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Movie Review: Big Fish

Alternate Title: Tim Burton Lite

Story: If you can tell a good story - I am all ears. If you drone on and on - sorry, but I mentally drift away somewhere on the middle of your story. Good storytellers are a rarity and should be cherished when they come along.

Such is the meat of director Tim Burton's new delightful film adapted from the novel by Daniel Wallace. This is not the dark, cynical Tim Burton that we have come to know and respect. This is Tim Burton Lite - all hopeful and optimistic. Yet, he still manages to retain that whimsical, quirky vision that comes with his usual film making. I found myself smiling during most of the film.

Fabulist Edward Bloom is dying of cancer. His cynical son returns home to try to find out the truth behind all of the fantastic tales he grew up hearing. We get to listen to and see many of his father's stories as they are retold on his deathbed. What a trip!

How can you not be intrigued by a film that depicts a giant, witches, conjoined twins and a werewolf? Burton creates a magical past that tickles the senses and warms the heart. If you are looking for a holiday film that will make you feel good...check this one out!

Acting: I will see anything that has Ewan McGregor in it. He is charming and always believable. He plays the Bloom character as a young man. I had no trouble believing that he would physically grow into the Albert Finney character. Speaking of Albert Finney - I would go to see any film that he is in as well. He is blustery and tells quite a tall tale. Jessica Lange, while not having much to do is always a treat to see on screen. There is also a fine ensemble cast including Burton's wife, Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi and Alison Lohman.

Predilections: I like Tim Burton, Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney.

Critters: Dogs, elephants, lots of cats, a lion, giraffes and a werewolf.

Food: Sandwiches

Visual Art: I was too busy basking in all the visual expression and imagery of Tim Burton's mind to see stuff hanging on the walls.

Blatant Product Placement: Ensure.

Soundtrack: Appropriate without being silly or sappy.

Opening Titles: Expectedly imaginative.

Theater Audience: About ten guys and me.

Sappy Factor: 2 (This is a first. I am sure that I have never given a Tim Burton film any sappy factor). I also have an image of Danny DeVito's tush that I find hard to shake.

Quirky Meter: 4

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: One - Can you imagine shedding a tear in a Tim Burton film? Go know?

Oscar Worthy: There should be some nod for the production end of this visual treat.

Nit Picking: A number of the images reminded me of scenes from past Burton films.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. Here are some other Tim Burton films for you to rent: Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beetlejuice, Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Frankenweenie.

Length: Two hours.