Tim Burton is back with Frankenweenie and what better time to look back at the career of an auteur than when his latest film arrives -- one that is based on his earliest work. The original Frankenweenie story landed in the form of a short film in the 1980s when Burton was an animator at Walt Disney. Decades later, Burton has achieved blinding success with a career that runs the gamut, and now he can present his big screen vision of the work that first put him on the map.
What better time to unveil our Top 10 Tim Burton Movies?
10. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Burton’s first big picture is also his most innocently fun. Sure, Paul Reubens was born to be Pee-wee, but can you imagine his silver screen debut without the wildly original and visionary eye of the master of the artistic fringe? Pee-wee's Big Adventure struck the exact right tone and showed audiences why this Burton guy was someone to watch.
9. Alice in Wonderland
Many scoff at the Mia Wasikowska-starring film that saw Johnny Depp kill it as the Mad Hatter. Alice in Wonderland is a billion dollar blockbuster that took the world invented by Lewis Carroll and saw Burton run with it to unexpected places. It’s not the typical journey down the rabbit hole that is expected from this iconic tale, yet that is exactly why we appreciate Burton’s Mad Hatter world.
8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A similar love/hate has emerged with Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory versus its original that mirrors feelings towards Alice in Wonderland. Yet, if you chuck out any preconceived notions and witness Burton’s envisioned world of Roald Dahl -- and more specifically the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder -- an astounding appreciation arises for what the director did with as well-known of a story as exists.
7. Sleepy Hollow
Depp and Burton, together again! This time out Burton tackles the world of Ichabod Crane and his effort to bring to justice the Headless Horseman. Depp is brilliant and what makes his longstanding collaboration with Burton so fruitful is shown in full force with Sleepy Hollow. The duo can tackle any genre, any time period and frankly any style of filmmaking… and bring to it something so uniquely theirs. Their magic cannot be replicated.
Burton was able to take his talent for the wildly visual and finally have a big Hollywood budget to make it a reality in Batman. After several well-received films, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, the filmmaker was handed the keys to the Batmobile. Michael Keaton seemed like an odd choice to play the Dark Knight, yet he and Burton collaborated to make a solid reboot of a franchise that was in dire need of one. We can forgive the dated Prince soundtrack, and that said from a huge Purple Rocker fan.
5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Again Depp and Burton prove there is no medium of cinema they cannot triumph in. The musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street had potential failure written all over it. Could the Beetlejuice guy do justice to a legend of the Broadway stage? Not only did he give the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler based story an adoring homage, it triumphed on the silver screen in ways that stage fans could only fantasize.
4. Big Fish
Big Fish is one of Burton’s most adored films by audiences, regardless of where they are on the love of Burton scale. Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney were stunning as the young and old Ed Bloom. As usual in a Burton film, the cast is stellar with his longtime love and collaborator Helena Bonham Carter leading the way.
One of the first is still one of the best. One of Burton’s early films still dominates the hallowed halls of movie quote-dom. Beetlejuice quotes are some of the most legendary. Keaton is the title character and through Burton’s envisioning of the hilarious demon from another world and the wicked portrayal by the actor… they crafted an iconic protagonist/antagonist that still has audiences demanding a sequel thirty years later.
2. Edward Scissorhands
One of the most beautiful films of all time is Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. He hooked up with Depp again and Winona Ryder (after their successful Beetlejuice collaboration) and crafted pure magic. Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands showed his acting range in the film that in many ways ushered in decades of roles that would come to define his career. Most of all, the film has a powerful heart at its center and every time we witness Burton’s masterpiece, it reminds us exactly why we go to the movies.
1. Ed Wood
As a film, Ed Wood is practically perfect. It's the best Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration and is impeccably cast with Martin Landau in a role that would win him an Academy Award, plus Sarah Jessica Parker and Bill Murray. The true story of the eccentric shlock filmmaker, his circle of creative types and his notorious films add up to Burton’s best… hands down! As a storyteller, the filmmaker is in his element telling the story of those who would influence his entire career. That pure love is seen on every frame and when that happens with a director and an audience, there can be no better moment in the cinema.