Let’s Talk Burton

Am I the only one who gets mildly offended when movies are marketed based on their producer instead of their director? Because seriously; it’s pretty offensive. False advertising is enough to make any consumer feel stupid when the curtain is pulled back.

The most obvious example I can think of here is the ever-popular Tim Burton. He developed a cult following succeeding his productions “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands” in the 1980s. Recently he has been involved in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland” and the film adaptation of the 1960s soap opera “Dark Shadows.” But what do we all really know him for, if we’re going to be honest?

“The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

This movie debuted in 1993 – this means that my entire life, I grew up assuming that the characters that I so loved (misunderstood Jack and sympathetic Sally) had been directed under the care of Tim Burton. I watched his short films. I fell in love with him, and like so many others, I fell prey to obvious marketing schemes.

“Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” does not in fact mean that Tim Burton directed it. No, he just gave the studio the money to make it. Which is great! Money made it possible, sure, but the true directing genius came from none other than Henry Selick (the director of “Coraline” and “James and the Giant Peach”). Needless to say, I felt pretty duped when I found out, not to mention betrayed and a little sickened to know that my childhood idol was a sham.

I suppose that shouldn’t take away from Burton’s films, but really: after “Alice in Wonderland,” I’m not sure that he has any artistic merit left. He very clearly sold out to Disney, and even though he’s trying to return to his own with “Frankenweenie,” I personally don’t hold much faith in it. He had some good ideas in his prime that were successful, but instead of coming up with anything truly ‘new,’ he is clinging to past successes as well as the fame of his own name.

 

It’s almost sad. I can’t help feeling at least a bit of pity for him; a washed-up artist is a sight that no one wants to see. At least he’s not starving, I guess. He probably makes more in a year than I will in my entire life. But his salary doesn’t redeem him in any way.

 

I just really miss respecting directors as artists, but with all the skewed marketing that goes on nowadays, it’s difficult to give proper credit in the first place. IMDB is just a click away, but a little more honesty all around couldn’t be a bad thing, could it?

 

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Burton

  1. Burton is known for using recurring collaborators on his works; among them are Johnny Depp, who has become a close friend of Burton since their first film together; musician Danny Elfman, who has composed scores for all but five of the films Burton has directed and/or produced; and domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter. He also wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009.`

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  2. I think the reason that the title has Tim Burton in it is because the original story was written by Tim Burton. He wrote the poem “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” the original characters were his, he had a lot of input into the songs and the script. It is technically, his movie, and although he did not have time to direct it and so he asked Selick to do so, it technically is still his and therefore having his name on it makes sense.

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