Tim Bur­ton: the Iconic Film­maker and his Work

The story of the strangest man in Hol­ly­wood, and how his eye-catch­ing films coined a new vis­ual lan­guage

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - In Depth Colour Tricks - Ed­i­tor Ian Nathan Pub­lisher Au­rum Press Price £25 Web www.quar­to­knows.com Avail­able Now

A summary of the film di­rec­tor’s ca­reer to date, whose unique vis­ual style is in­stantly recog­nis­able.

It’s packed with beau­ti­ful film stills and promo art that con­vey the Bur­ton magic

For one man to lend his name to a whole vis­ual style is a rare thing in to­day’s in­ter­con­nected world, where every­one has an opin­ion about ev­ery­thing. And yet, as this book points out, de­scribe some­thing as “Bur­tonesque” and peo­ple in­stantly know what you mean.

It’s a great start­ing point for ex­plor­ing the story of a unique in­di­vid­ual, who once gath­ered a rab­ble of kids in a lo­cal park, then in­structed them to make piles of de­bris and dig weird foot­prints in the ground. They then waited for some other kids to show up and con­vinced them that an alien ship had landed.

This well-cho­sen anec­dote is the first shot in a bi­og­ra­phy of Tim Bur­ton that tries to get the bot­tom of what makes him tick. While there are no new rev­e­la­tions in this ‘un­of­fi­cial and unau­tho­rised’ book, it does trace the tale of Tim and his films in a well­re­searched, work­man­like way that doesn’t miss out any­thing im­por­tant.

In­deed, even if this book were tex­tonly it would still be worth a read. But thank­fully it’s also packed with beau­ti­ful film stills and pro­mo­tional art that helps to prop­erly con­vey the Bur­ton magic, along with some be­hind-the-scenes pho­tog­ra­phy of the di­rec­tor at work.

After cov­er­ing his early years and en­trance into the world of film mak­ing, the book takes us, one by one, through the mak­ing of 19 of his big-screen pro­duc­tions, from Pee-Wee’s Big Ad­ven­ture to cur­rent re­lease Miss Pere­grine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren.

We learn, for ex­am­ple, how The Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas was in­spired when Bur­ton, as a boy, watched his lo­cal depart­ment store win­dow trans­form from a Hal­loween dis­play into a Christ­mas tableau; and how a pro­posed Beetle­juice sequel was planned to be a “Ger­man ex­pres­sion­ist beach movie”, set in Hawaii.

Note that this not an ‘art of’ book, so there are no prepara­tory sketches or con­cept art­works on show, un­for­tu­nately. How­ever, the im­agery through­out the book is well cho­sen and evoca­tive of the nar­ra­tive themes, plus there’s a use­ful eight-page gate­fold in the cen­tre to keep track of Tim’s film time­line.

Spe­cial touches like this, and the sump­tu­ous dark-sil­ver slip­case, give this 180-page hard­back some­thing ap­proach­ing a premium feel, al­though we do think the cover price is still a lit­tle steep for what’s on of­fer. But for Tim Bur­ton en­thu­si­asts, and film fans in gen­eral, there’s a lot to like here.

The Corpse Bride fea­tured the vo­cal tal­ents of long-time Bur­ton col­lab­o­ra­tor Johnny Depp.

It’s the bride and night­mar­ish groom… Beetle­juice brought the Bur­tonesque look to a wider au­di­ence.

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