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PCR # 198  (Vol. 5, No. 2)  This edition is for the week of January 5--11, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Big Fish"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part Four
 by Will Moriaty
"Big Fish"
by Mike Smith
Introducing Oddservations .... The Year That Was: 2003
 by Andy Lalino
Farewell to Twenty-oh-three and "Hello" MMIV
 by Brandon Jones
Bill....Where Was Geddy?....Producing....Dr. Ono?....Awards And Stuff....Say It Ain't So, Pete
 by Mike Smith
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Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helen Bonham Carter and Danny DeVito
Directed by: Tim Burton
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Ah, Tim Burton. You've worked with Pee Wee Herman, helped bring back the comic book movie, dealt with the headless horseman and survived "Mars Attacks." Who knew that underneath that odd, always dressed-in-black exterior lay a heart full of wonder?

The film revolves around Edward Bloom (played as a young man by McGregor and by Finney in his later years). For years, Bloom has kept his son entertained by telling him the various exciting adventures of his life. And, like the big fish that got away, the tales always seem to be just a little bit on the fantastic side. Giants, witches, circus life...........the more fantastic the story the more energy Bloom puts in the telling. Bloom is now approaching the end of his life. As a child, he tells us, he foresaw exactly when and how he would die, and this knowledge has helped him in his adventures. No need to fear the giant that just moved into town when you know that your death wasn't caused by a giant. Confronted by his now adult son (Crudup) about his tales, Bloom takes him, and the audience, on a journey just as great as when Dorothy went over the rainbow 65 years ago.

While containing many of the fantastic visual images associated with Burton, it is the performances that carry this film to the top of the list. As Bloom, young and old, both McGregor and Finney excel. They inhabit the character and the enthusiasm they bring to the character jumps off of the screen. Lange is radiant as the wife who has always stood by Edward. The love she has for him is more than evident and she has never doubted any of his stories. Crudup is solid as the son with questions and Bonham Carter, as a variety of characters, has fun with all of them. In fact, not since Gene Wilder in "Willy Wonka," has an actor seemed to relish the fantasy they are helping to relate. Ironically, Burton's next film will be a new version of the Willy Wonka story, starring Johnny Depp.

Like the above mentioned "Wizard of Oz" and "Willy Wonka," "Big Fish" ranks with the best family films of all time. On a scale of zero to four stars, "Big Fish" earns  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Big Fish" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.