Mid-Week Poll: Do You Like Tim Burton’s Movies?

This week’s poll was inspired by this past weekend’s Roundtable discussion, in which we asked everyone to sound off about directors who just shouldn’t make any more movies. Perhaps the most controversial selection was Dick’s choice of Tim Burton, a filmmaker who seems to inspire some divisive feelings. So, let’s put it to a vote. Do you like Tim Burton’s movies?

Once a great Hollywood wunderkind, Tim Burton’s movies have over time settled into a very specific sort of formula so aptly parodied by this College Humor video. Take an existing popular story, weird it up with wacky visuals, put Johnny Depp in the lead, and slather an interchangeable Danny Elfman score on top. For some people (like Dick), Burton’s movies have become insufferable. Nonetheless, his “reimagining” of ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ managed to gross over a billion dollars at the box office last year.

Personally, I tend to like Burton’s movies, but not all of them. Dick singled out ‘Mars Attacks!‘ as the director’s last good film, but I’d call it one of his worst. We also disagree on ‘Sleepy Hollow‘ (Dick hated it, while I love it). I liked his adaptation of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ a lot more than I expected to, and I’d call ‘Sweeney Todd‘ one of his best films.

I think everyone will agree that the ‘Planet of the Apes‘ remake was a bust. I haven’t seen ‘Alice in Wonderland’, but will admit that the trailers looked like crap.

While I understand the complaint about Burton’s films becoming repetitive and formulaic, this strikes me as a standard that we hold filmmakers to but few other artists. No one complains that Picasso painted 60,000 variations of his “Portrait of a Woman.” (Seriously, about 90% of the paintings on the walls of the Picasso Museum in Paris are versions of the same image.) And honestly, I’ll be damned if I can tell one Beethoven composition apart from another. Does this devalue their positions as great artists?

Anyway, it’s time for you to weigh in. Tell us where you stand in the poll below.

Do You Like Tim Burton Movies?

View Results

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  1. Alex

    I don’t know if this is feasible, but perhaps for this poll, we should have a series of check-boxes with all of the Tim Burton movies and then we check the ones that we like. For instance, I can’t stand the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I wasn’t wild about Sweeney Todd (just not a Sondheim fan, sue me), but you can pry the Blu-Rays for Sleepy Hollow and Batman out of my cold dead hands.

  2. Tim Burton is a legend right up there with the greats.all great directors have a clunker here n there. so he does a remake here and there but hes good enough to make it his that you don’t feel like its a remake and if having johnny deep in your movie is a bad thing , I’ll take the bad thing every time.

  3. I think Mars Attacks was weak, but it wasn’t bad. Truthfully, I think Burton just keeps getting better and better. I like most of his stuff – Planet of the Apes was good (I hadn’t seen the original when I saw it), I LOVE Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (think its his best movie), his Batman movies were good and fun, liked Alice In Wonderland (it was a preorder for me), and think Sleepy Hollow was sheer genious. Haven’t seen Sweeny Todd yet.

  4. Jane Morgan

    Tim Burton has the same limitation that a lot of movie stars self-impose. He never wants to work outside his brand. He looks for IP that he can crush into a Tim Burton movie. Ta-da!

    I loved Ed Wood. I loved Sweeney Todd. I don’t like anything else Tim Burton made. But since I belong to the Johnny Depp Fan Club I suspect I will be watching and possibly enjoying more Tim Burton movies in the future.

    I would pay ten bucks to watch Tim Burton direct Johnny Depp in Krapp’s Last Tape.

  5. I feel like if Tim Burton could do a film that wasn’t an adaptation or a remake and it didn’t star Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter he might be able to redeem himself in my eyes.

    Instead, we’re getting a full version of his short film ‘Frankenweenie.’ C’mon Timmy, you can do better than that.

    • I think Burton must have started to believe the critics who kept saying “you’re a great visual stylist but you can’t think up your own stories for shit” which is a shame since Edward Scissorhands still represents the purest distillation of his style and thematic obsessions. So from that we get all the remakes and this settling into a profitable formula. I find him extremely likeable but frustrating. At least Frankenweenie will be his first film from his own story in 20 years.

  6. BambooLounge

    I think Burton is and has been one of the most interest American auteurs of the past 20-25 years easily. The biggest detractors claim he copies himself, but really, most great directors do that, it is called a personal style. Only, Burton has a unique visual style that makes it easier for people to complain about what makes him an auteur as being “repetitive.”

    Nobody is going to complain about John Ford being repetitive because of his constantly understated camera placements (not a lot of close-ups) or for working with the same people (John Wayne, Ward Bond, etc). Burton is just easier to pick on because he is popular with some of the most annoying people on the planet (Hot Topic tweens).

  7. that1guypictures

    The only Burton film I hated was Ed Wood. Sweeney Todd, Mars Attacks and Alice are all in my top 20, and I love Batman, Batman Returns, Sleep Hollow, Big Fish, Corpse Bride and the original Pee-Wee Herman film. I can’t think of a single director that I like more consistently than Burton. For the record, I did think that Factory and Apes were letdowns, but I still own and enjoy them on blu.

  8. Shayne

    Seriously? No love for Beetlejuice? Burton has made some fantastic movies, two pieces of shit (Apes & Alice) and a handful of mediocre paycheck films, but the fact remains that he CAN make fantastic films. Yeah, Johnny is reliably great, and these roles are the only reason Helena touches your penis, but seriously Tim… Move on.

  9. that1guypictures

    @ Josh Zyber….I’ve had Charlie on Blu for since early last year. I imported it from the UK, region free from Warner, with Losless Dolby True HD audio. I can even take a picture if you like. I also did own the HD-DVD up until I sold my player. Rights issues are holding up the Blu-ray release in the US. (The Blu-ray contains about 1 extra minute of the musical number Augustus Gloop, and an extra dialog exchange during a hallway scene.)

      • Didn’t see this post when I posted my link earlier. Makes sense. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlie-Chocolate-Factory-Blu-ray-Highmore/dp/B001SHTWS0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1287668389&sr=8-1 Importing Blu-Rays from the UK though with Amazon is kinda tricky, I have found the best bet is to use a third-party seller. It helps if its used – apparently there is no restriction on the exporting of used discs – or at least that seemed to be true with DVDs. Many sellers would slit open the plastic wrap, then declaire on the customs sticker that they were used. So if you import, you need to find a seller willing to do that, or a friend who lives in Europe willing to do that for you. Unless you guys know of another way.

          • Huh, I’ll have to try again. I tried ordering a few HD-DVDs directly, and they refused to sell. Had to buy from third party used – Amazon prevented me from buying new even from a third party. And HD-DVDs are all region free, if I remember right.

            Amazon.fr and Amazon.de are worse – certain language discs (may not be true on all discs)they will only distribute to countries that speak those languages. Luckily, I got friends who live in Switzerland.

          • Josh Zyber

            That’s weird. I’ve never had that experience with any division of Amazon. I’ve sometimes gotten a warning that I should be aware of region coding before confirming the order, but they’ve never actually prevented me from buying any movie software if I click through the warning.

            Electronics hardware they won’t ship internationally, but I’ve bought many region-coded DVDs and Blu-rays from the various branches of Amazon in Europe.

          • Huh. Well I will certainly try again – there are quite a few discs I would like to import. You had any experience with amazon.jp?

            I order books from Amazon.co.uk all the time, and its like the one thing I don’t have issues with. I am the geek who has to have the Harry Potter books in the US versions, the UK Children’s versions, and the UK adult versions, and will actually read them side by side sometimes looking for text differences. 🙂

          • Josh Zyber

            I haven’t ordered from Amazon JP, mostly because they don’t have an English-friendly version of the site. I can navigate through the French and German branches adequately enough, but the Japanese one is just too inconvenient for me.

            When I order Japanese discs, I usually do so from yesasia.com, cdjapan.co.jp, or hmv.co.jp.

  10. I haven’t enjoyed any of Burton’s remakes (Planet, Charlie and Alice) and it is hard to decide which I dislike the most. How much of this is because I have seen the originals, Planet ended was awful and made no sense but the rest of the film was much better. Charlie had a few good scenes but for me these we the exact same scenes as the original. As for Alice I’ll just stick to the cartoon.
    I’ve seen Big Fish, I kinda of enjoyed I just felt that ending was better than the rest of the film.
    I do own Batman, Bettlejuice, Mars Attack and Sleepy Hollow, so I guess I’m a pre-2000 Burton fan!