Sunday, 12 October 2008

Tim Burton "Vincent "

Sunday Classic
Tim Burton

Tim Burton's Gothic pastiche Vincent is a gruesome tale of a horrid youth who needs to be goulish though his awful deeds are usually restricted to his imagination - digging up his dead bride or immersing a favourite aunt in a vat of hot wax. Thank goodness for mummy who keeps appearing at the nick of time to dispel the horror and reveal the sad boy in the striped tea shirt. The stop-motion animated movie is shot in black and white with - a masterstroke this - the boy's hero, Vincent Price, actually providing the voice-over for the piece. With allegiance to that other master of the horror story Edgar Allen Poe, the young director revels in the monstrous business of glaring eyes, lighting effects, musical crescendos and rampaging bats. Burton was clearly heading for greatness in this early short - for Disney of all companies. Burton used predominantly dark scenes for the real world and even darker ones for the imagined one with his tongue in cheek rhymed couplets rendering the gruesome just this side of acceptable family fare: "He doesn't mind living with his sister, dog and cats,/ Though he'd rather share a home with spiders and bats." (Albeit the couplet "Vincent is nice when his aunt comes to see him,/ But imagines dipping her in wax for his wax museum." is straining it a bit, particularly accompanied by enactment of said torture.) For a transcription of his own poem go the Tim Burton Collective. Finally I need hardly point out the obvious similarity to his Corpse Bride (2005), one of my favourite animated movies of recent times.

Born in 1958 in Burbank, California, Tim Burton studied at the California Institute of the Arts before being employed by the Disney studios who hired him primarily for his artwork. He wanted to direct though making two shorts, one of which being Vincent, before launching himself into a series of hugely popular films, animated and live action, that have an inventiveness about them that elevates him to the very top rank of directors in the cinema today. A short, selected list gives some idea of his greatness: Frankenweenie (1984), Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1987), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

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