Tim Burton has put his signature stamp on the movie industry over the last 30 years, so let’s take a look back on what he’s done ahead of Dumbo. After spending time perfecting his eye and sensibilities as a filmmaker through several shorts and animation, Burton burst onto the Hollywood scene in 1985 with the release of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The family-friendly (but still zany) film was the first of many hits for Burton as he rose to become one the top working directors.
This stretch of his career brought Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman Returns to the screen in the span of five years. Burton hasn’t slowed down much since then, even if the major hits have been more difficult to come by. Sleepy Hollow was a success in 1999, but then his attempted reboot of Planet of the Apes was a mixed bag at best. Throughout most of these films, Burton’s gothic style and inspiration from German Expressionism can be easily seen.
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The latest edition of Screen Rant Docs dives in to all of these aspects of Burton’s career, but also much more. There are details on his childhood and upbringing and how this influences his work even till today, his collaborations with composer Danny Elfman, and highlights of Burton’s overall interest in infusing his films with plenty of musically inclined scenes. For all the details on Burton’s rise to prominence in Hollywood, watch the full video featured at the top of this post.
Burton’s visual approach to his films always makes them easy to identify, even when it comes to those that he is simply producing and not actually directing. Even though this distinct style is what helped make Burton such a standout filmmaker back when he first began, some of his recent films have relied too heavily on the one-of-a-kind visuals to make it work, and has seen them sacrifice story or character as a result.
He has also made a habit of adapting stories from some source material instead of creating new fascinating worlds, which has had mixed results. His work with DC’s Dark Knight did wonders for the character, and he even successfully rebooted Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but he also saw Alice in Wonderland divide critics and still make over $1 billion worldwide. Now that his live-action remake of Dumbo for Disney is set to hit theaters in a few weeks, the early reactions have pointed to it being another victory for Burton. And if this is a real hit, maybe then the long gestating Beetlejuice 2 could actually come to fruition.
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