Previously, I’ve listed the works by Steven Spielberg and David Fincher and the Disney animated features each in the order of my personal ranking. Now I’m going to explore the films directed by the King of Darkness, that is, Tim Burton.
13. Alice In Wonderland (2010)
If there is a worst film that Tim Burton directed, it’s this one; the Michael Bay of his works. “Wow, gigantic blockbuster!” That doesn’t make it great, does it? “Watch me, watch me” Well I would if there was a better way to sequelise Lewis Carroll’s story and if Helena Bonham Carter portrayed a less overacted and downright irritating queen of hearts. I remember going to see this movie, because I was really impressed with how Steven Spielberg made a sequel to the Peter Pan story, hence Hook. That was great. This one was and shall remain a disappointment. Kids, if you want a film based on the novel, stick to the Disney cartoon.
Other films: Review me!
Jon: Alright, I’m coming!
12. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005)
A much better effort with the story, but I’m still encountering script-problems. For a start, nobody is stupid enough to know the difference between violet and blue. Very artistic and colourful settings, but life would be sweeter if somebody got rid of them yucky songs. That would at least take the horrid taste away.
11. Planet Of The Apes (2001)
One of the most hated remakes, but to be honest, I don’t hate this movie. I kind of like the idea of setting the film a time period earlier than the 1968 original and with different characters. After all, it’s a remake; what do you expect? Some of it does drag and it isn’t as memorable as the other one, but surely, Planet Of The Apes can’t be all bad. I probably should give this another watch, because I only saw the film once.
10. Big Fish (2003)
Big Fish is another film which I only saw once and feel that I may need to give another view. However, I can remember how great it was. It was like seeing Tim Burton’s version of Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. Maybe other impressions are different, but that’s the impression I got.
9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)
Since the mid-1980s, live-action musicals seemed to be going downhill. Personally, the 1986 version of The Little Shop Of Horrors was never my cup of tea, nor do I like Moulin Rouge. However, The Commitments is great and I quite like the Blues Brothers sequel. Sweeney Todd is one of those musicals I actually do like. The songs are quite cool and the music is horrifying enough to give us the crepes, er I meant to say creeps. Johnny Depp gives a wicked performance of a barber who wants revenge on a guy who mistakenly transported him to Australia. The colours are very Schindler’s List/Sin City. They contribute to the haunting London atmosphere. Helena Bonham Carter’s acting can be a little annoying at times, but hey, at least she can speak with a cockney accent.
8. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Some of you may remember Walt Disney’s The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr Toad. The last section was based on the same story as this film. You definitely saw the headless horseman, but not until the ending. The rest of it dragged and dragged and was as forgettable as most of Disney’s features released between 1942-49. Tim Burton’s version, on the other hand, is like that, but different; it’s much more than that. It is a squid-zillion times better! Need I say more.
7. Batman (1989)
This famous caped crusader based movie hailed Tim as the King of Darkness. This was the beginning of not only the franchise which ended with the rather corny Batman & Robin, but a new beginning of Batman in general, a darker edge to the man himself. I mean no offense to the 1966 film version, because I love that one so much. But Tim Burton uses his black magic to recreate the guy and also the streets of Gotham City. Jack Nicholson’s performances in films such as the Little Shop Of Horrors (1960) and The Shining most certainly paid off; I like his portrayal of the Joker better than Heath Ledger’s portrayal.
Another Michael Keaton movie. This time, he is the villainous midget who lives in a model city. Without a doubt, it’s hilarious. I reckon Tim should be crowned not only the king of darkness, but also the king of comedy. If that wasn’t enough, there is a fantastic soundtrack with a glorious taste; so what if there’s no chocolate?
5. Batman Returns
Batman is awesome, but Batman Returns is badasssss! Michael Keaton returns as the caped crusader, who returns to fight two new enemies; the Penguin and Catwoman. My god, look at the way Michelle Pfeiffer licks her own body. Man, Danny DeVito seems to have adopted a Dustin Hoffman kind of talent; you’d hardly recognise him as the penguin. Well, apart from his height. The sequel is much more darker as probably many Batman fans would expect. There’s also detailed back-stories from the villains; the Penguin is disposed of by his parents at a very early age (charming!), it must be a pretty sad life for poor Oswald. Catwoman and Batman have a secret love for each other. So I guess we do feel a lot of empathy for the villains as well as the title character.
4. Mars Attacks!
Some people hate Ed Wood’s movies and B-movies. But the hate seems to be dying down, because once upon a time there lived a boy who saw that stuff a different way and that boy was Tim Burton. Thus began the entertaining tribute to the many ‘badly-made’ movies that is Mars Attacks. Mars Attacks is a more ‘modern’ version of Plan 9 From Outer Space. Sure it’s cliched; by that, I mean the aliens are not so different and they use funny-sounding laser guns and there’s the alien attacks which occur after a misunderstanding, but so what? Bearing in mind that it is a comedy and it does make fun of them things. And it does it so brilliantly, you could not cease giggling through this experience.
Danny Elfman’s score is solid. Even the all-star cast is impressive; Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J Fox, Natalie Portman, Tom Jones? How did Tim manage to gather all them celebrities in one movie?
3. Corpse Bride
You and your Victorian English settings Tim, lol! But still, there’s more to it than just the simple recurring theme. Unlike When Harry Met Sally, Corpse Bride is one of the most unique romantic movies ever to be produced. Victor Van Dort is arranged to be married to Victoria Everglot. They immediately like each other, but Victor is nervous about his wedding and practices his vows, only to accidentally marry a corpse named Emily, causing further difficulty.
There’s no denying that this film is one of the most stop-motion animated features of all time along with The Nightmare Before Christmas and those by Aardman, though James & The Giant Peach, I can shove up my ass. The stop-mo figures are part of the symbols to comedy genius; including the bizarre height differences between Victoria’s parents. The cinematography answers a lot to Tim’s dark side. If you look at the two different settings; the London setting and the underworld, you’ll notice how much the color adds to the art.
I repeat, Tim Burton is the king of comedy and darkness.
2. Ed Wood
There was the Elephant Man, there was Raging Bull, there was Schindler’s List, and here’s another black and white film; Ed Wood.
Ed Wood is a biographical film based on Edward D Wood Jr, who many consider as the worst film directors of all time. I don’t blame them, but I can’t seem to hate his works one bit. That’s why sometimes, I wonder if I’m turning into Tim Burton, because he doesn’t seem to hate Ed Wood either. And that’s probably why this film explores a sympathetic yet hilarious view on the director himself. We come across the various production problems Ed came across when it came to directing that we can all understand; budget cuts, faults with animatronics, re-casting, very little time to re-shoot, Ed Wood demonstrates how cheerfully unaware Ed was that he had no talent in directing, but demonstrated more skill in bizarre back-up plans and a high awareness that ‘time is money’.
Ed Wood is a brilliant example of how not to direct a film and I ain’t referring to Tim.
1. Edward Scissorhands
And we’ve hit the jackpot! I know Johnny Depp is pretty good in his later movies too, but I personally think he’s best in this one. He of course rabbits on much less considering he’s playing a man-made boy. It’s like he’s a regular Arnold Schwarzenegger! There’s a fair amount of humour (I already explained about the comedy talents) which is quite relaxed, meaning that the elements don’t try too hard to be funny. Check out the various topiary statues Edward models and them hair-styles, oh and when Kim’s boyfriend Jim banishes him, how he turns on every resident.
There is also a lot of drama involved; the Boggs family feel deep sympathy for Edward, considering how his hands are made entirely out of blades and he experiences difficulty with his touch sense. Other characters take advantage of him, which is quite similar to the way Stromboli treats Pinocchio. Jim uses Edward to commit a robbery and leaves him to get arrested. Joyce, a hairdresser, seduces him and then spreads untrue rumors that he raped her. There are a lot of things Edward encounters that he has yet to learn about the world, but they turn against him, leading to a final showdown between him and Jim and a finale that literally sparked tears to my eyes. I ain’t kidding, without giving anything away, I cried at the ending.
Edward Scissorhands is without a doubt Tim Burton’s best feature film ever. Now I said he was the king of comedy, though there are a lot of other people with the same title, so I can’t fight over it now.
But in the meantime, all hail, Tim Burton, king of darkness!
Oh yeah, and here are a few films I have yet to see;
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure