Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly engaging flick about more than birding
Birding, or "twitching", that is bird watching and spotting different species of birds is not the sort of topic which I would associate with being and interesting or engaging enough material for a movie or something that I'd associate with Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin.

Although the movie is a real moving human interest story, three seperate human...
Published on 14 Feb. 2013 by Lark

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Poor
The Big Year is an informal competition amongst "birders" (Bird Watchers) for the number of birds one can spot in a single calendar year in North America alone. Bostick (Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers) is the reigning champion with a whopping 732 birds seen in a year. Newly-retired Stu Preissler (Steve Martin - Father of the Bride) wants nothing more than to beat...
Published on 22 Jan. 2012 by J. Morris


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly engaging flick about more than birding, 14 Feb. 2013
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Birding, or "twitching", that is bird watching and spotting different species of birds is not the sort of topic which I would associate with being and interesting or engaging enough material for a movie or something that I'd associate with Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin.

Although the movie is a real moving human interest story, three seperate human interst stories woven well into a single story, the competitive and quirky scene which is bird watching with the aim of seeing as many different species in one "Big Year".

Black's character is living with his parents, his relationship with them is fractious but not fundamentally broken, he hasnt seen any of the things he has embarked upon through to the finish, ie studies or marriage, so when he announces he is going to do a "big year" they arent exactly thrilled, his father and his mother reacting differently though and providing quirkly comic drama which plays to Black's on screen character "type" without being farcical.

Martin's character is a high powered exec who could easily come out on top in the contest but who chooses to play by the rules of most of the others in a sort of "keeping it real" fashion, like our other protagonists there is a mix of avoidance and escapism in play along with the obsessive interest in bird spotting.

Wilson's character is the "king of the hill" defending his title as record holder and not unprepared to play really dirty to do so, of the three he comes across as more obsessed and willing to sacrifice all, he is avoiding and escaping from things in his life too but its some how more sad than the others. While the other two have things besides the "big year", some of which develop during and from the "big year", Wilson's character doesnt seem to have anything but the "big year" itself.

The "big year" provides opportunities for personal growth to all of them, more so in the instances of Black and Martin, its more implied with Wilson's character I guess, and there are some good themes worked out about all consuming hobbies and pass times. I felt the "elephant in the room" for most of the characters was whether this was all a waste of time, the competitiveness keeps them all on track however. Each of these characters have played quirky, outsider and comic characters before and they all do so really well here, its a perfect casting, but it does well not to fall into the trap of becoming another Zoolander [DVD] [2001] or The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [DVD] style "farce feature", there are laughs and amusement but its a film which isnt simply playing to that.

I really liked this film as a human interest story film, its great to get a window on peoples passions, the cast is perfect and pace well done too, the plot develops well and you dont need to be interested in birding to enjoy this (infact I suspect if you're a serious birder then perhaps it wont prove satisfactory because the people are the focus rather than the birds). Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, much better than expected., 13 May 2012
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
The film, The Big Year was really very enjoyable. All three of the actors gave a good performance and showed that they really understood the humour and competitive nature of birding in general. As a British bird photographer, I have been birding all over the world (including the USA) for thirty years and was amused by this film. Although some of the research showed a few flaws (those guys really would have notched up a Sandhill Crane by that stage of the game, and that was not High Island and, yes, British birders are incredibly competive, probably more so than the Yanks) there was a lot of accurate stuff about it too. Best of all, the film portrays the obsessive nature of birding very well. It was badly slated unfairly by some, the accusations aimed by the critics were unfair and inaccurate.

I would recommend it to birders and non birders alike, just forgive the couple of inaccuracies and you will enjoy it.
The Big Year [DVD]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming film about the things that matter, 1 April 2012
By 
Carole Birley - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
With Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson in starring roles, and a small part for Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper in 'The Big Bang Theory'), this film is... not quite what you might expect.

There are plenty of moments for laughter, but this is not a film designed to wring laughs from its audience at every turn. Instead, the humour comes from the lengths to which obsessives will go to follow their passion, and the incomprehension of those around them who have more 'normal' priorities.

But this is also a story of the camaraderie between like-minded souls; of what it costs to chase a dream; of what it would cost not to. Only one person can find the most birds during the Big Year, but each of them will find out what matters most to them.

And it is also a love-poem to nature, and birds in particular. There's some fantastic footage of the birds, and the film is mostly shot in British Columbia and Yukon, a beautiful part of the world.

If you're in the mood for slapstick humour or complex drama, you won't find it here. But if you want to relax with a gentle celebration of the best in nature and in people, 'The Big Year' is well worth a look.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birding made fun!, 12 Feb. 2012
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
As a novice birder, I was a bit worried that this film would be a bit hardcore and serious. However, I greatly enjoyed it! It caught the essence of what makes birdwatching reportedly the 3rd most popluar pasttime in the UK (after golf and fishing). It is a gentle film but quietly ribs those who take life too seriously, whatever their hobby.
It was a great way to spend an evening and I would happily see this film again. Also the birds (of the feathered variety!) and the scenery were spectacular!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and engaging - good family film, 10 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Birding (bird watching) and the 'Big Year' challenge of spotting as many birds as possible in a year may not seem the most exciting of subjects for a film, but The Big Year manages to engage and entertain throughout.

Jack Black, Steve Martin & Owen Wilson play (essentially themselves) Birders all seeking to set a new record for the number of species spotted.

Whilst badged as a comedy, it's no rip-roarer (Jack Black falls over a couple of times, which is about the extent of it) but the film is certainly light hearted and completely harmless.

I'm not a birder, or particularly interested in our feathered friends, but I was drawn in by the concept and particularly the beautiful scenery across the USA. There are also some really powerful messages within the plot, which are delivered subtly and thoughtfully.

If you want good, clean, family fun with the potential for a few laughs and broadening of the mind then you could do a lot worse.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Poor, 22 Jan. 2012
By 
J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
The Big Year is an informal competition amongst "birders" (Bird Watchers) for the number of birds one can spot in a single calendar year in North America alone. Bostick (Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers) is the reigning champion with a whopping 732 birds seen in a year. Newly-retired Stu Preissler (Steve Martin - Father of the Bride) wants nothing more than to beat this record, and with his high-flying career behind him, he has the cash to do it. IT support guy Brad Harris (Jack Black - School of Rock) also wants a shot at the record, but is broke and has to continue to work his job, snatching as many weekends birding as possible. As Bostick realises these hapless guys are also competing for a "Big Year" the pace heightens, just who will come out on top? Experience, money or the underdog?

The Big Year features some comedy greats and is a quirky subject to base a film around. I had no idea of this competition and just how serious people take birding, but it's actually pretty competitive!! The film features some extremely picturesque surrounds as the guys travel to every end of North America to see the rarest of birds only to have to do it all again when the seasons have changed. As a result we see some great vistas in all seasons, coupled with the uniquely-styled CGI bird names overlaid on the scenery. We also have the omnipresent counter that clicks up as the guys discuss the birds they have seen and let the audience in on the guys "number". All good so far you might say.

Where The Big Year nose-dives is that it just isn't funny. We have three guys here who are renowned for the ability to make people laugh, and yet not-a-one of them is using their talent. Black is anaemic and his high school love-sick crush on fellow birder Ellie (Rashida Jones - The Social Network) is just pathetic. Martin's faux-wrestle with his retirement is boring and Wilson just plays a nasty guy who neglects his wife (the gorgeous Rosamund Pike) for the sake of birding. None of these roles make you laugh. Occasionally we get a couple of slap-stick laughs but ultimately everyone is just too benign to be interesting. I would have at least thought that Wilson would have been portrayed as scheming and cheating, but nope, he just birds REALLY hard to win. What follows is just 90 minutes of the main characters raising binoculars at objects off-screen (The DVD cover pretty much sums up the entire movie).

Extra Content: The DVD has none. Zip. Nada. The Blu-Ray on the other hand has theatrical and extended editions of the film, approximately 40 minutes of deleted scenes and a featurette titled 'The Big Migration'.

This left me feeling good, there is a warming relationship between Black and Martin, but that's the highlight. Wasted potential, but intriguing for the birds. If you're into birding, definitely worth a watch, otherwise, don't go out of your way to see it!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I THINK I BROKE MY ARM, 11 Aug. 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
My sister and her husband are avid birders. I know a little about the topic. They are ranked in the top 10 within their home state, for their big year.

Bostick (Owen Wilson) is in serious competition. The movie is correct in that birders are on an honor system, although there are doubters which is why birders quickly become decent amateur photographers. Just about every year is a "Big Year" for birders as they always keep track of what birds they have seen as well as when and where. Most don't have the time or resources to cross the country several times a year, so they compete within their state.

The film shows some aspects of birders such as how life interferes with birding. Or how a birder would rather be in Brownsville, Texas at a dump site than in Paris, France. I have discovered that Birders are also acutely aware of things such as global warming as southern birds move north into new areas. They also know the points of illegal crossings as they visit the southern border at odd hours.

The movie has 3 diverse quirky characters competing nation wide to be the best birder. Jack Black and Steve Martin are likeable characters while Owen Wilson is the "bad guy." I had several laugh out loud moments during this feature. Birding is best done as a couples hobby.

Good comedy. Good script.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little heart warming film, 22 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Jack black isn't his crazy usual self and performs well in this movie just like the holiday. It's just a nice film to wach with the family. I personally enjoyed it from start to finish. I fully recommend it :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Year (DVD), 31 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Great movie with a heart felt story line. My dad is a twitcher and I could 100% relate to this movie, despite it being set in the States. If you know a birder, buy them this if they haven't already seen it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A quietly entertaining comedy, 25 April 2012
By 
Mrs. E. Watts (Barnsley England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big Year [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
When I sat down to watch this film, I was very pleasantly surprised. I've found Martin and Black far too 'over-the-top' in their comedy style in a number of other films, but their performance was much more restrained in this one, and it was much funnier than I expected. All in all it's an amusing comedy.

I have to say, though, that if I were a certain very well known US birder (or a well known pelagic operator), I'd probably be calling the lawyers about now! The characters are based on well-known real people, and some of the portrayals are not very complimentary!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Big Year
The Big Year by David Frankel
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews