Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker And His Works: Unofficial And Unauthorised by Ian Nathan (book review).

October 7, 2016 | By | Reply More

We’re all familiar with most of director Tim Burton’s films and know his odd reputation for the bizarre. Reading his back story in Ian Nathan’s book ‘Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker And His Works: Unofficial And Unauthorised’, other than an absence of comicbooks in his background, he is very much as geeky as any of us. His taste in film-making even goes back as far as school and left me wondering why no one has thought to release these collectively as they did win awards. Considering his original ambition was to be an animator at Disney, Burton was spotted early enough to be re-directed into other work that led to direction and the studios wanting to use his talent. It also presents a good argument that directors need to present the material in their own way than necessarily conform to the ‘norm’.

tim-burton-front-cover tim-burton-slipcase

The one obvious thing that comes out of Nathan’s text is how much Tim Burton uses his films as a framework to relate things from his own childhood. The fact that it resonances with so many of his viewers, that’s some of us reading here, does tend to suggest that it is very much a shared experience. Considering the number of times Johnny Depp stars in his films, I have to agree with Nathan that he really is Burton’s screen alter-ego. Oddly, Burton relies on scriptwriters and tweaking than other directors of his calibre who tend to write their own scripts. Burton admits he doesn’t have much of a reading habit which might explain some lacking in plotting but in film it seems to have found his mark. It might just indicate that there is an innate understanding of plot in some people. From a director’s point of view, their job is often to bring style to script and its scriptwriting directors that are the rarity. Burton just brings a lot more gothic style than most.

Title: NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE ¥ Pers: BURTON, TIM ¥ Year: 1993 ¥ Dir: SELICK, HENRY ¥ Ref: @NI001AF ¥ Credit: [ TOUCHSTONE/BURTON/DI NOVI / THE KOBAL COLLECTION / ANINAS, ELIZABETH ]

Title: NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE ¥ Pers: BURTON, TIM ¥ Year: 1993 ¥ Dir: SELICK, HENRY ¥ Ref: @NI001AF ¥ Credit: [ TOUCHSTONE/BURTON/DI NOVI / THE KOBAL COLLECTION / ANINAS, ELIZABETH ]

This book is littered with photos behind and in front of the camera of all Burton’s films, right up to his latest ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’, although this one tends to have the least detail, no doubt as this book was going to print before its release.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (2016) | Pers: Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell | Dir: Tim Burton | Ref: MIS146AG | Photo Credit: [ 20th Century Fox / The Kobal Collection / Maidment, Jay ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) | Pers: Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell | Dir: Tim Burton | Ref: MIS146AG | Photo Credit: [ 20th Century Fox / The Kobal Collection / Maidment, Jay ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Although I haven’t seen all of Burton’s films, those I’ve missed will certainly get a look some time into the future. Looking at the costs of production and money made at the box office, not all of them have been wildly successful. Nevertheless, they do fill a niche in any film library where if Tim Burton didn’t exist then someone would have had to have created him, presumably not with sissorhands.

Batman Returns (1992) | Pers: Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton | Dir: Tim Burton | Ref: BAT052FN | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Warner Bros/DC Comics ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Batman Returns (1992) | Pers: Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton | Dir: Tim Burton | Ref: BAT052FN | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Warner Bros/DC Comics ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Burton, Tim / Beetlejuice (1988) | Pers: Tim Burton, Geena Davis | Ref: XBU047AD | Photo Credit: [ Geffen/Warner Bros / The Kobal Collection ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Burton, Tim / Beetlejuice (1988) | Pers: Tim Burton, Geena Davis | Ref: XBU047AD | Photo Credit: [ Geffen/Warner Bros / The Kobal Collection ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

I do hope Aurum keeps producing books of this nature as the balance between text and photos makes for an attractive combination as you get a lot of information without necessarily being bogged down by intellectualism. That’s not to say that Nathan here doesn’t do a proper analysis, he does, but it’s equally a fair assessment and you come away with knowing a great deal more about how Tim Burton reflects his own life in the films he directs. This is a book that will appeal to not only his fans but to those who want to know about his work.

GF Willmetts

October 2016

(pub: Aurum Press/Quarto. 176 illustrated large square hardback in boxcover. Price: £25.00 (UK), $34.99 (US), $45.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78131-595-8)

check out website: www.quartoknows.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Horror

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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