Monday, March 07, 2011
So, Tim Burton, eh?
He feels close to reaching half his career sucking as bad as the first half was delightful.
I know it's more complicated than that. Beetlejuice is pretty wonky as a whole and The Corpse Bride is a perspective shift away from being magnificent, as the two examples that leap out at me personally.
So, um, Alice in Wonderland?
I'm fascinated at how bleak and depressing it is. It's almost like a post-apocalyptic vision of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which is intriguing to me in principle.
The trouble is that it matches that with a dull humorlessness that could be appropriate to the milieu, but doesn't match the kind of meandering storytelling method, which seems the only thing particularly like Lewis Carroll, ignoring the fact that the wit and mirth are what makes Carroll's meandering worthwhile.
Here Carroll's "Wonderland" is rebranded "Underland", apparently to make it more adult or at least one more befitting this apocalyptic vision. Unfortunately, it only proves Burton's lack of natural wit.
I doubt from all evidence that Burton is any kind of Carroll fan. I imagine someone at Disney has the bright idea "Lewis Carroll weird/Tim Burton weird, let's bring 'em together."
Certainly nothing in Burton's previous work shows any hint of a Carroll influence, and here he shows more disdain than affection for the source material, twisting it about to no particular use. It's no better as a Burton movie than it is a Carroll adaptation, which leaves it no good at anything at all.
Supposedly Burton has a stop-motion adaptation of The Addams Family coming up. I'm holding the last of my hope for Burton as a "living" moviemaker on this one. He has shown an affinity for Charles Addams and his much more visual than literary sense of humor. It's also apparently a return to working with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who also wrote Ed Wood, which I think remains easily Burton's best movie.
I can't imagine that if he fails with the deck stacked that far in his favor that much will make me believe he'll ever recover from this slump.