Tag Archives: Sweeney Todd (2007)

Ode to Tim Burton

24 Jan

Drawing is exercise for a restless imagination.‘ – Tim Burton

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The thing I love the most about Tim Burton is that he creates a whole new worlds in his movies. By watching any of them, you can simply dive into this new dimension, new aesthetic, new, crooked, vision of reality; Tim Burton’s reality. And his world is not dark and negative as one may think, quite the opposite, Tim Burton’s world is like a refuge for an outsider, magical and full of hope, dark and funny at the same time. As Burton had said himself ‘I am not a dark person and I don’t consider myself dark.‘ It’s the truth, Kafka’s work is dark and heavy, Burton’s is magical and inspirational.

I consider Tim Burton one of my greatest inspirations. He gave me the first vision of the Victorian era; a vision which has haunted me ever since. Although I’ve read a lot about Victorian era, and I know Burton’s version is not accurate, I prefer it above all. I like how he took the very essence of this time period and, combined with many other influences, created a new aesthetic. One can really say that something is in ‘Tim Burton’s style‘ for he created a world completely new, fresh and exciting which I think is hard to do in this modern world because everything has already been seen, and tried out. The modern man has dipped his finger in everything. There’s not a fresh well in art, music or literature, every one has by now been tainted by modern culture.

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The contrast between Classicism and Gothic Art, can be well translated onto the clash between the mainstream and Tim Burton. Where the Classicism was organised and proper, the Gothic was chaotic, where classic was pure and simple, the Gothic was crooked and ornate; the classics offered a world of clear rules and limits, whereas the Gothic represented something wild, exaggerated, dark and uncivilised. Classics represent the mainstream culture; unimaginative, worn-out ideas, conformity; a world created for mediocrity. On the other hand, Tim Burton’s world is a world of gothic fantasy, macabre, silly characters, with all the human flaws exposed in villains; it’s a world of outsiders, a world Burton had created for himself and that’s what makes it so genuine. His world is a reflection of who he is, and that’s how it should be with all the artists, directors, writers…

For me, Tim Burton epitomizes the very term of ‘modern Gothic‘ in a way that he perfectly captures the spirit of the Victorian era with obvious Gothic and Romantic elements, but all together, he succeeds in creating a magical, dreamy and spooky world of his own. He’s very good at reinterpreting the past, which is inevitable in art, and still managing to create something completely new and original.

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Burton was not only inspired by works of Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, but also carried on with the style they had created, in Burton’s works enriched by the experience of living in an American suburb and being a loner. I already mentioned how I developed my first vision of the Victorian era as a result of watching Tim Burton’s movies, and although I’ll basically watch any movie that he directs, some are more dear to me than the others.

To tell it bluntly, I was reborn after seeing Sweeney Todd for the first time! This movie enchanted me, I knew all the songs by heart and sang them all they long, I drew the characters, I wrote many short stories based on that ‘Burton’s Victorian London‘. I can’t even put it in words how much it influenced me in everything that I’ve done, and how it affects my work now still. Other movies that I really loved would probably be Corpse Bride and Sleepy Hollow, not to mention Frankenweenie and Alice in Wonderland.

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Another thing that I find inspirational about Tim Burton are his drawings, for really, there lays the whole essence of his later projects. Everything begins on the paper, and it is clear from the style of his movies that they developed from his love of drawing. ‘Don’t worry about how you ‘should’ draw it. Just draw it the way you see it.‘ This Burton’s quote has inspired me to really draw what comes out of my mind, no matter what it is, and to be more focused on creating a new world for myself and fulfilling the needs of my imagination than on the final result.

Tim Burton’s style is very recognisable, full of figures with big sad eyes, whirlwinds, swirls, long dark hallways, winding staircases, weird monsters, candles, skeletons, graveyards, etc. He mostly uses dark, dreamy colours such as black, purple, blue, crimson red, white, but many vivid colours too, depending on the effect he’s trying to create. Time and the setting don’t even matter when it comes to Burton’s movies, his characters live in their own universe. What started as weird and unconventional childish drawings developed into a whole new imaginary world that draws people in with its appealing aesthetics and interesting characters.

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The word normal always scares me.‘ – Tim Burton

Best costumed movies

24 Apr

This is my list of the nine most memorable costumed movies. If I had put the tenth movie on the list it would be a mere flattery for I am very critical when it comes to costumes in movies. However, these movies proved to have amazing costumes worthy of being on the list.

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1. Jane Eyre (2011.)

I love the gothic and gloomy atmosphere of the movie, and costumes give the same impression. 1840s are my favourite decade of Victorian fashion so you must not be surprised that I relished looking at these somber coloured dresses, nice hairstyles and pretty bonnets.

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2. Gone with the wind (1939.)

Gone with the wind is a classic I’ve watched numerous times and I don’t really need to say why I love the costumes, just look at those frilled silk dresses in vivid colours, Southern belles in crinolines. Surprisingly for old-Hollywood movies, costumes are not too theatrical.

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3. Marie Antoinette (2006.)

This movie is an eye candy, and though the screenplay is not particularly interesting or accurate, dresses are indeed lavishing. They’re not over-the-top or overly decorated, and you can see how the fashion changes throughout Marie Antoinette’s years at Versailles.

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4. Sense and sensibility (1995.)

Although I’m not crazy about Regency fashion, I love the movie, the book, the characters and everything about it and costumes remind me of Directoire 1790s fashion which I am fond of because it looks like a transition between what would Marie Antoinette wear and Regency fashion.

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5. Les adieux a la rein (2012.)

When a watched this movies I felt like I’m watching something what really happened on 14. July 1789, it’s so accurate and interesting and everything is seen through Sidonie’s eyes. Though Duchess de Polignac wears an awful green dress which is unforgivable, all the other costumes are really beautiful and realistic.

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6. Wuthering Heights (1992.)

This is by far the best adaptation of Wuthering Heights; Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche are perfect in roles of Heathcliff and Cathy, the costumes are accurate and you can really see the difference what Cathy wears at home compared to more elegant dresses she wears at Thrushcross Grange.

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7. Young Victoria (2009.)

In this movies it’s interesting to see what the Queen would be wearing in her early years of reign (it also shown the transition from 1830s to 1840s fashion) because she was once young too.

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8. The Duchess (2008.)

This movie is not my particular favourite when it comes to screenplay, but the costumes are very nice indeed. It’s interesting to see the differences of Marie Antoinette’s and Georgiana’s wardrobe.

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9. Sweeney Todd (2007)

And finally Sweeney Todd; the movie I was in love with for years. All the costumes are so dark, gothic and so Tim Burton, but they don’t follow any specific decade of Victorian fashion. Though many of the dresses resemble 1840s style (another plus).

Of course, this is just my opinion, I’m sure there are many other nicely costumed movies such as Barry Lyndon and Marie Antoinette (1938).