Everyone knows Tim Burton has really pushed his way into the forefront of film direction in the past two decades, for one reason or another, everybody has watched one of his movies and remembers it for something that they can't quite put there finger on. Is it the darkness that seems to seep out of every shot? The slightly warped perspective on the world? The general 'black' atmosphere in most of his movies? Or is it simply the often occurrence of Mr Johnny Depp and his late wife Helena Bonham Carter?
I've always considered Tim Burton the film equivalent to Stephen King, not necessarily because of the horror and gore, but more the way he can turn something quite un-frightening into something petrifying, playing on a humans natural fears like loneliness, death, insanity and Christmas apparently. It's also lesser known that Mr Burton originally worked with Disney productions before parting on behalf there different tastes, but not before he could direct the classic that is 'The Fox and The Hound'. A creative from the start, the man started making short films before he was but ten years old! Talk about dedication.
So to help all Burton 'virgins', here is my ten favorite Tim Burton movies, in no particular order-
1. Sleepy Hollow
This is about the hilarious, seemingly incompetent Constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) who's deployed to the creepy town that is Sleepy Hollow on rather a fools errand really by his police department. It would appear that a 'headless horseman' has been murdering many of the towns folk and it's up to Ichabod, his young detective assistant and a seemingly innocent young women, Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) to save the day. Ichabod soon realizes things are most definitely not normal and he employs some rather unconventional methods to solving the crime and saving the girl whom he has fallen for. This movie is absolute comedy gold for the more sick minded people out there (ah hem) but consistently carries a more troubling undertone and really does make you wonder, what is real and what is a mere illusion in our mysterious world?
2. Edward Scissorhands
One of Johnny Depps first roles in a Burton movie. Edward Scissorhands revolves around young Edward, a man that was created by an unusual scientist who died before his completion, namely his hands. A lady selling Avon, of all things, finds him in the loft of his masters mansion and takes him in as one of the family. At first all seems well, the town likes him for all his wonderful creations, but soon grow to hate him due to his differences. This one, although is really quite funny on the front of it, is actually pretty sad if you're like me and tend to look at the deeper meaning of things. Edward is born with no hatred, anger or discriminatory beliefs, really he is like a newborn, unknowing of the worlds faults. It's not until the people around him start to turn against him because he's different, that he starts to understand the world he has been brought into. It just shows the cruelty of human beings and how we are taught to hate, not born into it. A real top notch movie in my opinion and severely underrated.
3. Corpse Bride
Corpse Bride is an absolute classic. It's a twisted musical, similar to others of Burtons with its characteristically gaunt characters and dark colors. Young Victor is to be married off to a not so wealthy families daughter, Victoria. Whilst rehearsing his speech in the forest, he unintentionally asks a corpse to be his bride, low and behold, Emily (the dead bride) says yes and whisks him away to the underworld. After a while, Victor starts to like Emily and feels sorry for her due to her being murdered on her wedding day for her money, but alas he cannot forget his living Victoria. Finally Emily sees how much Victor loves Victoria and lets him go, she then manages to get revenge for herself by killing her murderer, which allows her to move on into the next life. I like to think of this movie as a light hearted way of telling people, everything has a consequence. And that sometimes you have to move on otherwise you will never be happy, as shown by dearest Emily. One for the whole family.
4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleetsbridge (2007)
This here is a remake of the classic tale of Sweeney Todd, which if you didn't know, is about a young barber who is sent away to carry out a life sentence for something he didn't do. A judge basically wanted him out of there so he could get to his wife and child. When the barber escapes his imprisonment and comes back, he fully expects to find his loved ones safe where he left them, but its not to be, the Judge has his daughter as a hostage and is going to marry her! Mr Todd's neighbor, Mrs Lovett (Bonham-Carter) explains to him that his wife is dead. So out of vengeance decides to kill everyone, including the Judge. He does manage to help a young man save his daughter but alas his soul is doomed from letting Mrs Lovett put his victims in pies for her now cannibalistic pie shop. A good old fashioned story about love and loss, hard life and insanity, even a slight crumb of karma can be found in this brilliantly catchy musical. It has some hilarious one liners that you really couldn't find anywhere else but its definitely too bloody for young ones, even if it is only ketchup.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Here we have one of my all time Tim Burton favorites, its also the reason why I mentioned Christmas earlier on. Jack Skellington, a high standing master of Halloween town, accidentally discovers a portal to Christmas Town. A bit bored with the same old scare routine of Halloween, he persuades his town to take up a bit of Christmas cheer, having disastrous consequences. I'd say this was a kind of classic for Tim Burton and his personal style, being a stop motion filled with unusual looking creatures and characters. Not to mention the undoubted gloomy humor we all know his for. This is a fantastic family movie with a touch of crazy for the parents.
Another of his earliest live action movies, the story of a couple who unfortunately die and are left as ghosts in the there own home. They have to watch as new people move in to there beloved property and look into ways of trying to 'scare' the new owners away, which is when they happen upon Beetlejuice, an old trickster. The couple soon realize they've got more than they bargained for. Complete with a waiting room of unusual dead creatures, a girl who can see the ghosts and a crazy mother who has a funky taste in interior design. Not to mention all the strange creatures Beetlejuice concocts to scare away the residents. A great story which I've recently heard is to be re-made (sad face), you really can't do better than the original.
7. Alice in Wonderland
The newest re-make of lovely Alice in Wonderland where in, a young lady known as Alice falls down a rabbit hole and lands herself in Wonderland, a presumably imaginary fantasy world of hers. In Wonderland, Alice goes head to head with The Red Queen of Hearts and her minions including the dreaded Jabberwocky. Alice and her pals including the beloved Hatter, goes against the queens treacherous rule and to put the rightful ruler, The White Queen back in power. A tale of imagination, love, friendship and the power of self-belief. A beautiful and quirky imagining (on behalf of Burtons direction) of the beloved classic with an all star cast. A MUST WATCH FOR ALL.
8. Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows is a film remake of the original hit American TV show about a man who angers a witch. The witch then turns him into a vampire, locks him in a coffin and buries him. Many years later, the vampire is found and released, re-claiming his old home and with the help of his new family, he takes back his old town and defeats the witch. A brilliantly comical story with its heart warming values of family and true love overcoming all obstacles. Although it was criticized repeatedly and often deemed one of Burtons lesser creations, I still felt it was amazing from start to finish so felt it necessary to mention.
Frankenweenie is one of his newest creations, a sweet little story that has been expanded upon Burtons original short film which was created before his insane success. It follows the story of young Victor who's little pet dog Sparky unfortunately dies. Victor then finds a way to resurrect his lost pet in a Shelley type fashion. Other people in the town, in awe of Victors achievement, force him to give them the secret to the resurrection. In due course, the gift of life is abused and before you know it, everything and everyone is resurrected causing absolute chaos. It's a great re-imagining of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and I can't help but think even she would be pleased with the end result. One for the family indeed.
10. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
Another remake of a beloved classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a whirlwind of pure imagination, family bonds and ofcourse, chocolate. The story revolves around young Charlie Bucket whom manages to win a golden ticket to have a tour around the Wonka Factory by Mr Wonka himself. Charlie, unlike his other young tour companions, understands Mr Wonkas flair for the outrageous. Wonka, upon starting to like the young boy, decides to give the humble Charlie, the best gift of all. A true heartwarming tale for the entire family, again filled to the brim with Burtons glorious creations for you to revel in.
Now, I am perfectly aware that their are many, many, more wonders under the Burton name including:
-James and The Giant Peach - and absolute Burton classic.
-Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) - Lesser known Burton creations.
-Big Fish - An adult creation, still stuffed with unusual worlds and imagination.
-Planet of The Apes (2001)
- 9 - One of Burtons newer pieces, but he still continues his quirky style
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - One of my favorite re-imaginings of the great President.
- Ed Wood - An original live action for the family.
- Big Eyes - His most recent production, carries his flair for the unusual.
Tim Burton really is a master of his niche, he has created multiple surreal worlds for us to visit when the real world is just too plain. This is precisely the reason why he is one of my top Directors of all time.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and learnt a thing or two about the mysterious Burton and his works. Please like/subscribe/comment/share for more!!!