I respect Tim Burton’s legacy a lot and I admire what he was going for with “The Corpse Bride.” Not a lot of mainstream directors aspire to deliver movies that are more bent toward the Gothic sensibility with homages to folks like Edward Gory. Burton is a man who clearly has a love for the style, and I love it as well. Sadly, “The Corpse Bride” is a weaker approach toward the stop motion animation that Burton was mostly known for with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for a long time. The aforementioned film is so much more charismatic and entertaining than “The Corpse Bride” in the end. Granted it’s not an awful movie, but it just feels like Burton is trying to recapture the brilliance of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
IN SELECT THEATERS OCTOBER 28TH – Although Henry Selick does a damn fine job of directing what is one of the most entertaining stop motion animated films, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has Tim Burton’s stamp all over it. It’s about an outcast, a love for the Gothic and Halloween, and it’s unabashedly menacing. Though Henry Selick’s animated movie was originally touted to kids, the film is very much a dark and harrowing narrative about monsters from the Halloweentown infiltrating the Christmastown, and using the traditions and rituals to terrorize random victims. One montage even features kids getting very creepy presents like a shrunken head, and a snake. Jack Skellington is the pumpkin king who is the anti-hero that finds himself restless with Halloween and accidentally becomes the villain when he falls in love with Christmas.
The latest trailer for David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” movie just dropped and fans are excited for it (obvious Marvel bias!), mainly because it looks to be a bang up action movie with a great sense of humor. It also looks a lot like a comic book version of “The Dirty Dozen” with a bunch of scoundrels on a suicide mission and their superiors fully aware that they’re set to take the fall or die should they fail their mission. Along with the big screen versions of Killer Croc, and Deadshot coming to the film, among others, we have some classic Batman villainesses, one of whom is Harley Quinn. The long time fan favorite who made her debut in the nineties as an original creation from “Batman The Animated Series” has taken on a life of her own and is the center of the marketing for “Suicide Squad,” as she finally makes her big screen debut with Margot Robbie playing the role.
With the absolutely beautiful and sexy Robbie portraying the longtime psychotic fan girl and girlfriend of the Joker, I thought I’d run down a list of the most notable cinematic beauties from Batman’s long line of theatrical films. Since Quinn and other villains from “Suicide Squad” are Batman rogues, you can kind of almost count the upcoming film as a Batman spin off of a sorts.
Here is a list of Batman’s Cinematic Beauties ranked from My Least Favorite to Absolute Favorites. How would you rank the list?
Tim Burton’s adaptation of the comedy eighties icon is still a film that’s an acquired taste all things considered. Pee Wee begins as a slightly grating presence, but his enthusiasm eventually wins you over. Even to this day easing in to “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” is a fun and unique fantasy film with Pee Wee Herman managing to entertain with his charismatic presence, unusual voice, and still excellent dance sequence to “Tequila” in a biker bar. I remember just about every kid in the late eighties would at one point imitate Pee Wee’s dance on the pool table.
Were people actually clamoring for a big screen adaptation of a soapy daytime horror melodrama from the fifties that only hardcore horror fans know? Did we really have to have a big screen adaptation of a Gothic soap opera? It’s no wonder director Tim Burton approaches the adaptation of “Dark Shadows” with a tongue in cheek often derisive attitude. The show is obscure among the broader audiences, and even when he fine tunes the film with goofy humor and testicle jokes, it’s still so niche that not even hardcore Burton apologists will enjoy what he has to offer. Like most recent Burton productions, “Dark Shadow” is gaudy, busy, and feels like Burton going through the motions without an inch of heart injected in to the narrative.
Watching this almost twenty years ago, and again a few days ago, I am still left pondering: Who exactly did this movie appeal to? What was the niche audience? Director Tim Burton bases an entire science fiction film on specialty trading cards from the sixties, he creates a meta-alien invasion movie that throws comedy and menace at every turn, and then piles every moment of the film on with big celebrities and actors. Who exactly did this movie appeal to, but Burton?
Richard Zanuck is a man who spent most of his life living under the shadow of his father Darryl F. Zanuck, and what is most peculiar and quite riveting about Richard Zanuck’s story is that rather than trying to step out of his dad’s shadow, he embraced his father’s status and used it to his advantage. Often times we hear of someone chastising their own status as a wealthy successor, but Richard Zanuck used this fact as a means of bettering himself, and carving his own niche in the Hollywood business.
Subtlety has never been one of Tim Burton’s strong suits as a filmmaker. As a storyteller and overall director, Burton’s films rely on imagery and over enthusiastic narratives to do what he can’t as a craftsman. Oddly enough Burton is assigned to direct a remake of one of the most thematically subtle films of all time. “Planet of the Apes” is one of the most relevant commentaries on humanity and politics that has ever been brought to the big screen, and Burton never really grasps that aspect.