After his dark, brooding, percussive and ethnic/middle eastern score to Hulk. Elfman returned to Burton to score Big Fish. Based on the book by Daniel Wallace. The movie is about an estranged father (who's also dying) and son ,who are trying to reconnect in each other's lives before it's too late. The son tries to find out who his father is through his tall tales. This is a very good as well as underrated movie. This movie really showed Burton getting out of his comfort zone. With strong performances from the whole cast. The production design and everything you expect Burton to be perfect on is all top notch. Even the script. I think the Oscars overlooked this one. But at least the score by Elfman was nominated.
Elfman's score isn't his typical score for Burton's films. It's very southern and captures that Alabama setting. It really captures Edward Bloom's journey through life and the people he touched. As well as really his romance with Sandra (Edward's wife), and his flawed relationship with his son. I was really happy that the academy gave some attention to Elfman's score. To a score to a Burton film at that.
The cd opens with songs from the film. Which works fine in the context of the film. Pearl Jam's "Man of the Hour" really suits the film quite well. And I think should've been nominated for an Oscar also for best original song. oh well.
Elfman's score suits the film perfectly. The film wouldn't have been as effective without it. It really touches or tugs the heartstrings. The score does more than just make us feel sorry for a dying man. It's also a very emotional, inspiring, pleasant, beautiful and touching score, imo.
"Big Fish (Titles)" isn't your typical main title music for a Burton film. The main title in the film itself isn't flashy or typical of Burton. As the movie's playing the credits show up as it would any other indie film. Elfman's score isn't dark, gothic , quirky , bombastic or typical of Elfman. In fact the music is more southern, mysterious (not in a dark way), sentimantal and beautiful. It underscores the scenes perfectly.
"Underwater" is a very beautiful and choral piece. It plays during the scene where a young Edward Bloom is driving in his car on a rainy night. And all of a sudden his car goes under water and a nude human fish girl (or mermaid) swims toward him.To show that his character has returned to the town called Spectre. Very nice track.
"Sandra's Theme" which plays during a montage of scenes where Edward is showing his love for Sandra in different ways. Eventhough they both don't know eachother. I love the theme that Sandra has . It's very beautiful and heartwarming. It's not played as unrequited love like most of his love themes. And the cue get's really powerful when Sandra opens her windows (in her campus bedroom) and sees Edward standing in a grass full of daffodils. That he planted there himself.
"The Growing Montage" is one of Elfman's best montage cues. It goes through so many emotions in this track. It's starts off kind of quirky & funny, then gets magical, to hopeful & heroic, to epic & powerful, to happy & touching, to dark, spooky and mysterious. One of the few dark moments in the score (that plays at the last few seconds of the track) and film. What an amazing track. Since this is the only YT video I could find that plays the track the way it is on album. Start the track at 5:06 -7:02. That's "The Growing Montage" track.
"The Journey Home" is another great and touching track, it plays when Edward was a soldier in WWII (I think) and he helps these foreign siamese twins go to america if they help him escape the war so he can return home. With their help he escaped and b/c of this the military notified Sandra that Edward was KIA. She starts crying. And (I guess) a few days later (or right after I can't remember) Edward shows up in uniform while Sandra is hanging her clothes up outside to dry and surprises her. Very touching and emotional cue and scene.
"Finale" is probably the highlight of the album. Though some micro-edits are done to the track on the album. It's still there. 95% of it anyway. It's still a long (in a good way), sad, touching, sweet, and beautiful cue. It really pieces everything together and wraps the score (and film) up nicely. This track alone is why Elfman should've won the oscar that year. That last 12 minutes in the film wouldn't have been as effective or emotional without it. This track (down there) is slightly edited at the beginning b/c piece of it was playing at the end of part 5.
"End Titles" is a happy track with a lot of heart. Very southern at the beginning. I feel that the cue celebrates Edward Bloom's life/achievements and the people's lives he touched. The music feels as if it's saying that Edward will live on through his tall tales. And is a legend. A very warm track.
"Jenny's Theme" is a sad and bittersweet theme. It reflects the love Jenny has for Edward that can never be. Since Edward was a young adult when they first met and she was only a little kid. When they meet up again at her more appropriate and legal age. Her love for Bloom continues to never consumate b/c Bloom is now a married man, So I guess Edward (for her) is the one that got away. The music I think reflects that b/c Jenny was lonely most of her life and wanted him stay twice (when she was a kid and an adult).I think the theme reflects her loneliness. One of Elfman's most touching themes.
I can go and on about this score but I'll be up here all week. Every track is a beautiful piece of art and has something to like, imo. It's underrated lke the film itself. One of Burton's best films. What I love about this score is that it's not typical of Elfman. Just like the same reason I like the film. It's not typical of Burton.