“Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?”
I love this quote. It is true. I’m afraid I am guilty of putting my visions up on a shelf and it is time to dust them off.
He is always quite an inspiring man.
I have left this blog unattended for some time and I do apologize. I wanted to inform you that I intend to bring it back to life as Tim Burton has with Frankenweenie. If you have not viewed the original, I suggest you do. It is live action, different from his latest creation which is stop-motion.
This blog was originally a school project, but now that I am out of school and living in Burton’s hometown of Burbank, I would like to continue with Burton’s View, his life work and creations. Please feel free to suggest topics.
“We all know interspecies romance is weird.”
There was a lot of criticism about Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and I feel he deserves more credit. I have heard many complaints that “I just thought it was going to be more like The Nightmare Before Christmas.” A different film means a different story and a different tone. We are no longer in Halloweentown where Jack Skellington wants more, we are in the confusing lives of Victor Van Dort and the Corpse Bride.
The cast was fantastic as always, but the sets and the movements of the puppets are what is being ignored. If you would watch the behind the scenes features you would see the beauty in the film and the progress that has been made since The Nightmare Before Christmas. The time it took, the beautiful sets, and the tragic story of the Corpse Bride Emily. If you take the time to see the film as art you will appreciate Burton’s work.
“What’s wrong with me? They tell me I’m weird so I guess I must be, but I don’t feel weird.”
I took a trip down memory lane and watched Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Before popping in the movie I was thinking, “Pee Wee Herman, bright smile and colorful bow tie, how is this a Tim Burton moive again?” Then it started and I quickly remembered, this is why.
Pee Wee Herman, some may say a strange indivdual. A grown man that wakes up, puts on his rabbit slippers and dances right away. A grown man who slides down a firepole to his kitchen, a grown man in love with his bike. A man who is not completely understood, perfect for Burton.
As Pee Wee goes on his search for his stolen bike, Burton lets you see the dark side of Pee Wee. The man who is constantly laughing no longer can, not until his bike is found. He has a three hour meeting about his missing bike that accomplishes nothing, we see this man break down, we see the darkside.
Pee Wee who is distraught about his lost love is surrounded by a colorful world. This movie is all about the sets. Pee Wee’s house is ridiculously packed with toys and fun objects, such as the lifesize Abraham Lincoln that flips pancakes in the kitcken. Just look at the lawn.
What completes this film as a Tim Burton work is the scene where Pee Wee hitches a ride with Large Marge. She tells her chilling ghostly story of the women who died on that same night ten years prior. Then Large Marge’s eyes pop out of her head as you see in the introduction photo. The eyes of Large Marge were on display at the MOMA.
“I am not a dark person and I don’t consider myself dark.”
From previous study I had come to the conclusion that Burton isolates his main characters using the camera to create a more distant feeling. Burton shows the main character often by themselves using a one shot and does not include other characters into that space. I used three films from different parts of his career to collect this data, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hallow and more recent film , Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. With each film I used three different scenes to analyze.
I created pie charts to show percent of individual shots of the main character, individual shots of the secondary character and two shots that include both the main and secondary character. Each film proved that the main character is shown by themselves more than 50% of the time.
The Nightmare Before Christmas:
Jack Skellington 58%
Sweeney 51 %
Mrs. Lovett 34 %
Two 15 %
Depp has signed on yet another film with Burton called Dark Shadows. If you are a Tim Burton fan you certainly must be a Johnny Depp fan because he’s in almost every Burton film as of late. Though he is not the only actor that has been used again and again. Wikipedia created a chart of how many times each actor has been in his films and Helena Bonham Carter is gathering up points as well.
I am not sure of why Burton reuses actors but I will give him, Depp and Bonham Carter credit for creating new characters for each film. When Depp first came on the scene it was as Edward Scissorhands, a softspoken man with scissors for hands, then forward through time a bit to the fainthearted Icabod Crane who curiosity in Sleepy Hallow almost gets him beheaded, then to Sweeney Todd, the hard hearted man who will stop at nothing to cut the throat of the man who ruined his life, to our most recent the Mad Hatter who is obviously different in appearance with red hair, green eyes and gapped teeth, and of course, well mad. Each character provides a new voice, accent, tone, posture, NEW CHARACTER.
Both men are brilliant but let us not forget Miss. Bonham Carter, the women with say in Burton’s world. Not only in appearance starting out with Burton in a full ape costume in Planet of the Apes but presence as well. Gentle and welcoming mother in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory to the demanding and frightening Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. There is no stopping this women, she was an ape, then a big headed queen, she will transform herself into her character.
I assume it is easy for Burton to work with the same actors because they are comfortable with each other and know how they work, know what to expect and know that it will be brilliant.
“I’m a happy-go-lucky manic depressive.”
“Movies are like an expensive form of therapy for me.”
Back to the good days, Tim Burton and an original script! A man who has scissors for hands, original enough for that alone. A man who Burton was in touch with which is discussed in a wonderful book called Tim Burton Interviews edited by Kristian Fraga. In one of the interviews Burton says, “the film is about not being able to touch, to communicate. It’s about being at odds with your own body, doomed to misrepresent yourself and, in turn, to be miserably misperceived.” Edward is someone Burton completely understood. Burton is Edward Scissorhands, so to tell his story is like telling his own.
A book called Suburbia and Burton’s own childhood neighborhood inspired the look of the movie. In the Suburbia book “people pose in front of their garages or in paneled rooms and explain their lifestyles.” Burton says, “There’s one comment I love. “I find a sense of freedom in the suburbs. You assume the mask of suburbia for outward appearances, and yet no one knows what you really do.” He goes on to say, “That’s what so incredible about it. Because you’re so close to people and yet, you have no idea what they’re really about. This is the way I grew up feeling. And it can change at any moment. You’re never so close and distant from people at the same time.”
The designer of the film, Bo Welch states that he shrunk the windows of the houses “to be a little less friendly, a little more mask-like and to heighten the hiding-in-suburbia feeling.” Welch and Burton agreed on four-color scheme for the houses that included, “sea-foam green, dirty flesh, butter and dirty blue.” Sounds delightful and uninviting to me
Burton himself describes his film as something less than crisp, “The camera moves a little more but don’t worry, it’s still clunky. There’s still a few shaky camera moves. It’s still got that same depressed..” and then trails off without finishing. The author of the article David Edelstein finished by saying, “He has a way of bringing down the room, our boy.”
This is classic Tim Burton, the Burton we all fell in love with, when he knew his characters and shared they’re pain of being the odd man in.
“I treat every movie like it’s my next-and-last.”
Some would say yes with the release of his more recent films, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. As a die-hard Burton fan I feel he can do no wrong, besides agree to “some” CGI usage to cut cost. Some may say his films are slowly losing their “Burtonesque touch” and I would sadly have to agree after watching Alice in Wonderland. I would like to say it is because of the over usage of CGI, which makes everything look crisp or too clean. He did create a wonderful Chocolate factory and Wonderland but they seem to have the influence of “Disney” artist, compared to his films such as Edward Scissorhands and even his more recent Corpse Bride. Though I can not convince myself that I am disappointed with this man as I sit in bed and push play to enter his film world.
Maybe this is just the evolution of Tim Burton
“With other people she can play humans. With me, it’s completely non-human characters.”
I feel the best part about Alice in Wonderland was Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen. Her character is visually loud and demands attention when she walks onto the screen. This is where the CGI does pays off because they make her head much larger than life and shows how “big-headed” she is.
Bonham Carter was very successful in making the Red Queen real. I would not cross her. As she demands to know who ate her tarts, even those she asks who are innocent are frightened. She makes her way down the line to the thief, lowers her voice and asks, “Did you steal my tarts?” Wipes the tart off his mouth and gives him no time to explain before yelling, “Off with his head!”
Burton and Bonham Carter have been very successful as he is with Depp, in creating wonderful and new characters with each new film. Sadly Anne Hathaway’s White Queen was not as impressive. I felt she was too stiff or too forceful with her body language which did not match her gentle voice. From an online interview she stated that she took influence from Blondie’s Debbie Harry as a gentle-looking but powerful women. She was not convincing enough for me. She did not seem to fit into a Tim Burton film. Helena Bonham Carter’s queen overshadows Anne Hathaway’s White Queen in every way, performance and visually.
“We did research on orange-haired characters, from Bozo to Carrot Top and everything in between. It was quite disturbing.”
Once again Tim Burton and Johnny Depp combined forces to create the wonderful and clever Mad Hatter in Burton’s newest film, Alice in Wonderland. Depp made a most convincing Mad Hatter, in fact he almost went too mad a few times. The Hatter asks, “Have I gone mad?” To which Alice replies, “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
From the outfit to the laugh the Mad Hatter is an exciting new character that has come from the glorious minds of Depp and Burton. He may look a bit much from the posters with the heavy makeup but I assure you, he is a very enjoyable character. The Mad Hatter has a kind of loneliness about him that can relate him to previous characters from Burton, such as Edward Scissorhands, Jack Skellington and even Beetlejuice. They are all one of a kind as is Burton himself.