Sunday, March 7, 2010

a rumbling of little cart-wheels

So, in spite of what I was afraid Tim Burton would do to it, I went to see Alice In Wonderland tonight. Not in 3-D - conventional tickets were expensive enough, but this movie didn't really need 3-D gimmickry for the basic story and lush setting to express itself.

What I can say, weighing the bad against the good, is that this story didn't need Tim Burton. In fact, no stories with any touch of subtle creepiness need him, because what he does is exaggerate the creep factor to the point of irrelevance. Pretty, cartoonish, marketable irrelevance, yes, but irrelevance all the same. Alice In Wonderland would be dark and fantastical without Tim Burton's Magic Goth Frosting smeared all over it, and it would come off as less shallow and rehearsed, as well.
That feeling of rehearsal is what did me in, really. Tim has certain habits that he won't stray from because they are profitable - the dull, formal, ersatz-Victorian real world contrasting with the lurid, crooked fantasy, unreal applications of color and shape, Johnny Depp making weird faces, and a sort of Hot Topic surreality that's so dumbed down it doesn't matter to the look, feel, or shape of the movie. It's a very superficial take on Alice, which I have my own most-likely-incorrect take on, and and more to the point, it's another movie where Tim Burton Does His Thing and absolutely nothing else.

What I'd like to see him take on are projects that don't scream Tim Burton - maybe the sort of dense, abstract High Literature that makes up the traditional literary canon. Something where his style would actually add to the story being told instead of weighing it down. Something like, say, The Waste Land. Tim would have to use every cheap visual trick at his disposal to bring that piece of shit poem to life, but I'd like to see him try. One could argue that The Waste Land is creepy, but it's not an easy argument, and it's not such a strong element of the piece that Burton's shallow understanding of creepy would ruin it. And regardless, it fits the criteria of something you wouldn't look at and think of Tim Burton - it'd be a challenge, but I think he could rise to meet it when he gets sick of lobotomizing stories I personally like. Again, I want to see what the man can do with text that NEEDS to be brought to life.

I also need to scrounge up some breakfast. Or lunch, given the hour. Ta.

No comments:

Post a Comment