Originally Posted by milost
Yup. It's like Batman Begins or other studio films out there. He had to prove himself until WB let go of the reigns. Only problem with that is, sometimes a little restriction makes people more creative. By letting Burton or any other filmmaker/writer/etc. do they want, that can potentially kill it because it's too "them".
Batman Returns is definitely his baby whereas Batman 1989 felt like a true collaboration.
I know plenty will disagree with me, but I think Batman Returns was almost too much
of his "baby". I think if Burton was faced with a bit more restriction/studio collaboration on BR, it would have benefitted the film and the Batman series in the long run. There are plenty of great ideas and moments in the finished film, but some things could have been reigned in a bit or modified to make an even better film.
I agree. I personally think Burton is a hack (now) and a bit scatter brained. He's this weird, artsy fartsy guy and he knows it. He's a weirdo more interested in the visuals than the substance (which is why he took Batman on as a project, he identified with the iconography of all of it, especially the concept of "Batman vs. Joker"). I'm a huge fan of his early work, I love most of his films and dug his vision. Now, it seems same old, same old. Then again, I feel that way with all directors. That's not an insult to Burton, he's done fine in my book, but, I dunno. The same style gets old. I could say the same thing for Scorsese or any number of directors though.
I'll agree with you there. Burton is now the definition of a studio hack, which is sad to me. I don't agree that it's because his style has gotten old, because I think his style changed starting with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Burton's biggest problem, to me, is that he all does now is adapt pre-existing stories/franchises for the screen...and then fills them with an abundance of CGI...and Johnny Depp. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Dark Shadows are all adaptations. Even Big Fish was adapted from a novel.
One of my favorite movies ever is Edward Scissorhands. It's a film that is visually remarkable, utterly original (while still influenced by other works), and it is truly beautiful. There's so much emotion in it. Everything from the score to set the design and the acting (one of Johnny Depp's best performances ever despite him hardly speaking) are top notch...and the story came from Burton himself. It was a passion project for him, and making Batman a success allowed him to make Edward Scissorhands, but why hasn't he made something like it ever again? Does he not have any more original ideas for films? Has he lost his passion?
Another great film by Burton, Beetlejuice, was not written by Burton himself but was still based on an original screenplay, much like Ed Wood was (another great Burton film). Now we're hearing rumors of Burton gearing up to make Beetlejuice 2, so his streak of making films based on pre-existing franchises continues!
But Batman 1989 isn't "his". I think that's the misconception with the role of a director where they're overvalued. They're more or less the guy that helps make sure the thing doesn't fall apart while also letting some (or most) of their vision spill into it. They're the general, but they shouldn't get all the credit.
There was a LOT of creative input with the first Batman. Studio had a say, Burton had a say, Nicholson had a say, Keaton was free to find his own character (his recent interview for Robocop, the persona of his Batman was all his from the movement to the voice), the writers were a mishmash. If it was all Sam Hamm, it might have been pretty bad (sure, his scripts were more comic accurate, but they were strange). If it was all Tim Burton, it would have been a straight freak show. If it was all the Studio, we'd have nothing but Prince (no way would they have let Elfman collaborate). Etc. etc.
Collaboration is good. Having second or third film crew units are good. Batman 1989 was like a marathon (I think one of the producers mention this), where it was like guerrilla shooting. There's no way Burton shot some of those great action sequences, or that Axis Chemicals shoot out. Like with Aliens and Star Wars, there was also this tension between the English and American crews. So you have everyone pouring their hearts into this thing.
It's like LOTR or Breaking Bad, which are great examples of collaboration. One of my favorite scenes in LOTR is the ending of the Fellowship with the Amon Hen battle and Boromir vs. the Uruk Hai. You know who filmed that whole thing? Who brought in his own personal touch? The New Line producer. He directed that while other crews were filming all over New Zealand. The only thing Jackson touched was the editing.
If you have one mind controlling all that, I'm not convinced it will be as good. That's why I feel Batman 1989, as studio controlled as it had been, has great moments that shine threw the "Prince music" or script decisions. With all those different things, it creates something that ends up being it's own thing. So with like, the Vicki stuff. I'm sure Burton couldn't come up with clear reasoning for it, but at the time, someone involved did, or else those scenes wouldn't be in there.
Well said. I definitely think Batman 89 was a "perfect storm" of sorts.