Tim Burton and Disney: a Lasting Relationship – Current Affairs

Tim Burton and Disney: a Lasting Relationship - Current Affairs

After reimagining "Alice in Wonderland," Tim Burton reintroduces a Disney animated classic "Dumbo," which hits theaters March 28. But the director's relationship with the studio is much older than these two films and runs throughout his career.

There are just a few current filmmakers with such a specific, recognizable and well-defined imagery as Tim Burton, which circulates between the fantastic, the gothic, the terror and the animated image.

In the course of world success, Disney was, from the outset, an inescapable presence. Burton was born in Burbank, the southern California area where the Disney and Warner Bros. studios are located, and studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), a university opened in 1961 that had in Walt Disney one of its main patrons .

One of his short films earned him entry to Disney in 1979 as an apprentice along with other colleagues at CalArts who in the following decades would revolutionize American animation and launch Disney's new golden age as Glen Keane , John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker, Kirk Wise or Rob Minkoff.

Although Burton did not adapt to the routines of the traditional cartoon, especially in the work he did in "Papuça e Dentuça", the studio decided to put it first as a "concept artist", to make drawings that inspired the general mood of the films, giving him the green light to carry out his first works.

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'Vincent' (1982)

The debut film soon became one of the most autobiographical of his career: Vincent (1982), a six-minute short film in stop-motion animation about a boy obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe who pretends to be Vincent Price, brightened by the actor's own voice. The tape, which had nothing to do with the usual Disney production, is almost a rundown of Burton's future career and is one of the most acclaimed short animations of the era.

Until 1984, the director signed two more half-hour real-time short films at Disney, the first being a version of the "Hansel and Gretel" story with Asian flavor and the second, and most popular, a variation of the Frankenstein myth called "Frankenweenie", in which a boy rebuilds and gives back to life the dog that was run over.

After leaving the studio, Burton gained fame as a director of feature films, signing a string of hits: "The Great Adventure of Pee-wee Herman," "Beetlejuice," "Batman," " Batman Returns "and" Edward Scissorhands ".

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'The Strange World of Jack' (1993) – Full cast and crew

With his popularity in the stratosphere, the director returned to Disney to produce a stop-motion animated feature from a poem he had written a decade earlier. The result, "The Strange World of Jack", premiered in 1993 and became one of its most emblematic titles, a true phenomenon of worship that in Portugal premiered accompanied by his first short, "Vincent."

With less visibility, he soon produced for Disney another stop-motion animated feature, "James and the Giant Peach" (1996), from the book by Roal Dahl. The two films were released with Touchstone label, which the studio used for bold and not necessarily familiar appeals, such as one of the best and most acclaimed productions of the director's career, which premiered in 1994: "Ed Wood" , the biography of the so-called "worst filmmaker in the world", a passionate love-film tape that won two Oscars.

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'Alice in Wonderland' (2010) – Full cast and crew

After a successful run by other studios, with works such as "The Legend of the Headless Horseman," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and "Sweeney Todd: The Terrible Barber of Fleet Street," Tim Burton returned to Disney in 2010 to to sign one of the biggest hits of his career, "Alice in Wonderland."

The feature film took over as a true-life sequel to Lewis Carroll's classic, which Disney had immortalized in cartoon in 1951, and which launched the new phase of the real-image renovation studio of animated classics from its catalog.

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'Frankenweenie' (2012)

In 2012, after being one of the first filmmakers associated with "Maleficent" but eventually abandoning it, Burton signed another stop-motion film for Disney, now not only as a producer but also as a director, "Frankenweenie" animated and feature-length short film of the same name of 1984, which is also one of her most personal works.

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'Dumbo' (2019)

Finally, in 2019, Burton re-imagines one of Disney's greatest cartoon classics, "Dumbo," with some of his regular collaborators (Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and Eva Green as actors, Danny Elfman as a composer).

The first images leave no room for doubt: this is a new classic in power, a director used to transforming his dreams into film.


Dumbo arrives in the Portuguese cinemas on March 28.

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