It is clear in Tim Burton’s film that he has a distinctive style with makes him an auteur, but is one of his stylistic feature the way in which he has changed the Gothic horror genre. Is this evident in his films Edward Scissorhands (1990); Sleepy Hollow (1998) Corpse Bride (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). Is there any other films that you that would fit Tim Burton’s manipulation of the Gothic horror genre?
for me tim burton is not an auteur. He is only using the Gothic genre which has been around seen the 1700’s and maybe given his films a little cheeky contemporary twist, sure his films are distinctive but anyone can make a gothic movie; black colours, castles, supernatural things and break a few taboos.
I consider Burton an auteur, yes. His oeuvre is uneven and not intellectual, but he’s an auteurs nonetheless. Not only is his audiovisual style distinctive (the Gothic element, his use of vibrant color and sharp contrasts, the playful grandiloquence of the music, etc.), but his choice of characters (alienated, misfits, sensitive, etc.) placed in hostile environments is characteristic of his work, as well as his great eye for casting based on talent and look.
Ditto Ralch. The proliferating juxtapositions—think about Edward Scissorhand’s emo-menace bringing a new depth to the bland (but prettily pastel) suburb in which he finds himself—are, for me, just one indication of his blend of auteurism. Is he my favorite auteur: no. Is he one: absolutely.
what about ‘mars attacks’?
the other theme is the relation of fathers to sons, including the surrogate(edward scissorhands, big fish, charlie, Ed Wood etc).
Mars Attack was a gigantic goof. i’d say it’s in his style though(i.e of the 00’s) in the sense that it’s bright and whimsical etc.
I think with Burton people tend to overlook his background as an animator in favor of the “gothic” thing, but to me it’s just as important—most everything he’s made—going all the way back to Frankenweenie—is a mix of certain horror tropes tempered with a sort of post-Disney, cartoonish nostalgia.
Eh, yeah, I’d call him an auteur, but begrudgingly and with a hint of malice.
MATT: i agree. he is not straight ‘goth’ in the conventional sense and that’s why a lot of people into ‘real’ dark movies don’t consider his films dark at all due to that fantasy/disney element.
i just want him to make a good film again.
-just want him to make a good film again-
I’d like to see him drop some of his conventions—Depp, his wife, Danny Elfman—and deviate from the formula a little. Whether that might lead to a good film I can’t say.
^^he sort of tried that with Big Fish didn’t he? wasn’t keen on that one
Yeah, he’s a visionary filmmaker just as Jodorowsky is a visionary filmmaker (but both have differing approaches to filmmaking). Burton has a wonderful visual to a lot of his films, even his many flawed ones.
Sleepy Hollow for instance was really the perfect subject for Burton and allowed him to indulge his recurring themes (and visual cues). It was also a flawed film (slightly), but it’s one of his best in my opinion. Along with Batman (let’s leave Batman out of this discussion though! heh), I know most people prefer Batman Returns, but I love the dreariness and overabundance of “Batman” in the first one. Ed Wood and Scissorhands are also great in their own way.
Burton is, if anything, self-indulgent and this is both a strength and weakness (as it usually is for anyone who’s self-indulgent). Lately, he’s sacrificed substance for this indulgence and his work has greatly suffered for it, but I’m sure his sensibility will recover and he’ll get back to making solid films again.
^^most people prefer Returns? that must be a recent thing. at the time they certainly didn’t ;-)
I love Ed Wood. it’s one of my favourite American films of the 90’s and Burton’s best overall imo.
Well, retrospectively people tend to prefer Returns, but yeah you’re right, at the time it was pretty much universally panned.
Sorta, yeah, but still there’s too much of the familiar—no Depp, but Helena Bonham and Elfman, etc.
Why is no-one mentioning Sweeney?
Pretty damn gothic if you ask me.
Yeah, on a strict technical definition Tim Burton is an auteur. As for his gothic elements, the brightness and nostalgia is sort of a goth element too, as goth is also as much about contrast and recognizing the light in darkness as it is brooding and being surrounded by it. See: perky goth, neon goth, gloom cookie, etc.
I always thought BATMAN RETURNS was by far the better of Burton’s Batman films, and indeed the best Batman film to date. I defy anyone to be surprised.
Yes, he’s an auteur. That doesn’t mean he is good though. Stop placing ‘auteur’ on some absurd pedastal.
Yeah, Polaris, but contemporary “goth” culture is mostly just a Disneyfication of certain strain of post-punk aesthetics.
^^damn Matt, that’s the second time you have posted something that i thought about posting but ended up deleting ;-) hehe.
that’s right. Contemporary ‘goth culture’ is false. i know you may not mean it that way, but i do. Goth is a backwards looking genre, that’s part of the romanticism. it hasn’t really changed since the 80’s and it probably never will. most of what is considered ‘goth’ in the last 15 years has simply been hybrids of different genres that have employed goth aesthetics, but you’ll find that most canon goth culture today goes back to the 80’s. The heroes are the same and haven’t changed. it’s a completely dead culture in most respects.
yeah, that’s what I meant.
all “countercultures” are false in their contemporary form. In total agreement.
I actually wrote about this last night in the Stop the Lists!. A little, DiB’s Adventures with Goths ditty. Really banal and silly.
Edit: hehe, Or; How I Learned to Stop Analyzing and Figured out that Tim Burton is Just Goth as Fuck
So instead of “gothic horror” we’re talking about goth horror?
The entire first half hour of RETURNS could cut from the movie and somehow summarized briefly, and it would play cleaner. That’s sloppy or lazy screenwriting, something that the first film doesn’t exhibit, to its credit. Then again, after that first half hour (I’m thinking the scene where Schreck finds Sabrina looking through the files onward) the storytelling really takes off till the very end.
MARS ATTACKS is good, though the beginning of the end.
Anyone else see the HANSEL AND GRETEL movie in the MoMA Tim Burton show? Everything I saw of it looked amazing.
Matt: well, yeah. The goths were goths cause they were into gothic horror; Tim Burton was into gothic horror in the same nostalgic, aesthetics way. Tim Burton makes goth movies, not gothic horror movies.
(It’s kinda funny that, in all the ways goths try to reject the mainstream and whatnot, almost as near universal as goths’ opinions get, Tim Burton is the way to go.)
When I was in high school I thought he was incredible. This happened to coincide with his best work, though, and he hasn’t improved with age.
Really his only two great films. The best thing about Batman, other than Keaton, is the score. Elfman peaked.
Beetlejuice is a close third, with Pee Wee lurking in the Alamo’s basement somewhere behind them.
“It’s kinda funny that, in all the ways goths try to reject the mainstream and whatnot, almost as near universal as goths’ opinions get, Tim Burton is the way to go.)”
nah because in the case of Burton, the goths believe they understand him on a whole different level to the mainstream audience you see!!! Goths have no problem with mainstream artists, provided they are ‘one of them’. And Tim Burton is a pretty eccentric dude, it’s not really put on. he is the geeky-goth guy that made it, and to a large extent, did it his way, and therefore someone to admire ;-)
HIs work is uneven, to be perfectly fair. There’s no excuse for botches like PLANET OF THE APES and ALICE IN WONDERLAND, or the first BATMAN. But the good stuff is more than good enough to make up for it: ED WOOD, BATMAN RETURNS, etc.
Am I really the only round here who digs SWEENEY TODD? A shame. For me probably his greatest film, a dark masterpiece and the single finest live action musical film in decades. Impeccably acted, beautifully made, with non of the weedwhacker editing that mars so many of the recent batch of musical films.
“No love at all for SWEENEY TODD, I guess. A shame.”
No, it isn’t. It’s just a decent adaptation but I’d hate to think it’s the ideal adaptation of this perfect musical. It’s just a good popcorn musical, that’s all, no magic and transgression whatsoever. Dark masterpiece my ass.
Top 5 Burton (not that it matters but really, Burton is meant to be fun, nothing serious, auteur or not)
1. Ed Wood
3. Batman (yes, fun…no “gothic” neo-shit like Corpse Bride or the overrated musical)
4. Pee Wee
Honorable mention: Batman Returns
To avoid :
1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
2. Planet of the Apes
3. Alice in Wonderland
4. Big Fish