Tim Burton is the kind of guy I’d love to have coffee with. I mean, the guy is genius. You can’t miss him in a crowd, as he looks quite eccentric in an intelligent, almost Einstein-like way. From the time the film Beetlejuice played before my three year old eyes, I was forever hooked. The insane colors, clown-like imagery and the signature stripey-coils he does in most of his films were branded into my mind.
I was born imaginative. I used to act out scenes from my favorite movies. I loved the idea of magic, monsters and fairytales. Potions, spells and vampires intrigued me. Burton really speaks to that side of me- my inner child. His movies are a combination of dark, uncanny thoughts and the plethoric fantasy of a young mind. He has gone in all directions with creating animated films as well as directing live acting. He took chances and gained popularity because he used his own unique imaginative skills. He has said of himself, “I remember, I was at Cal Arts and I wasn’t a good life-drawer; I struggled with that realistic style of drawing. And one day I was sitting in Farmer’s Market sketching, and it was this weird, mind-blowing experience. I said, ‘Goddamit, I don’t care if I can’t draw, I’m just gonna draw how I feel about it.’ All of a sudden I had my own personal breakthrough, and then I could draw, and satisfied myself. I’ve had very few experiences like that, and I’ll never forget it.” (imbd.com)
Tim Burton was born in the city of Burbank, California. He started making brief, simple films using stop motion style animation from the time he was very young. Before he went on to make his masterpieces, such as Edward Scissorhands he was an animator at Disney. Burton worked there for a while, but yearned to express his own style of art in his work. He usually depicts his characters as a bit tortured and dark, expressing much of what he felt as a young man finding his way to adulthood. His close friend, Johnny Depp, has said of Burton, “I would do anything Tim wanted me to. You know – have sex with an aardvark… I would do it.” While this excerpt has a silly air to it, make no mistake about their bond. Burton chose Depp as the godfather to his son, Billy Ray. The two have worked together on films for over a decade.
This man is quite a quirky, interesting fellow. He grew up loving old horror films. He lives in England, with his ladylove, Helena Bonham Carter. He met the lovely actress on the set of Planet of the Apes (which he directed, and she starred in) and they have been inseperable ever since. They live in a conjoined home, because they felt it would be better to not actually live together. They have two children together. They make quite an adorable couple, both a bit off the wall. She can be seen wearing very victorian-looking apparel and bed-head curls, which frame her delicate, doll-like features.
While any and all of Tim Burton’s films are listed in my ‘favorite’ movie list, there are a few especially close to my heart. Beetlejuice is definitely one of the tops. It’s a tale of newlyweds who are killed in an accident and as ghosts, still live in their house. They befriend the new owner’s young, loner daughter. It’s full of comedy, with the title character, Beetlejuice played by Michael Keaton.
Batman captivated audiences in 1989. Michael Keaton was cast as the superhero, along with Jack Nicholson as the notorious Joker. The film had a dark feel to it and really dug deep into the psyche of the characters unlike any other superhero films. It received many awards, including an Academy Award.
Ah, Edward Scissorhands. This is probably the most beloved and deeply heartfelt story by Burton. In this film, Edward is a boy who was put together by an old inventor [Vincent Price] who was unable to finish one last thing before passing away; his hands. He is left with scissors. A kind woman sees the innocence in him and takes him into her family.
The Nightmare Before Christmas has an amazing score by Danny Elfman. The main character, Jack Skellington comes from a land where it’s always Halloween. He tries to spread his idea of happy cheer to the world during the holidays and steals Christmas. He discovers his idea of fun is scary to most people. The characters and animation in this are great. It is no doubt the best known movie by Burton, who designed all of the characters himself and took several years to develop.
Corpse Bride is another favorite of mine. Victor Van Dort is a young man betrothed in an arranged setting. Trying to get over his wedding jitters, he practices his vows in the forest, not knowing a grave is beneath him. Accidentally, it marries him to a young dead woman’s soul named Emily. The story is very cute and fun, with the classic grotesque twist Burton adds.
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -was definitely the darkest film I’ve seen of his yet. It is geared for more of the adult audience, because it is definitely bloody and gruesome. The cinematography is amazing; set in London in the Victorian era. It’s the story of a successful, popular barber who has the perfect life. He is married to a lovely woman, with a baby daughter. An evil man of high rank in town wants the barber’s wife so he casts him out. Years later, he returns for vengeance. It is a musical, Burton style. It’s complete with a gloomy scenery and Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter singing woeful songs. Some might even find this film darkly funny.
Tim’s most recent accomplishment is Alice in Wonderland. Let me tell you, this film is absolutely brilliant. The story follows the adult heroin back into the world of wonderland. Along the way she sees old favorites; the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, the Cheshire Cat and more. The cast includes Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover and Mia Wasikowska as the main character. Even if you don’t enjoy children’s stories, this is a must see. The luminous colors, creative characters, art, makeup, animation and costumes were filmed so well, I felt like I was really there. This was surely one of Burton’s best movies.
Well, I’ve gone over a whole slew of reasons why Tim is amazing. Most movie-lovers have seen at least one of the films he’s produced. However, he has many amazing works and I urge you to take the time to view them all. The ones I listed above are my personal favorites. Remember, “One person’s crazyness is another person’s reality.” (Tim Burton quote, thinkexist.com)