What I found was a surprise. Although it packs the usual Burton bizarreness, it contained a lot of simple family drama, and in particular analysis of the ever present Father-Son relationship issues.
It struck me that the usual bizarre facet to Burton didn’t end up controlling this movie, nor did it overpower the sections which contained it. In fact in the context of the story they were very accessible and unintrusive, and more to the point they were extremely relevant to the plot.
The tall tales were very much part of the story, part of the Fathers life, and this is what the Son could never understand. He felt he didn’t know who his Father was, and to an extent he never. However the conclusion and how the story comes to it’s double end is wonderfully satisfying, and for a man who has experienced any similar type of relationship (which could be high in the 90% mark I would think) very, very moving. I was so moved I was bubbling like mad!
It’s also interesting how you travel on this journey through the movie. When it began I was struggling with the story and felt very much outside it with the movie failing to pull me in. Little by little however, it did, and before I knew it I was enjoying each of the little quirky tales of the Fathers past and looking forward to the next.
The performances are very good, from MacGregor and Finney in particular, Jessica Lange also puts in a wonderful performance with little words, but pulling off a very natural and strong performance, it’s hard to believe how beautiful she still looks, stunning.
The DVD promises much in the way of extras, mainly in the form of featurettes, and it does deliver. The featurettes are split between actors, characters and the key makers in the movie, and all provide some interesting insights into the acting and making process. It was refreshing not seeing some fourty minute mixed programme crammed with snippets, and rather a shorter programme featuring closely on individuals and their aspect of the movie.
What did strike me as poor was the audio commentary. Instead of letting Burton loose over the movie itself, he was interviewed throughout, being prompted with often close ended questions providing little insight other than a two or three word answer.
Still, the movie made up for the lack of commentary for me. Wonderful.