De-constructing Tim Burton Part 1 of 3
Make sure to check out the link above and see if you agree with the list.
Anyone that's read my reviews knows that I'm not the biggest fan of Tim Burton as a director. I generally feel he's too much into style over substance. He can paint an amazing world with his twisted mind, but he just doesn't have the desire to fill it up with compelling plots and characters.
That's just my opinion.
Tim Burton receives more praise than I think he deserves. For some reason, fanboys place him up there as one of the great directors of our time. I strongly disagree with that. I think Burton is an entertaining director, when he finds stories that fit his quirky nature. (Willie Wonka and Pee-Wee) But, he fails when he tries to remake movies that are supposed to have a stronger sense of plot and characterization.
In this first post, I’ll cover some of the problems I have with Mr. Burton and his work.
1. He always looks dirty: I know it’s not fair, but it’s true. The man keeps up this act that he’s a grungy, striving artist. You’re a millionaire, so you don’t have to look like one of those bums you see playing the guitar in front of the coffee shop. I know I can’t tell people how to live their lives, but wash your teeth, take a bath, cut your hair, and get some new clothes.
2. Too much dependence on sets: Even when he’s on location, it feels like he’s filming on a set or stage. While Batman (89) felt like it was filmed on the real streets, Batman Returns feels like the entire thing was filmed on the WB lot. This style hampers him.
3. Keeping it too simple: When you get down to it, his plots are simple, almost fairytale like. The original Planet of the Apes dealt with weighty issues and clever plotting. In the remake, Burton has Marky-Mark running around the planet with no real purpose. All the relevant social issues were removed from the remake. He does this with many of his movies. (Make sure to check out Kevin Smith’s story about him and Smith's discarded Superman script.)
4. Tim Burton-Land: (Long time reader Paul gets much credit for this term) When he gets his way, his movies will start to turn into twisted circus movies with Doctor Seuss mountains and trees. Throw in that creepy Danny Elfman cirrus music (with children chanting) you got half of Burton’s movies right there. It works for some movies, but not so much with Batman Returns. Batman doesn’t fit into Tim Burton-Land.
5. Style over Good writing and characters: Logic and character development goes out the window. In its place, there are some really good designs and set pieces. His 'vision' can be dark yet pretty, but normal storytelling is harmed.
Next up, what he's done right...