Big Fish (4K Blu-ray Review)

Every time I see a Tim Burton release set for a 4K UHD Blu-ray, I get excited.  His films, even at their darkest are the kinds of films made for the format.  They’re thought provoking, odd, and just a little different.  Batman, Returns and Beetlejuice already made their debuts on the format in the last two years and nobody would say they were lackluster releases, making classics look and sound incredible.  Big Fish is one of the films in his canon I hadn’t seen.  I wasn’t even aware it was his movie. Shockingly, I pride myself on my Rain Man like ability to recall information about films, even ones I haven’t seen, so this is a shame for me… Big Fish is a special film and you can read all about why below. Be sure to click the paid link at the end to get yourself a copy of this 4K UHD unsung film too!


Throughout his life, Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) has always been a man of big appetites, enormous passions and tall tales. In his later years, portrayed by five-time Best Actor Oscar® nominee Albert Finney (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Erin Brockovich, 2000), he remains a huge mystery to his son, William (Billy Crudup). Now, to get to know the real man, Will begins piecing together a true picture of his father from flashbacks of his amazing adventures in this marvel of a movie.

Bloom’s tale is one of eccentricity.  He lives a life unafraid, because he has seen his fate thanks to a mysterious witch (Helena Bonham Carter). He comes into people’s lives and then relives the stories to an extent that his son doesn’t believe him.  No one else is deterred in their wonder as they love reliving Edward’s life with him.  The beauty in the stories is that they’re so vivid they could read as fantasy.  William’s issue is that he’s heard the stories so much, he has just stopped believing.  He has jaded feelings for his father, who spent much of his growing up years away from home.  Edward’s wife (Jessica Lange) though, is forever in love, and seeing him in his later, less healthy state brings her sadness, knowing he will soon be gone.  From circus folk (Danny DeVito), to writers (Steve Buscemi) to his own doctor (Robert Guillaume), Edward has touched so many people.

Edward’s story is one to absolutely revel in.  Flights of fancy, heroic moments and family life all play a big part in things here.  There’s a beautiful almost easy quality to the transitions between the past and the present.  Things aren’t all heavy and sad.  For the duration of the film, you will smile and empathize and feel as if you’ve gone on a journey too.  Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor both embody Edward as a quiet, humble man without much selfishness in him.  Billy Crudup plays William as a hurt soul who only turns around when he finds out the truth. He is sensitive and kind, but cautious.  He has a lovely wife (Marion Cotilliard) who is patient and totally loves Edward’s recounting of life.  Jessica Lange tugs at the heartstrings with her work, bringing heartache and love into her role.  When Steve Buscemi and Danny DeVito show up it’s like meeting up with old friends!

And what’s to say about Tim Burton? Despite some fantastical elements, this is probably his most straightforward film.  It’s not an over the top spectacle or a wild fantasy in the traditional sense. The circus is the most fantasy story arc of the film for me, and It’s still firmly grounded in reality.  It’s a subtle direction, and one that feels very comforting and rich overall.


  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Layers: BD-100
  • Clarity/Detail: Big Fish feels like a movie made for the format, much like other Tim Burton films. The movie begins in a soft underwater sequence, and from there continues to flesh out, opening up as scenes go by.  The best times are any outdoor scenes, during the day. Colors are gorgeous and balanced and there is more detail than I’m guessing other releases have had.  Stunning and wonderful.
  • Depth: The film has a look that is dense and satisfying to the eye. Images don’t jump off the screen but are very lovingly recreated. Foreground and backgrounds all stand out, with nothing getting lost in translation along the way.
  • Black Levels: There was no crushing or artifacting within those dark moments. Blacks looked great at all times.
  • Color Reproduction: Color pop is a wow item in this transfer. Yellow flowers, gorgeous green grass, bold reds and cool blues all show out in every scene.
  • Flesh Tones: Natural, unless meant to look otherwise
  • Noise/Artifacts: Complimentary 35mm film grain is intact, giving a great clean image to savor


  • Audio Formats: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit),English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit),Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1. French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,Korean: Dolby Digital 2.0
    Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1,Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1
    Polish VO, Spanish DTS=Castilian, Spanish DD = Latin American
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
  • Dynamics: This is a very well balanced mix. Atmos effects are on the slim side, but the movie is more than anything a drama. Sounds spread wide overall and there is room for sound effects and music to breathe within the new mix
  • Height: Height channels are mostly for outdoor ambience in this mix, with things getting interesting when we move to the circus sequence and the perfect ground moments where there is a party. Being that the mix is so subtle in the height channels, you may find yourself craning your neck to find the height effects.
  • Low Frequency Extension: Some subtle sound effects cause the sub to bump, but this isn’t a demo disc in that area.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds do their thing throughout, spreading the sound field all over the map. The crowd noise, or ambient noise is constant throughout these channels for the duration of the film.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: I felt the sound needed to be bumped up from time to time during the more dialogue heavy moments, but not really anything to fuss over.


Big Fish hits the 4K market with all the extras from previous releases.  There are some features here that didn’t come with the Blu-ray, so that’s nice too.  The features come on the newly remastered 1080p Disc. As usual, the first pressings come with that typical beat up Sony slipcover and a digital code too.


  • Tim Burton Audio Commentary, Moderated by Mark Salisbury
  • The Character’s Journey (Previously unreleased on Blu-ray)
  • Edward Bloom at Large (Previously unreleased on Blu-ray)
  • Amos at the Circus
  • Fathers and Sons
  • The Filmmaker’s Path
  • Tim Burton: Storyteller
  • A Fairytale World
  • Creature Features
  • The Author’s Journey
  • Original Cast Interviews & Behind the Scenes
  • Easter Eggs
  • Theatrical Trailer

All features are presented in 1080i or 480i


Big Fish ended up being a joy of a film to watch.  The flow, the writing, the flashbacks, the characters, the music and the impeccable acting all left me wanting to spend more time in Edward’s world.  So much for a fantasy being only for kids, I highly recommend checking this gorgeous 4K disc out, and hope you all get immersed into the film as much as I did.

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