Thursday, July 07, 2005

Corpse Bride

Hells yes. This new trailer for Tim Burton's stop-motion animated Corpse Bride looks freaking incredible. I'm a huge huge massive fan of Nightmare Before Christmas, and this film reunites many of the same talented people. Plus it's a stop-motion animated film about the undead.

The way I see it, even if Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory busts this summer (and it was written by the same guy who did the adaptation for the reprehensibly lame Big Fish, after all) we've still got this to look forward to in September.

I can't help but feel that remakes are bad news for Burton. He has, I'm sorry to say, a somewhat limited range, but when he gets the sort of project that's right for his sensibilities, it's a slam dunk. I don't think he's appropriate for these lavish big budget remakes, properties studios want to franchise, like Planet of the Apes or Batman. That kind of corporate thinking just doesn't suit him.

I'd rather see him develop quirky, offbeat stuff like Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood, pretty clearly his best movie. (Although...Scissorhands...that's a tough call...) I mean, say what you will about the script for Sleepy Hollow, that movie is fucking beautiful to look at, like a painting. I could watch it with the sound turned off and be equally entertained.

I can't really explain away the total failure of Big Fish with this reasoning. It was, after all, an adaptation of a novel that he took upon himself, supposedly because he had a fondness for the material. I thought it was sappy and ridiculous to the point of total exasperation, and found the Albert Finney character far more obnoxious than inspirational.

I'm tempted to blame screenwriter John August, as I blame Andrew Walker (the scribe of Seven) for his semi-retarded Sleepy Hollow hackjob. But Big Fish doesn't even look any good. It's like someone imitating Burton - it's fanciful, I suppose, but also really flat, without a lot of detail. And whereas Burton once could make an entire film strattling the line between satire and whimsy (Pee Wee's Big Adventure or Scissorhands both qualify, as well as shorts like Frankenweenie and Vincent), his attempts in Big Fish at both fail miserably.

This turned into something of a rant. All I really wanted to say was that Burton's been in a big slump lately, and I'm hoping his one-two punch of Dahl and stop-motion comes together well.

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