Burton on Burton - Tim Burton, Mark Salisbury

***** Tim in Wonderland 

To say that Tim Burton is a visionary genius of cinema surely approaches the truth, but if you want to get an idea of all that lies behind the work of this writer/director/drawer/artist, the book “Burton on Burton” is definitely a good starting point.
I loved this director since the late 80s, exactly since ’89, when “Batman” was released, a movie that has also allowed us, who are on this side of the ocean, to meet him. Since then I have followed his career step by step, also returning back to see his previous movie “Beetlejuice”, which is still my most seen one (I lost the count somewhere around 40), both in Italian and in the original language and which I watch again with pleasure from time to time.
He made me move with “Edward Scissorhands”, in which there was my (and his) first encounter with Johnny Depp, my favourite actor for over 20 years. He amused me with movies like “Mars Attacks!”, “Ed Wood” and “Sleep Hollow”, he made me enthusiastic with “Batman”, “Batman Returns” (a little less than with the first one though) and the recent “Dark Shadows”, he surprised me with “The Corpse Bride”, “Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Alice in Wonderland”, he intrigued me with “Sweeney Todd”. In some cases I was not completely satisfied, as in “Planet of the Apes”. I have not seen some movies at all by choice, like “Big Fish” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”, or for lack of opportunity, like “Pee Wee's Big Adventure”, but sooner or later I will watch them.
In any case, he is without a doubt my favourite director. In his films, if on one hand you can see his touch and the presence of certain recurring themes, however, there is a wide variety of genres. We have fantasy, paranormal comedy, superhero, science fiction, animation, musical, children's story, crime story, biography. There's something for all tastes.
Reading this wonderful book, in which Burton tells about himself at various stages of his career and his life, you can really understand where this variety comes from and at the same time what makes his films “Burtonian”. It turns out as he often has come to make a film almost by accident and as on other occasions they were stories created by him and that he strongly desired to develop, at the cost of long waiting.
Burton tells us about the often unusual genesis of certain films, such as “Nightmare Before Christmas”, whose story was written step by step with the creation of the soundtrack. He talks about his partnership with Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman and with other collaborators who have often worked with him. He shows us the often ruthless world of Hollywood, to which he has always tried not to give in, claiming he wanted to do only what he was feeling in his heart, because he was simply not able to do anything else. He reveals the man behind the director, from “special” kid to talented artist, to (almost casually) director.
What emerges is undoubtedly his enormous imagination combined with a strong desire to turn it into reality.
This book is in my opinion a true inspiration to all those who have an artistic talent and want to find ways to use it well, without compromise. But it is also only the life of a man, the simplicity of whom is evident from the way he speaks and what he says. He does not feel and does not want to be a celebrity. He just wants to bring to life his characters and his stories. It is a true artist.
As a fan and expert of Tim Burton, whilst reading this book, I have experienced almost a journey through time, going along with the periods during which he worked on his films. But I think “Burton on Burton” is a great read for any movie lover, as it offers a privileged perspective towards this world, from which many are fascinated.
Excellent work by the curator, Mark Salisbury, who has expertly put together the texts taken from various interviews, alternating them with interesting explanations. Finally, I must spend a few words to the two prefaces written by Johnny Depp, who added to it a little colour, telling us about Burton from a different point of view, that one of a friend, who shared (and still shares) with him the most important part of his career as an actor.

Burton on Burton, 2nd Revised Edition on Amazon.com.