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Tim Burton's Main Cinematic Techniques

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Tim Burton is an American filmmaker who creates mysterious and odd storylines to send a message of recognizing differences along with remembering to be kind to everyone, including those who people consider “special” or “unique”. As a child, Burton did not have the typical childhood most children experienced. He was deemed as an introverted outcast, and strange. Tim Burton’s parents did not favor him much, either. Basing it on his childhood, and an influence off of writer, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allen Poe, his film points are generally characterized around darkness. Burton uses his psychological complications to construct odd and alluring movies. He designs his own specific style that no other filmmaker has. Tim Burton utilizes literary, dramatic, and cinematic techniques to create the effect of contrast; and is unique and different as compared to other directors because of the way his movies are used as an odd and different platform.

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To begin, Tim Burton constructs dark, fairytale like stories to draw in his audience. His storylines consistently contain an odd main character. For instance: an outcast, or reject. He employs dark, haunted, and mysterious stories moreover with scary creatures and objects. In the movie Edward Scissorhands, Edward is displayed as “weird” or “unreal”. The storyline includes one bad guy, which is James, the arch-nemesis and Kim’s ex-boyfriend. He is portrayed as a rebel who would kill to protect his girlfriend. Other than The Princess Bride, the two antagonists are Prince Humperdinck and Viziini, both whose goal is to kidnap Princess Buttercup. Both movies carry the same plot, which is a love story, consisting of the boy who will do anything to get the girl. Although Edward rarely talks, the moments he decides to, it is ominous or meaningful. Other than the neighborhood, you hear constant blabbering from the housewives of absolutely anything that comes to mind. As compared to The Princess Bride, the storyline is a traditional, lighthearted, fairytale love story, while Edward Scissorhands is unexpected and darker.

Tim Burton uses dramatic techniques by working with cryptic and eccentric costumes along with odd characters and set design. The wardrobe consists of distinct, gloomy colors and often, ominous contraptions. They would not be considered as “everyday clothes”. The odd character Burton forms almost always has an odd past. The set design often consists of eerie objects, trees, houses, and castles. They also involve scary faces and odd contraptions. In the movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the hollows are the gory, slender man looking creatures created from the experiment in 1908. The supernatural beings possess shark-sharp teeth coated in blood, a blank head as well as face, along with extremely long legs, arms, and tongues. In The Princess Bride, there is no frightening nemesis. The bad guy is just the charming prince. In Edward Scissorhands, there is a scene showing Edward snipping a tree into a beautiful figure. Next to Edward is a housewife, watering the grass. The tree suddenly catches the housewife’s eye and she immediately recognizes his talent and gathers everyone from the neighborhood to see, which soon escalates to him from cutting dog hair to human hair. This scene shows how most people assume that Edward is scary due to his appearance, but then realizes he carries a great talent, and resolves in the people of the neighborhood loosening up and developing an affection for him. This scene also shows how Burton delivers Edward’s strangeness into other people’s lives, offering them a different feel of something they have never experienced due to their normal and generic neighborhood life.

Not only does Tim Burton use contrasting light for effect, but also music and sound to mold a mood for his audience. He uses contrasting light that is either immensely dark or abundantly bright. This is shown exceedingly in Edward Scissorhands, while Edward’s castle is completely isolated on the very top of the hill, while the weather and colors are dim. Being the complete opposite, the suburb, housewife-like neighborhood shows neon bright colors, and a perfect, dollhouse-like setting. In comparison to The Princess Bride, the colors and lighting almost stay the same, which are luminous and serene. At times, Burton adds in strange and messed up angles along with CGI on humans and creatures. In Miss Peregrine’s, the CGI is used on the children and their powers. Such as Emma, holding the power of manipulating fire. Also with Miss Peregrine, when she changes into the form of a ymbryne bird. Tim Burton sets the tone by setting the music to be cheerful and light or mysterious and low. The happy music can be set in both a joyous and somber context. This is shown in Miss Peregrine’s. The happy music is shown in joyous context when Jack first discovers the beautiful castle surrounded by beautiful nature. The happy music in somber context is shown when the peculiar children stand outside of the castle with creepy-looking gas masks on, watching the nazi’s almost drop their bomb onto the castle, just as Miss Peregrine pauses time. The happy music and low lighting in this scene shows that this is routine, and everything will go back to normal. Burton’s use of music, lighting, colors, set design, and costumes keep the audience expecting the unexpected, and is very effective.

Tim Burton is a fascinating filmmaker like no other. He produces odd and spooky movies that every age can watch. By using his psychological problems to make movies, it emits a bold meaning, and an exceptional film, too. Tim Burton’s movies utilize the techniques of ‘double shot’ and ‘front lighting’, which offer the viewer a world of fantasy along with innocence. Throughout all his films, director Tim Burton uses many film techniques simultaneously with cinematic elements. However, when Burton decides to control the audiences’ emotions, and quirk the mood of a scene, he uses contrasting light, non-diegetic music, and framing and angles to achieve his desired effect. By using his directing skills combined with literary, dramatic, and cinematic techniques, Tim Burton creates incredible films that fascinate people of all ages, and will draw in audiences for years to come.    

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