Embracing My Inner Goth (part 4)

Just a reminder:  tomorrow is the 13th of the month, and so it is a Rêveur Day.  Be sure to wear black and white with a pop of red, and then send me your picture if you feel so inspired.  (And thanks to all those of you who are doing it even when you don’t send pictures.  I enjoy hearing about it on Facebook, too.)  For more information on what I’m talking about, please click here.

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Here is the continuation of my six-part gothiness series.  You can read the previous three parts by clicking on these links:

Embracing My Inner Goth (part 1)

Embracing My Inner Goth (part 2)

Embracing My Inner Goth (part 3)

And while you’re at it, check out this review of Werewolf Songs over at As You Were.  This CD went on my Christmas list faster than you can say lycanthrope.

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Part IV:  Tim Burton, I’m Sorrowful to Report, Just Might Have Lost His Edge

I had always been a fan of Tim Burton’s work.  Even before I knew who he was, Beetlejuice was my favorite movie.  I had seen it fourteen times by the time I hit my senior year of high school, which in that pre-Internet time of Blockbuster Video and VCRs was a big deal.  His movies were macabre and funny, visually appealing and well acted.  I thought his stories were original.  And who doesn’t love, love, love Danny Elfman?  (I’m still listening to Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party.)

I loved his trademark black-and-white stripes, not because of any affection for black-and-white stripes, but because he had a trademark.  Burton could be known even without an introduction.  He had a strong sense of himself, and I gravitated toward that even before I consciously understood how much I admired and yearned for that quality.

But as much as I have always loved The Nightmare Before Christmas — to this day autumn finds me singing “Sally’s Lament” in the shower — I have to admit Corpse Bride left me feeling a little hollow.  It didn’t have the fully realized grandeur of his previous movies, even though all the right elements were there.  And with the notable exception of the incomparable and exquisite Big Fish, most of his movies lately have been…disappointing.  His new take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was goofy, and his reimagining of Alice in Wonderland just about broke my heart.

But then he tackled Dark Shadows, and I allowed myself to hope.  The early trailers and studio stills looked promising, the cast of the usual beloved suspects (with Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green thrown in for a bonus), impeccable.  I started to feel excited, sure that his pitiful streak couldn’t go on for this long.  And how could you go wrong with Dark Shadows?

He found a way.

Crackpot storytelling, that’s how.  An inability to remember what denouement is — or the integrity of plot.  More style than substance.  And the worst use of werewolf ex machina I’ve ever seen.

I sat in the theater in a long black skirt and the most incredible Iron Fist shoes and wanted

These shoes are actually purple, not blue.
These shoes are actually purple, not blue.

to eat an entire box of Raisinets and chase them down with a whole bag of Twizzlers.

I don’t know why I should have felt betrayed.  I do know I felt stupid for having allowed myself to hope.

But now there’s Frankenweenie, a film which has been expanded from its original short version — a short version which was one of Burton’s first projects thirty years ago.  The reviews so far have suggested this one is worth a look, even considering the last several years of shlock. *

And once again, that eternal fountain of hope is bubbling up inside of me.  If I could just find someone willing to see it with me, I’d be set.

One last look before we go.
One last look before we go.

*  Check out this review of Frankenweenie by Tom Charity.

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Click on these links to be taken to the rest of the posts in this series.  Thanks for reading!

Embracing My Inner Goth (part 5)

Embracing My Inner Goth (part 6)

 

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8 thoughts on “Embracing My Inner Goth (part 4)

  1. I have to agree about ‘Chocolate Factory’ – no one could out-do the version starring Gene Wilder. A lot of that had to do with the Newley/Bricusse score. They were a British songwriting partnership that is less well-known than it ought to be. Anthony Newley is no longer with us… Leslie Bricusse now lives in California.

    I adore this:

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    1. I agree! When I first saw the WIlder version, on a 4th grade school field trip to the movie, I was absolutely enraptured. The chocolate room was almost too much for my senses; I just wanted it to be real so badly. I read the book immediately thereafter, but I’d already been a Dahl fan for a while.

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  2. I loved Beetlejuice (and, of course, Batman) back in the day, but somehow I think Beetlejuice has aged better than most of Burton’s movies. It’s just so gleefully weird, and tells a great story. I also will always, always love the note-perfect use of not just one but two Harry Belafonte songs — especially “Jump In the Line” with a floating Wynona Ryder and undead football players dancing on the staircase. It’s been a while since I last saw it, but now I want to again!

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    1. Is there any better counterpoint to Danny Elfman than Harry Belafonte? “Jump in the Line” became my favorite Calypso song (interestingly, edging out “Day-O”) after that movie, and it’s still in rotation on my iPod because now my daughter loves it too. My dad was always a Belafonte fan, so I grew up listening to him.

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