Essay Question #2: Tim Burton, A Generic Filmmaker and Auteur

Bianca, Carly & Marco

Film Theory & Criticism

Tim Burton, A Generic Filmmaker and Auteur

         Tim Burton, a widely known filmmaker, uses many different styles and techniques to explore popular themes in cinema, while remaining true to his unique style.

Films are categorized into different genres, and Tim Burton is a director who touches base with almost every single one of them, but still adds his own twist on them. For instance, the very cliché romantic comedy becomes a very dark, grim yet passionate love story in “The Corpse Bride.” The more recently released film, “Dark Shadows” falls into the category of comedy, and yet the characters all have a gothic feel to them, an element often used in Burton’s films.  The Horror genre is a favourite among many, and is a favourite for Tim as well.  Some examples include Sweeny Todd and Edward Scissorhands, two movies that would be considered horror but also use bright colours and characters, ironically to represent the bad rather than the good. Like in Edward Scissorhands, how the neighbourhood is so perfect that it’s creepy. Surprisingly, Burton also tackles the difficult Musical genre of cinema in The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is an original take on this genre because it is done with Claymation and a cast of creepy characters.

The genre of Action-Adventure is used in Tim Burton’s movie “Alice in Wonderland,” the classic children’s story. Of course, it being Tim Burton, he obviously takes it away from the traditional happy cartoon to a gloomier, action-filled film. Not only is he a filmmaker, but he can also take an already invented storyline and revamp it, making it completely different from the original. This is what makes him an auteur.

To conclude, it tends to be very difficult for a filmmaker to make a generic film, without resorting to having it be cliché and like every other film of its genre.  Tim Burton’s ability to do this while still keeping his own style is what makes him an auteur and sets him apart from the rest.


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