by Alison McMahan
New York and London: Continuum 2005. 262pp, illus.
Hardcover: $85.00. Paperback: $21.95
Most Tim Burton films are huge box-office successes, and several are
already classics. Burton has broad appeal as well as a devoted fan following. His mysterious and eccentric public persona attracts much press attention, while the films themselves have been overlooked. TIM BURTON, FILMMAKER redresses this imbalance through a close analysis of Burton's key films and their industrial context. Such an analysis is necessary to identify the distinctive quality of Burton as a filmmaker, including his ability to reject mainstream Hollywood stylistic and generic conventions while maintaining critical popularity and commercial success. The book focuses on Burton's contribution to the transformations taking place in the horror, fantasy, sci-fi and related genres.
Burton's place in film history is on a continuum that starts with the stop-animation films of Georges Méliès. The films of the surrealists, the avant-garde of the twenties, the experimentalists of the sixties, happenings, installation art, and computer games, are a more appropriate context from which to approach Burton's oeuvre than trying to place them in the context of the Hollywood mainstream.