Tim Burton is a genius. His films are incredibly rich, feature memorable characters and unforgettable visuals. They also happen to be perfect Hallowe’en movies, so the choice to do [the films of] Tim Burton now was easily made. The video, however, was not. With capturing Burton’s vision, I encountered a few problems that occured in the past of this series as well. Here’s how I brought it all together, why I made two different versions and what I think Tim Burton’s films are all about.
The video opens with this shot from Big Fish and the opening notes of Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands score. Tim Burton and Danny Elfman are a gold combo so I immediately threw that in there.
Difference YouTube / Vimeo version: booty alert! I don’t consider this ‘explicit’ or anything (I’m not one of those) but it is NSFW.
Let me use this first shot of Corpse Bride as an excuse to explain why The Nightmare Before Christmas is not in here. It’s directed by Henry Selick, Tim Burton didn’t direct it himself and was only on set for about four days. That’s why.
I love this reveal. Burton always has incredibly rich environments and surrealistic worlds, which is one of the many things I love about his films.
This is done with a very simple key effect. First off, the title is keyed to white and tolerance is slowly added, so that gives it that expanding effect, and the Alice shot is duplicated and invert keyed to black, so that the branches move over the title.
Fantastic shot. I absolutely love this movie.
In one week I saw Batman Begins, Batman, Batman Returns and finished Batman: Arkham City.
Here you have my favorite Tim Burton movie, Sweeney Todd.
I like how the transition between this shot and the previous is almost seamless, it’s because of movement rhyming.
There’s not a whole lot of Planet of the Apes in there, that’s no matter of taste or anything but the material was playing hard to get with Final Cut and so I had little shots to choose from. I know, terrible excuse, but I wasn’t a big fan of the film anyway so I didn’t make a big deal out of it.
What did you expect, you’re dead!
Brilliant line (and I love this character as well) from Beetlejuice (or is it Beetle Juice?). Augustus Gloop intros here, it’s the orchestra only version from the Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Box Set.
All right, let’s shoot this f*cker.
Iconic line here, but just a tad too explicit for the YouTube version so head on over to Vimeo if you want it included. After Ed Wood my sister and I watched a few of Edward’s films, but didn’t make it past Plan 9.
There is no horseman. There never was a horseman. There never will be a horseman.
Great line, but it needed some kind of resolution (which in the Vimeo version is Uncle Vernon being decapitated) and I couldn’t find a suiting one without someone getting his head chopped off, so only in the Vimeo version.
I don’t know whether it’s the make-up, the lighting, the angle or all of the above, but Danny Devito is so fucking creepy here.
And naturally, Joker makes an appearance as well.
Changed this as well, because in the YouTube version it’s not entirely clear what Benjamin is about to do. And well. Here it’s really clear.
The last 2 minutes of the video were all edited in one day, that includes this title sequence. I was so happy when I found this perfect music.
The font of the titles is Alice in Wonderland and it’s stylized with a little embossing and color correction. I really like them.
I sped this footage up by about 100%, else it just wouldn’t work. If there’s any Batman-fanatics out there who noticed, I’m truly sorry.
This is my favorite one.
The lightning effect was done frame by frame.
Nothing’s impossible, Charlie,
Not just a great quote, also really fitting with Burton’s style.
I like how the title really looks drenched in blood.
A man tells his stories so many times, that he becomes the stories.
I put a shot of Ed here because I think his (truly) unique vision is what kept him going and even if it’s not anyone’s taste, you have to respect the man telling stories in an unique way.
This shot is shortened in the YouTube version, again for the NSFW reason.
They live on after him. And in that way, he becomes immortal.
Great line that reflects on all the filmmakers in the series: they each create something that will live on forever, even after they’ve passed. That’s really beautiful, I think, and I can only hope to be part of such a process one day.
I always save the best for last, you might have noticed I haven’t mentioned the problems I encountered yet, that’s because I wanted you to understand the video before truly exposing what I struggled with.
The problem was similar to the one I ran into with [the films of] Wes Anderson: Burton’s films are so strong in style that they magnetically click into each other, which is a blessing if you look at it wrong. I wanted to communicate how unique each movie was, not just how unique Tim Burton was, and that was tough. I eventually decided to focus more on characters and have a short stylish montage at the beginning showing Burton’s style. That way we had covered the basic and stereotype Burton-grounds (crooked trees, snowy landscapes, mist..) and could focus on deeper intentions.
I think Burton’s films are mostly character-driven. That’s also why he’s such a fan of Johnny Depp: it’s not laziness or lack of inspiration, it’s the fact that Depp is an amazing character actor (just look at Jack Sparrow, Ed Wood, John Dillinger…) and that just clicks with the way Burton wants to make his films. I have no problem with that at all and I think people using that as an excuse to call his films stereotypical are just simple. His stories work because of the way he tells them.
I can’t believe that was the tenth episode. Wow. Only two more to go, and the next one is going to be an absolute blast. I won’t reveal anything just yet, the promo I have lined up for next week will hopefully do that in the best way possible.