Monday, March 5, 2007

Tim Burton's Journey To Big Fat Bloated Hackness

Tim Burton used to be skinny. I'm guessing a buck fifty, a buck seventy-five when he was making good movies like Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. Probably at his skinniest when he made Ed Wood. He was tip-toeing around his wonderful sets, giving good direction to the likes of Michael Keaton, Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Jack Nicholson and making movies we had never seen before. Telling us things we had never heard before. He had lots of promise. But then he started hitting the jelly donuts. And the cream-filled long-johns. And burgers and fries.

Now look at the guy. What is he 230? Add an extra 10 lbs from those glasses. He's a big, fat bloated hack who treads on the grounds already traveled by others. The originality has drained from his body and been replaced by loads of trans fats. I'm talking about Sleepy Hollow, Planet Of The Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now Sweeney Todd. Remakes or re-imaginings. Whatever you want to call it, it's laziness.

There's no doubt Burton was at his best when he was amazing us with his originality. Pee Wee's Big Adventure still holds up as a great, irreverent comedy. Beetlejuice was a wonderful story with visuals to match. And while I think Batman is dated, there's no doubt Burton helped resurrect or even springboard the comic book movie. And Ed Wood was a combination of all his best talents clicking.

Now he's no more than a snappy set designer. All style and no substance. Lumbering through his sets surrounded by people still telling him he's a genius. Tapping all the regulars (Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman, creepy sets) hoping to create movie magic one more time. I'm sure Sweeney Todd is going to look amazing and Johnny Depp will get into some weird, complicated character that's going to make the studio execs nervous (that's Johnny) but we won't be told a story that hasn't already been told so many times before. It's like Burton is going through and revising history. Making it all seen through his black curly shoed eyes. And that's to assume we all want him revising, remaking or re-imaging all this stuff for us.

Not me.

I'll take my Disney Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, my 1968 Planet Of The Apes and my Gene Wilder Willy Wonka any day of the week. Thanks Tim, but no thanks. Keep your sausage fingers off my favorite stories and go make some of your own.


PIPER said...

Come on Anonymous, I know you're out there.

Anonymous said...

Baiting me now are you???? Where to begin? I loved his remakes. Remakes are warranted if they take the original and make it better. Clearly this was done with Batman, Willy Wonka, Sleepy Hollow and I’m sure he will do it with Sweeny Todd.

Tim Burton is simply misunderstood. I long for the day he will remake "Goodfellas!" Let’s just leave it at that!

PIPER said...

You're killing me anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Laziness is a state of mind. Not ofering a new view to an old though is lazines (See the Psycho remake) Giving a new spin is freedom of speech and artistic expression. I would think a man of your passion for the cinema would appreciate that!

PIPER said...

Freedom of laziness I call it.

Can you honestly say that Willy Wonka or Sleepy Hollow is a better movie than Beetlejuice of Pee Wee's Big Adventure or Edward Scissorhands?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tim Burton should migrate his talent toward a younger demographic. Kind of like Elton John or Phil Collins or Randy Newman. I know those are all music guys. But they all had their time in the spotlight, they all put on weight, and they all eventually went after kids -- a much more forgiving audience.

I loved Nightmare Before Christmas. That's just me.