Album: Big Fish: Music from the Motion Picture

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Big Fish: Music from the Motion Picture

Artist: Danny Elfman, Various Artists
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Label: Sony

Director Tim Burton’s adaptation of author Daniel Wallace’s bittersweet Southern Gothic novel has been billed as his first mainstream character drama, a notion that conveniently ignores the story’s inherent fables and flights of imagination. But composer Danny Elfman understands their every dark nook and murky cranny with this magical, often deftly understated score. While the epic melodrama of his comic book scores (Batman, Spider-Man, The Hulk, et. al.) have made him a mainstream Hollywood music star, longtime fans know that the composer’s…

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Director Tim Burton’s adaptation of author Daniel Wallace’s bittersweet Southern Gothic novel has been billed as his first mainstream character drama, a notion that conveniently ignores the story’s inherent fables and flights of imagination. But composer Danny Elfman understands their every dark nook and murky cranny with this magical, often deftly understated score. While the epic melodrama of his comic book scores (Batman, Spider-Man, The Hulk, et. al.) have made him a mainstream Hollywood music star, longtime fans know that the composer’s true emotional range is seldom tapped as well as it is working with longtime collaborator Burton. His music here bridges the delicate pastoralism of Rachel Portman and restless, rhythmic mysteries of Thomas Newman, seasoned with twangy fiddles and bowings to the film’s occasionally Gothic turns and concludes with the deliciously loopy “Twice the Love (Siamese Twins Song).” Anchored by Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam’s wistful theme song “Man of the Hour” and a half-dozen pop chart nuggets than span half-a-century, Elfman’s work here (as well as Pearl Jam’s) received a much-deserved Golden Globe nomination. —Jerry McCulley

Related Works

Book:Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions

Daniel Wallace

In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do—and do well. He could outrun anybody. He never missed a day of school, even in the worst blizzard. He saved lives. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. He was an inspired salesman—a visionary, in fact. And he knew more jokes than any man alive. Or at least that’s what he’s told his son, William. William doesn’t really know his father because, actually, Edward wasn’t home all that much. What William knows about his father he’s had to piece together from the little bits of stories he’s gathered over the years. Now, watching his father die, William grows increasingly desperate to know him before it’s too late. And in a wonderful sleight of hand, William recreates his elusive father’s life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, William begins to understand Edward Bloom’s great feats—and his great failings. He manages, somehow, to reckon with the father he’s about to lose. And he finds a way to say good-bye.

Film:Big Fish

Big Fish

Tim Burton

After a string of mediocre movies, director Tim Burton regains his footing as he shifts from macabre fairy tales to Southern tall tales. Big Fish twines in and out of the oversized stories of Edward Bloom, played as a young man by Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge, Down with Love) and as a dying father by Albert Finney (Tom Jones). Edward’s son Will (Billy Crudup, Almost Famous) sits by his father’s bedside but has little patience with the old man’s fables, because he feels these stories have kept him from knowing who his father…

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