Tim Burton’s Big Fish (2003) and Ang Lee’s 3D Life of Pi (2012) have a lot in common, and it’s not just the fish or the almost overwhelming cinematography and artistic design that transcend the ordinary.
Besides the fact that both films are based on novels, their common bond is the larger than life idea of fish and creation, imaginary worlds, and telling a fantastical story using metaphor, analogy and fable. Both stories share themes about life and death, about faith and miracles, about doubt and belief, and the mythic hero’s journey. Finally these films ask big questions about what it takes to believe, what is the value of our human experience and if we can trust the information that comes to us through our senses and ultimately where it leads us. Both films challenge the audience’s stubbornness and fickleness when it comes to faith, and finally we are left to consider if it is necessary to discern the difference between fact and truth, between the material and the spiritual, in order to believe.