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Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker Paperback – 1 Nov 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Renaissance Books (Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580631622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580631624
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.8 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,559,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

A Portrait of the Fantasist-Poet of American Suburbia
Tim Burton may just be the most interesting and individual American filmmaker working today-certainly one of the top few most visually gifted-and my attempt with this book was both to explore his films and the very personal, almost secretive, artist himself. The latter proved especially elusive, since the reticent Burton proved very reticent indeed. Moreover, the further I delved into his various interviews and public statements, the more it seemed to me that this obviously sensitive artist had created a persona to hide behind in what was presented to the world as Tim Burton. However, the solution was there all the time-or at least the key to parts of it-in the combination of what that persona revealed when looked at in conjunction with Burton's work and his life. Somewhere in there is the real Tim Burton-fantasist and poet of suburbia. Any true artist (as Burton certainly is) is inevitably more open in his work than in what he says about himself, and this is very much the case, I feel, with Burton. Between his words and what he has created in film lies a great degree of the truth, though many times that truth is more apt to raise questions than to provide clear-cut answers. The result of this approach to him produces a darker, more complex, and possibly slightly disturbing image, but also a more human and solid one. I hope that my efforts to present this portrait of Burton succeed in deepening the understanding and appreciation of this visionary filmmaker. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Paperback
Don't get me wrong, there's some good stuff in here, but the vast majority of the book is just speculation and hearsay. I mean, let's face it, how much of an insight into Burton can Lisa Marie's movement coach on Mars Attacks! really give?
Yes, the guy makes a good case for looking at Burton through his films, but this is hardly an original suggestion, and his analysis is so basic (little more than extended synopses) that you come out with little idea where the argument, if there was any, actually lay.
This is certainly not a biography (the information is just a long-winded version of the stuff you get in all the movie magazines whenever a new film comes out (born in Burbank, worked at Disney, made some films etc.), and actually doesn't include some biographical information that I've read elsewhere (probably Premier or Empire or somewhere). The research-levels seem impressive at first, until a bit of checking reveals just how many articles he's missed out.
Equally, his vain attempts to work out just what went on with the aborted Superman project reveals a deep level of ignorance, and tells the story entirely from Burton's (presumed) perspective. Everyone knows Burton came out of this unhappy, and everyone knows he and Kevin Smith have had a few public spats, but here Hanke basically just fobs this off with the explanation :"Kevin Smith is a childish, untalented fool with little or no writing ability and no knowledge of comics.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives you a good insight to the man and his films. The book tries to get into Tim's psyche by using his films to reflect how Tim must view the world. He likes to think he was different as a boy, a bit of a loner growing up in a normal town in a normal street in a normal house. This awkwardness around normality manifests itself in his films. You only have to look at his version of Batman -dark and alone, Edward Scissor hands - a strange man viewed as a freak by the suburban neighbourhood. The book suggestively ties Tim's films and the characters of his films back to the so-called New-Hollywood director's own characteristics. The slight down side of the book is that everything is assumed and although it makes reasonable attempts at analysing his work as a reflection of the director, there are no real interviews to back this up. Overall Well worth reading - having read this book it becomes clear why Tim's films are as they appear on the big screen.
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Format: Hardcover
Really incisive portrait of America's most interesting filmmaking. The author manages to brilliantly "read" the artist through his films--finding many fascinating parallels between what Burton puts onscreen and Burton's private life. Whether or not all these parallels are valid, they serve the function of raising all the right questions about the filmmaker and his work--they force the reader to actually think about Burton and his work and what it means. This is what this kind of book ought to be about, but so rarely is. It is also an intriguing and incisive portrait of the way society treats its artists and the incomprehensible resentment that so often seems to be focused on anyone who dares to try to create something. The end result is more than a biography of Tim Burton, it's a book that ought to be an inspiration to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
Tim Burton comes to life within these pages as he does within his films (as the autobiographical Vincent in that film short, as the inventor-child in Frankeweenie, as the girl in Beetlejuice, and onward). Ken Hanke's contention is that if you understand Burton's films - with its darkness, its quirkiness, - you will understand Burton. Ane he makes a good case for this, while at all times being insightful and entertaining. Overall, the book is rather poignant, as a man full of creativity has to fight all the time against those who prefer no creativity - merely a successful formula repeated over and over again. We all go through this in our own lives, which is what makes this book resonate to all.
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By A Customer on 13 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazingly good look at a truly gifted filmmaker. I came away from it with a new appreciation of Tim Burton and his films--and a sense of understanding the man himself, or at least beginning to. Much, much better than BURTON ON BURTON, where Burton is himself too much in control and putting his own spin on things, keeping his private face way too much under wraps in his self-made myth. Tim Burton may not entirely approve of what Ken Hanke has done here, but I at least ended up liking him better as both a person and an artist after reading the book. It explained so much of the melancholy that lies beneath the films. Better yet--it made me want to go out and create something of my own!
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