The Movie Style of Tim Burton
This paper was prepared for Academic Skills for Graduate Students 084, Section A, taught by Professor Zhylin. Timothy Walter Burton was born in 1958, in Burbank, California, the media capital of the world. When Burton was a child, he was surrounded by filmmakers, actors, great studios and people from all over the world that gave him plenty of opportunities to know more about movies. He preferred science fictions and horrible stories when other children were crazy about Mickey Mouse. He is person with a lot of ideas and imagination, which are pure and beautiful. When watching a Tim Burton movie, the feelings are just like putting oneself into one of Burton’s dreams. Burton made many movies based on his childhood experience, such as Frankenweenie, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Audiences can easily recall their childhood memories by watching his movies. Some people think he is crazy because most of his films are dark and thriller that give audiences lots of strong visual impacts. Some people, on the contrary, consider him a genius because of his unique imagination and directing style. Although people have different opinions about his movies, most of his films got many compliments and prizes from critics. As a successful film director, producer and writer, Burton has made a huge sum of money at the box office through his wonderful movies. The films that he directed have taken $3,628,300,000 (unadjusted for ticket price inflation) at the box office worldwide and the films he produced have made $1,136,600,000 (“Tim Burton,” 2012). As one of the most successful directors in the world, the inspirations of childhood imagination and unique directing style give Burton the ability to describe the characters in a particular way, which often take place in a wonderland. The distinctive movie style, which involves black comedy, exaggerated visual style and the unique expression of characters makes him different from other directors.
Black comedy is one of the most notable styles of Burton’s movies because it is commonly used in his movies. One’s directing style can be formed in many ways such as one’s childhood imagination, the worship of other director, one’s personal experiences and so on. Obviously, there are some factors that influence Burton’s movie style of black comedy, as Maddartist (2010) stated, “Tim Burton’s love for all things macabre, dark and bizarre has highly influenced the visual style of his films” (para. 1). Burton likes presenting his strange imaginations to audiences and most of them are horrible and scared, but some of these characters’ hearts are pure and kind. Many Burton’s movies have proved Maddartist’s opinion about black and white, horror and fantastic. The majority of his films contain this kind of element, which I think it is truly one of Burton’s directing styles, and the perfect example is his first film, Vincent. In the movie, Burton shows us a boy, named Vincent, who loves the horror movie actor Vincent Price and the world the boy imagined.
The film, Vincent, is only about 6 minutes long, but it shows a lot about Burton’s movie style. As McMahan (2005) wrote, Burton used a “very creative combination of 2-D cel animation and 3-D stop-motion animation” (para. 6) to describe the story of Vincent. The film was shot in black and white and is filled with many kinds of shapes. The main character, Vincent, like Burton, loves horror and science fiction so much that he is very different from other children around him. According to the movie, he always stays at home and locks himself in his room reading horrible stories. After reading the stories, he began imagining that he became the actor of the stories and went out of his room seeking someone to attack. The film expresses his imagination extremely well, an imagination in which he can do everything he wants and shows his thoughts in the...
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