09th Nov2016

‘Tim Burton: The iconic Filmmaker and his Work’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Written by Ian Nathan | Published by Aurum Press Ltd


I’m a fan of horror, and Tim Burton’s style of direction and storytelling has always attracted my dark side. Creating an image of being the outsider with a unique imagination, he tends to speak to many film and popular culture fans who have the similar outsider attitude, but is Tim Burton that much of an outsider?

I raise this question after reading Tim Burton: The iconic Filmmaker and his Work by Ian Nathan, because the look at the man behind the image is slightly different from the one he projects. While Burton feels like an outsider, it seems that he had a loving family and a seemingly happy life. In many ways though it is how we picture ourselves that shapes the story that we tell of our lives.

Ian Nathan examines Burton’s many films, right up to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and it is interesting to read the fight Burton appears to constantly have with Hollywood. When a director wants to create something unique, this isn’t something that really fits into what a big studio wants to do. This is shown with films like Batman, which while good (and I’m a big fan) does tend to have somewhat of a confused structure to it. The fact Batman Returns was more in control by Burton really shows.

There are a few criticisms that can be thrown at Burton’s work, especially his constant use of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Nathan doesn’t look to make this criticism rather celebrates the work that Burton has done with these two. While I can see both sides of the argument, I do often feel that directors like Burton tend to limit themselves with constant reuse of actors they feel comfortable with. Saying that of course as a fan of Sweeney Todd, Carter and Depp do obviously work well. Then again though, Willy Wonka is proof that Depp wasn’t always the key to success.

The book itself is well written, and as you would expect has plenty of images from Burton’s movies to keep his many fans happy. There is a focus on his more popular movies, with films like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice obviously offering some of the more flamboyant pictures. These are two of my favourite Burton movies, and personally I could read books just focusing on the story behind these two. I’d love, for example, to read about Vincent Price’s experiences and Burton’s memory of working with him.

If you are a Tim Burton, Tim Burton: The iconic Filmmaker and his Work by Ian Nathan is a very easy read and I’ll admit that I loved every page. Full of photographs from not only the movies, but also behind the scenes, there is a lot to digest in the book. Ian Nathan’s style of writing is entertaining and never gets dull, and he understands exactly what the fans want to know about Burton and his work. This is why it is a must buy for any lovers of the outsider director and his outlandish imagination.

****½  4.5/5

Tim Burton: The iconic Filmmaker and his Work, written by Ian Nathan, is available in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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