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Auteur Study: Tim Burton
Transcript of Auteur Study: Tim Burton
Thank you for your attention!
Alice In Wonderland:
· Born in 1958 in Burbank, California
· Grew up making short films, drawing, and painting
· In 1979 attended California Institute of Arts in Santa Clarita and studied animation
· Upon graduation worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios.
o Disney fired Burton in 1984 after release of his film Frankenweenie was deemed too dark and scary for children.
· First big break was directing Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985
Three of Burton’s movies (Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) can be used as prime examples of his signature stylistic characteristics that make him an auteur. Elements that these films share in common are the misunderstood and peculiar main character, fantasy scenes and environments, and the unrealistic nature of his films.
Released in March, 2010, it tells the story of a grown up Alice at the age of 19 who returns to Underland (which she mistakenly called Wonderland as a child) by falling through the rabbit hole at her engagement party to a dull English nobleman. Upon her return, she is caught up in a war between the Red Queen and White Queen. She ultimately helps defeat the evil Red Queen by slaying the Jabberwocky and freeing Underland from her reign.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Released in July, 2005
Tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives with his family in a decrepit house, who dreams of one day providing his family with enough money to survive. When Charlie acquires the last golden ticket and is allotted the chance to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, his life takes a turn for the better. Charlie ultimately inherits Wonka’s chocolate factory and lives a life he never could have dreamed of. However, Burton’s remake of this film more closely follows the life of Willy Wonka.
• Released in December, 1990
•Tells the story of Edward Scissorhnads, the gentle and meek young man who must deal with the various pitfalls that having two pairs of scissors for hands affords an individual. As the result of an unfinished creation after his inventor’s death from a heart attack, Edward must deal with this flaw in design that makes every day routines a task for him. Complicating his life further, Edward is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with Kim, their beautiful teenage daughter.
Misunderstood Main Character
Burton often highlights a character that is either a loner, misconstrued, or an outcast
Alice defied social norms and refused to be a proper lady
Willy Wonka was an odd candy maker that had a disturbing past and relationship with his Father (a story element added by Burton - his film Big Fish also touches on his strained relationship with his father.)
Edward Scissorhands was physically different and abnormally emotional in comparison to the rest of the cookie cutter society that surrounded him.
Burton’s attraction to the misunderstood character is likely due to his own history of being the outcast, he once said "I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don’t know exactly why.”
In response to her lack of a corset and stockings, Alice is told by her mother that she is not "properly dressed."
Movie Clips: Alice In Wonderland
Edward struggles over a family dinner, unable to properly grip his food , Kevin the son makes various insensitive comments as they eat.
Movie Clip: Edward Scissorhands
Burton’s films tells stories that are
impractical in their nature.
Oompa Loompas tending to a chocolate waterfall
A man with a cookie heart and scissors for hands capturing the heart of a beautiful girl
An insane talking rabbit who serves tea
Fantasy scenes and environments
Burton uses different techniques to create the fantastical environment for his characters and audience.
In this scene Violet swells like like a blueberry as she eats Wonka's undeveloped blueberry pie flavored candy.
In this flashback scene, Alice experiences her the first time she visited Underland.
Alice's Mother: Where is your corset? And no stockings!
Alice: I'm against them.
Alice's Mother: But you are not properly dressed.
Alice: Who's to say what's proper? What if it were agreed that "proper" meant wearing a codfish on your head? Would you wear it?
Alice's Mother: Alice.
Alice: To me a corset is like a codfish.
In this dialogue between Alice and her mother Alice's strong will and refusal to conform to woman's expectations in the Victorian era become apparent in the way she goes against what her mother says.
Edward’s character is dark and sinister in both appearance and disposition. With much irony, Edward is actually an uncommonly gentle individual despite the opposite idea his appearance suggests. His scissor hands often grant him undeserved attention such as in this scene when Kevin suggests they can be used to karate chop a guys neck and asks if he can bring Edward to show and tell as if he is just an object.
Kevin: Man, those things are cool! You know, I bet they're razor-sharp. One karate chop to a guy's neck...
Peg Boggs: Kevin...! Edward... would you like some butter for your bread? Great!
Edward: Thank you.
Kevin: Hey, can I bring him to show and tell on Monday?
Peg Boggs: Kevin, I've had enough
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after trying Wonka's special yet undeveloped gum recipe that goes through the courses of an entire meal, Violet first turns blue in skin, then swells up like a large blueberry. Characteristic of Wonka, this scene is completely unrealistic and would never actually occur, but it adds to the comedy of the film.
When Alice has a flashback to her first time in Underland she is shocked to learn that all along it was not a dream but a memory, because she had in fact been there before. The scene appears very dream like with dark, muted colors and a hazy background.
Some famous Burton films include:
PeeWee's Big Adventure (1985)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Corpse Bride (2005)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
In the scene where Alice goes into the White Queen's Castle to get a potion made to make her return to normal size there are a plethora of oddities that all would never occur in the real world. Alice is larger then everyone else present in the scene, the talking hare, the gross and unusual ingredients the witch adds to the potion, the fact that after taking a sip Alice begins to shrink, and the overall concept of magic.
Alice receives the potion to make her return to normal size.