I used to love Tim Burton movies. Now… I just don’t know. Okay, granted I still have not seen Sweeney Todd, so I can’t comment on that. I do not believe it to be a bad movie or something I wouldn’t like. I think that I will one day see it and on that day I will probably feel about it the way I have felt about the last couple Tim Burton movies. His Chocolate factory remake was cool to see on the big screen. I hadn’t seen the original since I was knee-high to a mushroom, so when everyone cringed and said how much better the original was all I could say was, ‘Aren’t originals always better?’. I still had a good time watching Depp parade around candyland feeding fat kids to midgets or whatever. Corpse Bride I ignored because I could never make it through Nightmare before Christmas, and really by that point the constant pairing of Depp and Burton, something I defended during Charlie, had begun to get on my nerves. I’m not going to dis either man here, because I still like what both do for the most part, but really?
The Tim Burton films I really love are the ones where he weaves his fairytale out of everyday life. Lately it seems he’s just so hell bent on sticking with ‘his style that it just seems a bit, oh, I don’t know, to quote Kevin Smith a bit here, ‘I’m Tim Burton and I’m weird’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Sleepy Hollow/Edward Scissorhands creepy fairytale set design but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I think the balance Mr. Burton had previously struck in the mid to late 90’s with a timeline that went from Scissorhands, to Batman returns, to Ed Wood (my favorite of his*) to Mars Attacks (my other favorite**) to Sleepy Hollow was perfect. In fact I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Sleepy Hollow – I couldn’t wait to have Burton and Depp together again in that ‘Forests of neverending fairytale’ Tim Burton set design. Now it seems like that’s all we get. With the exception of Big Fish, another of those Fairytales-From-Real-Life, Mr. Burton seems to be on infinite repeat. I’ll continue to give him the benefit of the doubt and defend the guy to greater or lesser degrees, I just won’t see what he puts out until a hotel room type situation, where it’s on and I’ve nothing better to do. Or until the mood strikes me anyway, and that probably won’t be until after another of Mr. Burton’s, to coin a wonky term, ‘Everyday Life-Yarns’ so to speak. If we ever get one.
-MILD SPOILER WARNING-
Now, to tangent a bit, Christmas day I saw David Fincher’s ‘The Curious Case…’ just as I’m sure a thousand other people here did. I’m not going to review it, I’m just going to say that this flick gave me a fix on that ‘Big Fish’ kind of fairytale and I really enjoyed having that again.
Fincher continues to be one of the most interesting filmmakers around. He reminds me a bit of Danny Boyle, in that he has no definitive style for him to rest his laurels on. ‘Benjamin Button’ absolutely had that fairytale feeling, where everything on screen seems coated by ethereal forces that give all the people and places just a little bit of an extra meaning. It’s not a perfect film – I rather agree with Devin’s point that for a movie based on the ‘if I only knew then…‘ idea it did spend a bit too much time at the beginning of Benjamin’s life and then kinda fast forwarded through those years that would seemingly be ‘perfect’ under the premise, but still, the overall idea expressed in narration with ‘There are no rules to this thing‘ was quite moving and well executed. And really, just like another epic I’ve been re-watching for a while now, Six Feet Under, Benjamin Button reminded me life isn’t always what we think it is and it’s not a good idea for any of us to rest on our laurels, whatever they may be.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying it’s super boring and pointless and really, if you felt like that you should probably not deviate from Transporter sequels or Vin Diesel vehicles.
* Scratch that, Cabin Boy, although actually only produced by Mr. Burton, may still be my fav associated with him just for the sheer ridiculousness of it and the fact that Lettermen shows up (You’re one’a those Fancy Lads…’ h, comedic gold. I love you David Lettermen, now please put the old NBC episodes of your show out on disc. I could do an entire blog on Biff Henderson’s Realm of Mystery’.
** And notice that’s 1 Depp, 1 w/o Depp if you’re keeping track