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Review: The Tim Burton Collection

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This week sees the release of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Whether you love or hate his films you cannot deny that his visual style is striking and the world of cinema would be a less interesting place without him.

Although I feel he has been coasting a bit with some of his more recent films he has got an incredible back catalogue.

This new DVD collection brings a few of them together. It is released by Warner Bros. which means some of his films, such as Edward Scissorhands, are not present.

However, it is still a nice selection of films.

For me having Batman, Batman Returns and Beetlejuice makes it worth buying just for them.

All beginning with B.

Christopher Nolan obviously did wonders for Batman on the big screen after Joel Schumacher almost destroyed him in Batman and Robin (I still find it hard to match that Joel Schumacher with the same guy who made Tigerland and The Lost Boys). Yet it was Burton who redefined the character and moved him away from the old TV show that many people associated Batman with.

Using his dark, gothic design sensibilities he brought Batman to a twisted Gotham and, with Jack Nicholson as a great Joker, paved the way for other comic book movies.

Michael Keaton was Batman in both films and also changed gear with the character of Beetlejuice. The crazy, whacked out ghost was an unforgettable performance yet he is barely in the film that bears his name. It is still a great movie to watch and makes me want to see the much rumoured Beetlejuice 2.

Burton’s Corpse Bride is a another master-class of stop motion animation. It never reaches the madcap heights of A Nightmare Before Christmas, but is still a cracking example of the genre.

Next up we have a few of Burton’s films that, although none are particular favourites of mine, have some great performances and memorable scenes.

I am talking about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Mars Attacks, Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Mars Attacks still has great effects, but the first half always drags for me and I end up skipping to the actual invasion which then flies along and still makes me chuckle.

As I am not really a Pee-wee Herman fan his film does nothing for me, but I know the character has a huge following and if you dig him then you dig the film.

The first time I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I just wanted to watch Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. I thought Burton’s version was a huge misfire. However, after many viewings of the film with my 5 year old daughter the film grew on me and I do find it an enjoyable watch now.

Then there is Sweeney Todd. As usual for a Burton film it looks gorgeous, but I have not been able to get my head around the musical aspects. Don’t ask me why I just do not know.

None of the discs are bursting with extras, but when you go for a collection like this it is all about the movies.

There you have it. 7 Tim Burton films in one box set. As I said at the start it is worth getting just for Batman, Batman Returns and Beetlejuice so if you are big fans of the rest then it is even better value for money.