Throughout the '80s and '90s, director Tim Burton strived to redefine himself at every given opportunity. Burton pushed the limits of conventionality in mainstream cinema with odes to the weird and wonderful, such as Beetlejuice, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands.
However, as time went on, it seemed as though Burton had forgotten his own advice, sacrificing originality in a tired run of movies that became almost too Burton-esque. The delightfully peculiar quirks of his earlier films had become a running gag with cinephiles who were bored of seeing the same tropes revisited again and again by Burton. Even with Big Eyes, it seemed as though Burton had run out of fresh perspectives, which left fans wondering whether his creative spark had been lost to the Dark Shadows forever.
Check out the latest trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children below to see what all of the weird and wonderful fuss is about:
However, with the release of his latest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Burton of old has made a magnificent return. Don't believe us? Here's why Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is the beginning of a Burtonaissance that will return Burton to his rightful place among the world's best auteurs.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Is The Best Film Released By Burton This Century
Unfortunately, when someone is asked to choose their favorite Tim Burton film, few of the following movies even get a look in;
- Planet of the Apes (2001)
- Big Fish (2003)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
- Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
- Alice in Wonderland (2010)
- Dark Shadows (2012)
- Frankenweenie (2012)
- Big Eyes (2015)
Compared to the likes of Batman Returns and Sleepy Hollow, Burton's more recent output doesn't quite cut it. Despite proving to be huge hits financially, films such as Planet of the Apes and Alice in Wonderland tarnished Burton's creative reputation more than fans back in the '90s could ever have imagined.
Admittedly, the release of a new film by Burton still commands attention, but in recent years, the fanfare and excitement has been replaced by a cautious optimism, usually followed by mediocre reviews. It's not like every Burton film since 2000 has been terrible, not by any means — but even recent highlights such as Frankenweenie didn't capture the peculiar wonder that was so integral to the success of his earlier work.
Whether Burton had decided to play it safe or whether he had simply run out of ideas, something wasn't connecting with audiences the way it once was. However, that seems set to change with the release of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. Sure, it's unlikely to smash the likes of Edward Scissorhands out of people's top 5 Burton flicks, but the source material provides the ideal frame for Burton to reconnect with what made his work so special in the first place.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Is Also A Great Film, Period
Like Matthew McConaughey and Mickey Rourke, Burton has pulled off an impressive comeback that could be the key to his artistic reawakening. Hopefully, the Burtonaissance a whole new generation of film fans who may be unfamiliar with classics like Beetlejuice or Sleepy Hollow.
While not every outlet agrees with our positive appraisal, The Guardian gave Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children four stars, perfectly summing up the film's Gothic X-Men appeal in one snappy reference;
"If Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice read comics when she was 13, they’d have been something like this."
Variety also gave the film a glowing review that reconfirmed Burton's artistic vision is back on the rise;
"The title may read “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” but there can be no doubt for anyone buying a ticket: This is really Tim Burton’s Home for Peculiar Children. Not since “Sweeney Todd,” and before that all the way back to “Sleepy Hollow,” have the studios found such a perfect match of material for Hollywood’s most iconic auteur."
However, one particular review from Nerdist hits the nail on the head more than any other;
"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is thoroughly enjoyable for the bulk of its run time, and Burton proves once again that he can do great things given the proper parameters."
With its Big Fish-style framing device, stop motion from the likes of Corpse Bride, and freakish characters who could give Edward Scissorhands a run for his money, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children draws on the best elements of Burton's past work within the confines of the source material, enabling the auteur to reignite his passion in a bold step toward the future.
What's Next In The Burtonaissance?
One comeback hit is great and all, but for this to truly be considered a 'Burtonaissance', the gothic director needs to ensure that his upcoming films perform even better than Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Next up on Burton's schedule is a live-action adaptation of Disney's Dumbo. Normally, we would be pretty sceptical — Dumbo is a classic, after all. Fortunately, The Jungle Book's incredible success this year has convinced us to give this idea another chance. Dumbo is certainly one of the stranger films in Disney's back catalog, and if Burton can incorporate his unique sensibilities into the fan-favorite story, we could even consider forgiving him for Alice In Wonderland.
In even more promising news, Burton is reportedly working on a potential Beetlejuice sequel alongside screenwriter and novelist Seth Grahame-Smith. If the rumors are true and both Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder really are interested in reprising their roles, that would make our millennium.
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- 25 Years Ago, These Stars Made the Cut for 'Edward Scissorhands': Where Are They Now?
However, what we would like to see more than anything from Burton right now is some fresh material that lets his imagination run wild in a way that's unfettered by fan expectation or studio interference. It's been a while, but we're confident that Tim has it in him to make the Burtonaissance a reality.