I guess some costumes?
Big Fish though, is a collection of stuff without much of a coherent plot. The central idea, I guess, is a son attempting to understand his father's life through the truth, instead of the obviously make-believe stories he tells. Except that when the movie opens, they haven't spoken to each other in several years, so apparently he doesn't care too much. And despite the fact that the son basically flat-out asks him to just be honest with him for a change, the father doesn't budge and insists that his stories are 100% real, so apparently the father doesn't care much either.
It could be argued that the father/son thing is more a peripheral plot, and the true story lies in the imaginary stories about the father as a young man. As a young boy, he is blessed/cursed with knowing exactly how he'll die, which is not anytime soon, so, stay with me here, the movie is completely imaginary with a character who won't die. The stakes are so heavy I can barely stand.
Not only that, the young man himself doesn't have a goal. He decides he wants to leave his small town, and then after that...get married to a woman he just met, and then after that, save some small town for some reason through methods not totally understood. We establish that Allison "I ruined Drag Me to Hell" Lohman is the love of his life, but it's never explained why that is, so when another woman attempts to steal him away, we as an audience don't really care, and might actually be rooting for infidelity. We spent way more time with the other woman than with the random female he suddenly decides he's in love with. So, him setting out without any danger of harm or purpose is a boring subplot, saving the small town is glossed over and unexplained, so that's boring too. The other woman is more likeable and more familiar to us than his wife, so, at best, we don't care about the outcome of the affair...What is the point of this movie?
Oh, I know. Weird shit. Hey, look at how tall that guy is! Conjoined twins? That's still weird right? Let's look at this for two hours. Fart.
1) Well made? - Technically and artistically, it is a cool movie. Not groundbreaking, for sure, but still good.
2) Contributed? - A footnote in Tim Burton's life.
3) Good time? - I was offended by the fact that this could have been a good movie, had I cared about anything going on in it.
4) Watch again? - Never.
5) Worth it? - Not even. Stick with Burton's more famous films.
6) Who should watch this? - Fans of Allison Lohman.