The Tim Burton ready reckoner

Tim Burton used to be one of the best film directors on the planet, and early signs are that's he's back proper with Sweeney Todd. Best put him in the Ready Reckoner chair, then...

Tim Burton: always interesting, but no longer great?

The man Burton used to be one of the most exciting movie directors on the planet. But as we’ve discussed here, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him at his best. With Sweeney Todd attracting awards attention, though, could Burton finally have rediscovered his touch? We hope so: and here’s a ready reckoner to look at just how good he once was…As Director:

Vincent

4 out of 5
A brilliant short film, that was played before the cinematic release of The Nightmare Before Christmas in the UK. Well, well worth seeking out, as is Frankenweenie.Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
3 out of 5
Not bad, and signs of flair were evident. But it’d be Burton’s next film that’d be the one that sent his career soaring.Beetlejuice
4 out of 5
Proof that Winona Ryder was once a real talent, proof that Michael Keaton is a sorely underrated leading actor, and proof that Tim Burton was a director with genuine visual flair. Even after all these years, Beetlejuice is terrific.

Batman

3 out of 5
Sadly, comparisons with Batman Begins have hurt the original Batman, a film that’s inevitably overpowered by Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker. It’s still a good superhero movie, but the genesis of the character has been done so much better since.Edward Scissorhands
2 out of 5
Did nothing for me at all. Twee, corny, visually striking but ultimately sprinkled with far too much sugar, Scissorhands is original, but it’s really not a very good film.Batman Returns
4 out of 5
The first half of Batman Returns remains excellent, and it’s only when the need to start properly getting on with things kicks in that Burton loses control a little bit. The Penguin is a vile creation, and all the better for it, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman should forever shame Halle Berry.

Ed Wood

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5 out of 5
Tim Burton’s best film, flat out. A superb, loving biopic of Edward D Wood Jr, the world’s worst film director. It was Martin Landau who got an Oscar for Ed Wood, but Burton has every right to feel aggrieved for not picking one up too.

Mars Attacks

2 out of 5
Too fast, too flat and not what we were hoping for. Mars Attacks should have been great, and there are some terrific moments in it. But as a film, it’s a bit of a chore to sit through. Seen in isolation through YouTube clips, it’d work a treat.

Sleepy Hollow

3 out of 5
A bit of a pantomime, replete with a pantomime ending, yet Sleepy Hollow has bags of style and is terrific fun.Planet Of The Apes
1 out of 5
Scarily bad. How such a strong directorial talent got mired in with this shambles beggars belief. And Burton’s never convincingly recovered from it.

Big Fish

3 out of 5
A more personal story, and one that leaves people hot or cold. I sit in the middle a bit, and it was certainly a step up, but still a three star movie for me.Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
2 out of 5
A huge disappointment, one of two that Burton delivered in 2005. The sinister edge of Gene Wilder’s Wonka is evaporated in this – and who’d have thought you’d accuse Burton of this? – dull take on the Roald Dahl classic.

The Corpse Bride

2 out of 5
And again, a real disappointment. We’re coming to Nightmare Before Christmas soon, but Corpse Bride fails to get anywhere near it. Visually superb, technically amazing, but crap.As Producer:

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

4 out of 5
A brilliant animated film: great music, great story, great fun. Interestingly, Burton didn’t direct it, but his pawprints are all over the film.

James & The Giant Peach

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4 out of 5
The best Dahl adaptation in recent times, with Henry Selick behind the camera again.

Batman Forever

1 out of 5
Time has been harsh to Batman Forever, which was crap back in 1995. Burton’s credit betrays the fact that he was barely involved in it, though.Last week’s ready reckoner was Steven Spielberg.Next week: it’s Gerry Anderson…

Click here to check out ALL the lists at Den Of Geek...