With the imminent arrival of Burton’s latest movie, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I thought it as good a time as any to look back on the previous movies directed by Mr Burton!
Please note carefully, this is just the movies directed by Tim Burton, and will be focusing on his feature length movies only.
This is all my opinion, so please let me know your favourites in the comments below. I’ll also be tweeting out a poll for you to pick your favourite out of my Top 4.
With all that out the way, here’s the 8* great Tim Burton movies to get you in the mood for Miss Peregrine!
*I could’ve done a top 10, but it didn’t rhyme with great.
8. Mars Attacks! (1996)
Despite the fact I was traumatised by this film as a child, it still remains one of Burton’s best, and certainly most memorable movies. With an A-list cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox (I really could go on and on!), this zany sci-fi comedy might not have been able to compete with alien-busting blockbuster Independence Day at the Box Office (they were both released in the same summer), but it certainly demonstrated all of Burton’s madcap qualities and unique take on film-making. The effects might look incredibly dated today, but I think that is part of it’s charm, and it still makes for a very entertaining watch.
7. Frankenweenie (2012)
I’d be tempted to refer to this movie as “quintessential Tim Burton”, as it contains so many of the elements that we have come to know him best for. It’s stop motion, contains horror elements, is very aesthetically “Burton-esque”, and features the voice talents of some frequent Burton collaborators (Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau). In fact, it’s really only missing Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp! Burton aficionados will probably already know that it is in fact a feature length version of a 1984 Burton directed short film of the same name (which is well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it), and it’s rather on the dark side despite being a “kids” film. With a plot that revolves around reanimating some beloved deceased pets, it has a wonderful off-beat charm, and looks absolutely stunning in black and white as well. Maybe not as well known as some of Burton’s other animated films (both directed and ones he is associated with), but Frankenweenie is really rather wonderful, and well worth checking out.
6. Ed Wood (1994)
I discovered Ed Wood at the height of my Burton-Depp obsession, circa-2006/07, and it still ranks pretty high in both my favourite Tim Burton films, and my favourite Johnny Depp performances. Bringing to life the infamously bad real-life director in a way that is both touching and funny makes this a really entertaining watch, and additionally the wonderful performance from Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi, is truly excellent. It’s a great movie about some really, really bad movies, and easily finds it’s place among my favourite Burton films.
5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Understandably, this film isn’t for everyone, particularly those who have an aversion to films where pretty much every word is sung, but this film adaptation of the popular stage musical proved that Burton could turn his hand to the musical genre as well; albeit one which seems tailor-made for him to tackle when you consider it’s subject matter! Once again we have Depp and Bonham-Carter in the leading roles, but whilst some nay-say the fact Burton will always cast these two, I think they’re both great in their roles, and carry off the singing as well as the acting. Aesthetically it’s great once again, and I love the over the top Tarantino-esque blood splatters. The late-great Alan Rickman also crops up as the especially nasty Judge Turpin, and seeing him get his comeuppance in this movie is immensely satisfying!
4. Beetlejuice (1988)
No one does wacky quite like Tim Burton, and this is him at his absolute wackiest! Expertly mixing zany comedy with a dash of horror makes this another quintessential Burton film, and with a standout performance from Michael Keaton, I imagine this would feature highly in a lot of people’s favourite Tim Burton films. I would say, that it hasn’t aged particularly well, especially when compared to some of his other films, but it’s still immensely entertaining, and worth watching for Keaton alone!
3. Batman (1989)
And speaking of Keaton, here we have him again in a Batman movie straight from the imagination of Tim Burton! Whilst The Dark Knight trilogy is easily the best film incarnation of Batman, this 1989 version is arguably the most “comic-booky”, and Burton’s garish vision of Gotham really fits in with this comic book aesthetic. Add to this a peak crazy Jack Nicholson performance as The Joker, a particularly gravelly Michael Keaton as Batman, some good action and a whole load of fun, this film proved Burton could work his magic to create something truly unique out of something which could’ve run the risk of being formulaic. I would still consider this film to be one of the better Batman movies, and it’s still a great watch!
2. Corpse Bride (2005)
Some might be surprised to see this film so high up the list, but for me, Corpse Bride is the only Tim Burton directed movie which has come close to recreating the magic of The Nightmare Before Christmas; a film conceived and produced by Burton. Of course, nothing can beat Nightmare Before Christmas, but I adore Corpse Bride nonetheless, and it is undoubtedly the Burton film I will watch the most often. Visually it is very similar to Nightmare Before Christmas, and once again in trademark stop motion style. The songs in it are understated and beautiful, and I love the idea that the real world is grey and bland, and the world of the dead is bright and colourful. The voice cast are great, with Depp almost unrecognisable with his flawless stuttering British accent. As I am completely adverse to horror movies (I’m a big wuss!), this has become one of the staples that I watch every Halloween, which is testament to how good it is!
1. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
What else could it be?! Easily my favourite Burton-Depp movie, this has a tremendous amount of nostalgia for me, and whilst it has the trademark quirkiness and oddness, it’s actually quite a touching story, and Depp manages to pull off a great performance behind an awful lot of make-up! There’s wonderful humanity to this performance, and a character is created which is so likeable, that the audience is immediately on his side from the start, which is essential for the story to come together. I love Burton’s garishly exaggerated vision of stereotypical suburbia, and there’s some surprisingly sharp (pun definitely intended) social commentary as well, particularly around conformity in these types of neighbourhoods. There’s a nice underlying message about acceptance and not judging on first appearances as well, meaning there’s a lot more to this movie than first meets the eye.
What’s your favourite Tim Burton movie? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to look out for the Twitter poll to pick your favourite out of my Top 4!