Wacky director Tim Burton made quite a splash with comedy drama Big Fish, arguably "the finest film of his career". Critics adored it, and so too did millions of moviegoers, although it only landed a single nomination for Danny Elfman's circus score come Oscar time - and even that one got away (nobody mention that film about the Rings). Part family drama, part candy-coloured fantasy, this movie makes a spectacular transfer to the digital format, accompanied by a colourful carnival of extras.
An Elephant You'll Never Forget
Seven fun-packed featurettes are split into two sub-categories: A Character's Journey, and The Filmmaker's Path. Both selections are jammed with cast and crew interviews, plus reams of behind-the-scenes footage. With so much activity on set, these demand repeat viewing. Listen carefully, for instance, during the Fairytale World featurette and you'll hear Ewan McGregor maintaining his Deep Southern drawl between takes.
A Guide To Good Grooming
On top of the obligatory investigations into the use of special effects and (stunning) art design, The Author's Journey lends a much broader perspective. Tracing Big Fish back to the spark of its creation, and running at almost ten minutes, it's a rare opportunity to explore the mind of a novelist, in this case Daniel Wallace. Screenwriter John August also gets a chance to talk about the ways in which he embellished Wallace's book, and why. Hugely impressed by the final product, Wallace likens the process of adaptation to having your children taken away and "dressed in different clothes". Crucially, he adds: "But I like the clothes."
Though perhaps not quite as articulate, director Tim Burton nonetheless delivers a friendly and forthcoming commentary. Interviewer Mark Salisbury helps to pull together Burton's scattered thoughts, and laughs along with his blithe observations. Among these, he notes: "Whether an ape or a witch, a woman's makeup always takes longer." In case you hadn't already guessed, Burton is referring to his significant other, actress Helena Bonham Carter. As well as these philosophical musings, there are plenty of technical titbits which together provide a clear window into the director's unique sensibility.
Rich with perspective and rosy-hued charm, Big Fish is quite simply a great catch on DVD.EXTRA FEATURES