Billy Crudup learns that father Albert Finney is dying, and returns home. He has feltalienated from his father because of the latter’s never-ending tall tales of his life. Crudup wouldlike to hear something true for once in his life, while Finney maintains that he IS telling the truth.Finney tells the tales again, mostly to Crudup’s fiancee, and his improbable life unfolds beforeus, with Ewan McGregor as his younger self. In his quest for his true love, he encounters amysti…al village, a giant, conjoined Korean torch singers, and more.
This is Burton’s most intimate film since Ed Wood, in the sense that, for all thespectacle, the film’s primary interest is in its characters, and their emotional journey. Thoughclearly intended as a celebration of storytelling and to be filled with awe and wonder, the filmis a bit difficult to surrender to. Finney and McGregor are difficult to see as the same character,Crudup’s concerns with the truth don’t appear to be as invalid as all that, and the magic feels abit forced, the wonder unearned. But the film eventually does overcome these barriers, and buildsto a powerfully emotional catharsis.
The sound is an extremely rich 5.1. There is terrific bass from the opening note of the score.The dialogue is crystalline and undistorted, and the placement of the surround effects isspectacular. One particularly impressive moment is the entrance of the giant. He is off-screen,and when he first speaks, his voice is a thundering blast from the rear speakers. The effect,guaranteed to startle the unsuspecting out of their seats, uses home theatre to its full potential,producing a result that is possible ONLY with home theatre.
The colours in this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer are magnificently rich. They are,if anything, superior to what I saw in the theatrical release. the contrasts are most impressive(notably in the night scenes), and the blacks are perfect. There is no visible edge enhancement,and the grain is minimal. Gorgeous stuff.
The Tim Burton commentary is actually a feature-long interview, frequently linked tospecific scenes. Lots here about the background of the film, and Burton’s personal connections tothe project. There are seven featurettes. While they are pretty standard promotional material, theyare still focussed on particular aspects of the film, and grouped together by their broader theme.Thus, “The Character’s Journey” has three bits about individual characters, while “TheFilmmakers’ Path” has four somewhat more technical pieces. Engaging the “Fishtales” featurewhile watching the film allows you to trigger the relevant featurette whenever the appropriateicon appears on the screen. You can also work your way through the trivia game this way, or takeit all at once. Successfully answering all the questions gives you an Easter Egg: a look at howthe time-stopped sequence at the circus was accomplished. Finally, there are 12 trailers. Themenu’s main page is animated and scored, as are the transitions. The Special Features screen isalso scored.
The film is gorgeous, as is the transfer, and the sound is spectacular. The extras aren’toverwhelming, thought the commentary track is solid.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Trivia Game with Easter Egg
- “Fishtales” Interactive Featurette Feature
- 7 Making-of Featurettes