Moviegeek5: Tim Burton & Johnny Depp
It is not rare for a director and an actor to discover that they have a special report and collaborate a great number of times, but few seem so well-suited for each other as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Burton enjoys reusing actors, including Helena Bonham Cater (seven films), Christopher Lee (six films) but also has a strong connection with composer Danny Elfman who has scored all of Tim Burton’s films except three. Since their first collaboration Johnny Depp has starred in eight of Burton’s films, making the actor his top-pick even though the pair hasn’t collaborated since 2012. Hopefully, there is more to come ine future because the two of them together always makes for good company.
We have picked five of their collaborations below. Let us know in the comments below what you think and tell us your top 3 Burton/Depp films.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
It all began in 1990 with this modern fairy-tale. Would it still have been a good film withou Depp? Probably. Would it have been a great film? Unlikely. Depp brings to the character a sensitivity and vulnerability which makes the film one of the most touching odd-couple romances. While the suburban aspect seems to reflect Burton’s earlier film, Beetlejuice (1988), the scenes with Edward Scissorhands, with Vincent Price, and in the Gothic mansion, hints at some of Burton’s later projects which showcased to epitomy of Burtonesque Gothic with the help mostly of his friend Johnny Depp. A beautiful film and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Ed Wood (1994)
The next project for Burton and Deep was this biopic about The Worst Director of All Time, Ed Wood. Burton and Wood share an affinity for the classic monster movies of early Hollywood and where Wood failed spectacularly in his quest to tell stories about things he liked, Burton has obviously succeeded. In is only fitting that in his homage to Wood, Burton makes a great film, chronicling the making of Wood’s most (in)famous films as well as his collaboration with a failing Bela Lugosi, played brilliantly be Martin Landau. Burton’s most critically acclaimed films, but still very much a Burton film.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
This adaptation of Washington Irving’s classic horror story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Depp stars as Ichabod Crane, sent to the small upstate New York town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a murder and confront the beliefs of the locals that the murders are committed by a headless horseman. Gory, funny, and beautifully Gothic, the film is the height of Burton’s stylistic Gothic (outside of stop-motion). Sleepy Hollow has a stellar cast of characters, including a lovely Christina Ricci and Burton regulars, Christopher Lee and Jeffrey Jones, and one of Danny Elfman’s best scores for Burton. Depp may not be Ichabod Crane as classically portrayed (lanky and scarecrow-like in a appearance) but neither is he a “first-lover” always willing to use Burton’s films to undercut the teen-idol reputation that he so dislikes.
Another adaptation of a book, but this time a children’s book. Based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this adaptation remains in musical territory but puts the focus very much on Charlie (Freddie Highmore) and his interplay with Willy Wonka (Depp). Although extremely colour and quite lighthearted, Burton cannot help but underplay the brightness with a somewhat sinister portrayal of Wonka. Something that Depp brings out in the character as easily as breathing. Good shallow fun or a dark morality tale, depending on the eyes that see.
The lat entry on our list is also by far the darkest. Here there is none of the fun we find to varying degreees in the first four entries. Based on the Sondheim stage musical, Sweeney Todd is a dark revenge story about a wronged barber who returns to payback what was done to him. Todd is fuelled by hatred, to a fault, and there is no light hear, except for a single scene which might seem misplaced but is very Burtonesque. Gruesome both in its story and visually this is not a particularly easy film to like but it is one of Burton’s most dramatically satisfying films to date.