If you’ve ever wondered what a Tim Burton movie starring Will Smith would look like, you might find out relatively soon. The actor is reportedly circling a role in Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo, which Burton has been attached to direct for some time now. After delivering the disappointing one-two punch of Suicide Squad and Collateral Beauty, Smith sure could use a win, and joining Disney’s growing empire of live-action remakes seems like a pretty safe bet.
The musical never completely died as a movie genre, but it did lay dormant for a good long while throughout the 1980s and ’90s, with only the occasional throwback like Pennies From Heaven, Newsies, or Everyone Says I Love You popping up, like an old memory. Back then, the movie business largely conceded its tradition of song-and-dance to Disney cartoons and MTV, assuming — wrongly — that the idea of flesh-and-blood actors breaking into big numbers in the middle of narrative feature films had become too cornball for the modern mass audience.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a beloved ’90s classic. But did you know the movie started life over ten years earlier, when producer Tim Burton wrote a poem in 1982? At the time, Burton was an animator at Walt Disney Studios, and he tried to turn The Nightmare Before Christmas into a short film. Disney considered it, but nothing ever happened with it, and eventually Burton lost his job. Then he went on to direct Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Batman. Suddenly, Disney was more interested in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and as an entire feature-length film. That’s just one of the Nightmare Before Christmas facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
Tim Burton is one of the most imaginary filmmakers of our time, a man who’s envisioned wacky, gothic, and fantastical worlds. But his imagination is limited when it comes to race.
Tim Burton’s career has experienced wildly diminishing returns in recent years as he slides further into nauseatingly wacky computer-generated excess, with only the occasional glimmer of the gothic whimsy that made him a beloved household name. The good news is that Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a much better and more restrained film than Dark Shadows or Alice in Wonderland; the bad news is that it’s a somewhat tedious YA adaptation with a half-baked-in metaphor about Burton’s career that might make you feel even more depressed about what it’s become.
Here’s something you may not know about me: it takes a tremendous amount of willpower for me to not spend the first paragraph of every Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children gushing about Eva Green. Nearly every time I write about this movie, I promise myself I’m just going to share a few thoughts about the clips and teasers that have been released so far, and instead, I hijack my own post to sing the praises of one of my favorite actors. Look, I did it again! I am not a strong man.
If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been a while since you were really excited for a Tim Burton movie. While movies like Big Eyes, Dark Shadows, and Alice in Wonderland all did either OK with critics or at the box office, Burton has made too many wonderful movies in his career for “OK” to feel like anything other than a disappointment. Thankfully, Burton seems to be back on track with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, a YA adaptation that brings together the conflict of the X-Men with the sense of childish wonder that only Burton can bring to bear.
The current Broadway listings read like a video store restock list: Aladdin, The Color Purple, Finding Neverland, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Matilda, School of Rock, and more. Movies are big business on Broadway, and there are more adaptations coming all the time; upcoming movie-based shows include A Bronx Tale, Amelie, Anastasia, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That last one is technically based on the book by Roald Dahl, which has already been adapted twice for film; once by Mel Stuart and once by Tim Burton. This, as it turns out, is not the only Burton movie that could soon be playing on the Great White Way.
Tim Burton has been a bit hit or miss in his later years (to say the least), but his latest film looks like it might possibly, hopefully be the closest thing to a return to form since Frankenweenie. A new featurette encourages that optimism by taking you inside the fantastical world of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children — come for Eva Green, stay for charmingly creepy little kids in burlap sacks.
Ender’s Game sputtered out and he didn’t land the role of Marvel’s new Spider-Man, so Asa Butterfield’s latest stab at franchise immortality will come in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Based on a best-selling novel by Ransom Riggs, the premise is sort of a Tim Burton spin on X-Men, with a house of strange and quirkily gifted children who live apart from society that doesn’t understand their abilities. And, yes, if this movie is a hit, Riggs has already written two Miss Peregrine sequels, Hollow City and Library of Souls. In other words, there’s nothing peculiar about Hollywood’s interest in this material.