Tim Burton

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domino harvey
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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#51 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:05 pm

"Tell them I hate them" is one of the all-time great Futurama quotes

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#52 Post by djproject » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:47 pm

Honestly, it's an apples and oranges situation for me. I like both Stuart's and Burton's for completely different reasons. They both have their charms and their flaws but in the end, they both satisfy me.

I grew up with Stuart's (obviously) so there is a slight nostalgia factor. While I enjoyed it, I was not the biggest fan of the songs save for "Pure Imagination" and their take on "Candyman". Looking back on it now, I feel as if the songs were what stop it from being seen as a more "realistic take" on the Wonka factory. In fact, the sections I like the most now are the little vignette scenes where various people perform situations involving finding golden tickets in Wonka bars from a therapy session to a computer demonstration and even a kidnapping involving ransom. The five children feel more like real children where they are not entirely bad but just strongly misguided. Also Charlie Bucket seems more like a real kid where even though he's good-natured in the end, he's not without his flaws. Wilder's Wonka has an air of the pragmatic, considering he oversees a factory involving Oompa-Loompas and making various contraptions like the Everlasting Gobstopper and Fizzy-Lifting drinks. There's imagination but also wisdom. And yes, it is very informed by the 1970s =D

Burton's I could tell was following the book more closely and making it completely distinct from Stuart, which to me is the best kind of remake (doing its own thing without callbacks to what was done before ... or if there are, it's extremely subtle). The whole story is a fable and thus the children are much more extreme in their characteristics and not real children. Thus the four are really irritating and obnoxious. But as a result, Charlie is *way* too good-natured for even a kid to pull off. Depp's Wonka is very much an eccentric creative/magician. Though I wonder if the whole backstory - which I *think* was a creation for this film - of a father who disapproves of his interests was a bit of a detriment to the character since what you could see is a bit of resentment. Wonka, from what I could surmise from the book, is a creative genius who fosters the power of a child's imagination and yet is not one to suffer fools (especially when it's children).

Again, each has their strengths and weaknesses. But they clearly do their own thing - and even with the flaws, it succeeds - and thus can be seen as two distinct works that should not negate each other.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#53 Post by Feego » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:01 pm

Jumping in with my two cents, I generally liked most of Burton's version, but (to paraphrase Roger Ebert), I hated, hated, hated Johnny Depp's performance. This to me truly did mark the point at which Depp stopped inhabiting characters and just started being weird for the sake of being weird. His accent, mannerisms, facial expressions and overall deranged demeanor never added up to a fully realized character. They just seemed like bizarre acting tics, and I was never able to get passed the fact that I was watching an actor. For that reason, I've never been able to recommend it, even though I find the art direction inspired and the rest of the cast terrific (though I didn't particularly care for Deep Roy playing all of the Oompa Loompas either).

I grew up watching the Wilder version, and while I would never have gone so far as to call it a masterpiece or a personal favorite, watching the Burton version actually made me appreciate it so much more. The original, for my money, is actually much darker than Burton's film. While Wilder's Wonka does go kind of sappy and sweet at the end, that ironically makes his callousness and perhaps even delight at the bratty kids' demises earlier even more horrifying. That this man who is capable of exhibiting warmth and affection can also gleefully put children in harm's way makes him a more complex and frightening figure than Depp's manic cartoon. I also hated that the later version pretty much spells out that Wonka has orchestrated each child's comeuppance, while the original left it more ambiguous.

The parents in the original film are also an unsung strength for me, and as an adult, I love watching their interactions with each other and their reactions to what's happening to each others' kids. Again, it all comes down to how they are depicted. Burton's version gives us rather one-dimensional caricatures (take Violet Beauregard and her mother, who wear matching jumpsuits and are basically the same character at different ages). In the original, the parents come across as irresponsible but basically normal people who allow their greed to overcome human compassion (they become less and less horrified by the children's fates as the film progresses). I can't remember if I read it here or on anther forum, but I once saw someone jokingly suggest a double feature of Willy Wonka and Salo. It's an extreme suggestion, to be sure, but it's not without a point.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#54 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:17 pm

A lot of brown stuff, that's for sure.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#55 Post by beamish13 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:19 pm

I felt strange being the only person in the theatre laughing at the acid trip joke from the Burton version. Another thing I also liked about it was the Indian prince story being utilized. On the whole, though, it wasn't very good, and much of the CGI looked awful, particularly in the ending.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#56 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:34 pm

I definitely remember that waxy sheen along with Depp's absurdly white teeth and vampire makeup - it definitely felt like a product of its era, of a piece with those dreadful live action Dr. Seuss adaptations

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Feego
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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#57 Post by Feego » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:05 pm

The waxy sheen seems to be Burton's M.O. these days, turning up in his versions of Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland as well. Quite a 180 from the tactile makeup designs in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Today, all of his characters look like CGI.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#58 Post by beamish13 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:09 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I definitely remember that waxy sheen along with Depp's absurdly white teeth and vampire makeup - it definitely felt like a product of its era, of a piece with those dreadful live action Dr. Seuss adaptations
Funny you should bring up The Cat in the Hat-it was the sole directorial outing of production designer Bo Welch, whose spectacular work on Batman Returns still gobsmacks me. It's beyond fucked-up and incompetent, but I proudly keep a DVD of it. :D
Feego wrote:The waxy sheen seems to be Burton's M.O. these days, turning up in his versions of Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland as well. Quite a 180 from the tactile makeup designs in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Today, all of his characters look like CGI.
I *hated* how the stop-motion in the truly abysmal Corpse Bride was meant to look like CGI with its total reduction in facial motion blur.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#59 Post by Roscoe » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:15 am

For me the deal breaker with the Burton film was the tacked-on PRO-FAMILY coda, the heavy-handed moralizing about the importance of family, with Charlie helping Wonka mend fences with his own father who has been shown in flashbacks to be a cold-hearted dentist who won’t allow the young Wonka to eat candy or pursue his dream of being a candy maker. After the reconciliation, we are told that Wonka repeats his offer of the chocolate factory, and Charlie says yes this time, on condition that his family comes with him, to which Wonka assents.

The problem is that the big Pro-Family message of the film has nothing to do with the film itself. Mike Teavee, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt and even the apparently single-parented Violet Beauregard all come from families, too, and all are ghastly, largely because of the families they have who either encourage their worst qualities or do nothing to curtail them. Wonka’s own family life (elements of which are shoe-horned in to the plot solely to create a final reconciliation between father and son) has been a disaster.

The final scene of the film is very curious: Wonka and Charlie arrive in the Bucket family home after a hard day’s work, Wonka is asked to stay for dinner, the table is spread with family dinner trimmings like turkey, side dishes, etc. The camera pulls back though a broken window, and it is revealed that the Bucket family home has been transported as is, holes in the wall and poor but honest squalor and apparently permanent winter intact, to the Chocolate Room in the Wonka Factory. This has always bothered me. Why the giant salt-shakers pouring snow over the house? Why is the great free-flowing chocolate river, a marvelous symbol of Wonka’s demented creativity, shown to be frozen over? Why are the Buckets kept living in that collapsing house? If Wonka can keep his factory extra warm for the Oompa Loompas, why does he make it cold for the Buckets? And where is Dr. Wonka in this sudden orgy of frozen domestication?

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#60 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:23 am

I watched the Burton film again for the first time in a long while and listened to his commentary. Some of the CG looks pretty dated, particularly the animated opening titles, which look like something you'd find in a cheap TV commercial. Granted CG animation is always advancing, but even the oldest Pixar films still hold up in the way they look.

Beyond that, this was still wonderfully strange and entertaining stuff. What's especially bizarre is the "beauty treatments," or rather how they're used. It's not unusual for a big budget film or TV show to do a little CG on an actor's face to hide any blemishes or signs of aging - it's especially apparent in movies that de-age stars, but it's more prevalent as a digital face lift of sorts. Burton does that here, but he purposely goes too far with it, making characters look like overgrown toys with a plastic sheen over their faces. And it's only Wonka and the children (except Charlie) who get this treatment - every wrinkle, liver spot and blemish on every parent's face is seen with complete clarity. It kind of threw me because for a second, I though this was a seriously de-grained picture, but then he'll cut between close-ups of a parent and a child, or better yet have both in near close-up in the same frame, and it becomes obvious what's really happening. It's in line with the cheeky but dark and bizarre humor that runs through the entire movie.

The most revealing detail added to the original story comes near the end, when Charlie sees those clippings on the wall. Burton actually took that from his own life. It's not a straight lift - it would've been too maudlin if it played out the same way - but he mentions that his parents were pretty distant, and shortly before his mother passed away, he paid a visit to her home. He was surprised to see the posters for his own movies covering the walls, enough that it nearly brought him to tears. I'm not sure if he talks about his parents very much, but this is the first time I've heard him talk about them within the context of his work.

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Re: Tim Burton

#61 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:34 pm


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Re: Tim Burton

#62 Post by knives » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:39 pm

I like Big Eyes.

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Re: Tim Burton

#63 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:03 pm

Asshat wrote:...he really thought he had turned a corner with Big Fish, only to take eight steps backward with Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice In Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, Big Eyes, and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.
Whoever wrote that is a schmuck. Four of those are at least good (and Dave Kehr would add a fifth with Big Fish which he liked a lot). Two are terrible (though one of them was a gigantic hit), one I haven't seen and Big Eyes is okay - another shallow biopic but at least the two leads are excellent. And I haven't seen Sleepy Hollow but that was pretty well-reviewed too.

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Re: Tim Burton

#64 Post by Timec » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:08 pm

I loathed Dark Shadows, so I’ve skipped everything he’s made since then. Of his other 2000s films, however, I do like Sweeney Todd a lot—though I admit my attachment to the source material may cloud my judgment a bit.

Charlie was also a lot of fun when I saw it in high school—but in spite of still finding lots of things to like about it, Depp's bizarro performance kind of kills the whole thing for me when I try to watch it now.

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Re: Tim Burton

#65 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:18 pm

I dig it - it is weird and hilariously flaky. Burton's movie believes this is the kind of guy who'd be obsessed with candy in this way. It's not a complete fairy tale because it's a twisted reflection of a twisted world that's only gotten stranger.

I wasn't familiar with Sweeney Todd going into the film, but I thought it was pretty good. As luck would have it, I met Sondheim several years later, around 2011, and he mentioned he was very happy with how that film turned out - it's possible it may have been his favorite film adaptation of his work.

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Re: Tim Burton

#66 Post by Big Ben » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:55 pm

Burton isn't a bad director but he for a time really relied on his eccentricities a bit too much. Sweeney Todd is weird certainly but it fits within his sensibilities without being ridiculous like Alice in Wonderland. I mean he's even capable of doing rather straight laced stuff like Ed Wood or Big Fish. But then you have films like Planet of the Apes and that just speaks for itself.

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Re: Tim Burton

#67 Post by Cremildo » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:15 pm

Of course, The Onion is not to be taken seriously, but the piece falls flat even as satire because in no way, shape or form are 'Sweeney Todd' and 'Corpse Bride' generally considered bad movies. It comes across as uninformed, not funny.

(I happen to enjoy Burton's 'Chocolate Factory' a lot, but that's admittedly a minority opinion.)

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Re: Tim Burton

#68 Post by Big Ben » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:21 pm

I confess Burton's Factory creeps me out. I'm all down for eccentric weirdos but Depp's performance is unintentionally creepy in my opinion. No doubt he didn't want to emulate Wilder's version but I recall thinking when I first saw Burton's film how unsettling I found it.

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Re: Tim Burton

#69 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:32 pm

Cremildo wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:15 pm
(I happen to enjoy Burton's 'Chocolate Factory' a lot, but that's admittedly a minority opinion.)
For a short awhile, I actually thought it was universally liked. I was living in Illinois at the time and both Michael Wilmington of the Tribune and Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader loved it. Wilmington gave it 4 out of 4 stars, calling it better than the Disney adaptation, and to this day Rosenbaum argues that it's Burton's masterpiece, the one time he completely lived up to the promise of Beetlejuice (though he's liked many of his other films in between as well). When I finally saw it in a shopping mall multiplex, much of the packed house applauded - it's possible it was even a standing ovation (albeit a brief one, maybe for about 5 seconds) when the lights came up. That was the first time I ever witnessed that in a movie screening, back when I generally went to the mall to see movies. I was struck by how common it was to applaud at a film when I moved to NY, but it definitely wasn't common where I grew up.

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Re: Tim Burton

#70 Post by knives » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:20 pm

Disney one?

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Re: Tim Burton

#71 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:25 pm

Here's a fun take: Tim Burton has not made a good film since Pee-wee's Big Adventure. No, I won't be accepting follow-up questions at this time.

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Re: Tim Burton

#72 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:29 pm

knives wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:20 pm
Disney one?
Hah, felt like the kind of thing Disney would make, but it's actually Paramount.

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Re: Tim Burton

#73 Post by Brian C » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:19 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Here's a fun take: Tim Burton has not made a good film since Pee-wee's Big Adventure. No, I won't be accepting follow-up questions at this time.
I wouldn’t go this far, but one of the disillusionments of growing up for me has been realizing how much I overrated Burton when I was young.

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Re: Tim Burton

#74 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:21 pm

Beetlejuice holds up best for me. Maybe Tim Burton is like Bright Eyes albums, in that lots of people have one they fervently like more than all the others even though they're not all that different

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Re: Tim Burton

#75 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:57 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:21 pm
Beetlejuice holds up best for me. Maybe Tim Burton is like Bright Eyes albums, in that lots of people have one they fervently like more than all the others even though they're not all that different
Hah, spot on analogy - I don't think there's a strong consensus on the best Burton film. Ed Wood probably has a slight edge, but I know I'm not the only one who doesn't rank it among his very best works. (It's good, but a little disappointing in its shallowness - maybe it's the script because the same screenwriters did Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon and Big Eyes and they all feel pretty thin, like they're barely scratching the surface of their subjects.)

I'd say Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas (which is his film as much as Selick's, if not moreso) are his best films, mainly because it's impossible to imagine them without Burton. All three came during his peak years, leading up to Ed Wood or Mars Attacks!, and the rest of those features are adaptations (or films based on real-life people or fully realized characters from elsewhere like Pee-Wee Herman).
Brian C wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:19 pm
One of the disillusionments of growing up for me has been realizing how much I overrated Burton when I was young.
How highly did you rate him? He's always had shortcomings as a filmmaker - even his best films like Beetlejuice have some pretty awkward choices in his direction. He doesn't strike me as a master of cinematic language, but nearly all of his films are very striking to look at and they have a distinct personal stamp. It may seem limited over the course of a large body of work, but for the nice run of films I mentioned, it was enough to put him ahead of most of his contemporaries in Hollywood. If I had to make an argument for his legacy, the only filmmaker I could compare him to is Walt Disney. Maybe Terry Gilliam because their strengths are so similar, but I lean towards Disney simply because he did a lot to re-shape mainstream family entertainment, at least when I was growing up. His influence was even more distinct than Spielberg, who never seemed that removed from Disney's sensibility.

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