Last Updated 06 Apr 2020

Timothy Tim Walter Burton

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Timothy (Tim) Walter Burton is an American film director and writer. Many of his films are inspired by legends such as Edgar Allan Poe and Dr. Seuss. The two writers were very different from one another. Poe's writing was characterized by horror while Dr. Seuss’ was playful child innocence.

Burton took a liking to Dr. Seuss’ rhythm and rhyme structure. In his films, it becomes apparent of this influence. Such as in his film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton delights in using rhyming songs while celebrating the fates of the repulsive children in the story, demonstrating the playfulness with a hint of terror behind it. In his film Edward Scissorhands, Burton uses these techniques so effectively to portray different ideas including showing strengths, weaknesses or revealing a depressing or cheerful setting.

As a director, cinematic techniques are a must to the film you are directing. Framing, angles, lighting, music, and editing adds to the magic in a movie. In his films, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Edward Scissorhands Burton´s use of cinematic techniques achieved the desired effect he wished for.

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In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton emphasizes on the darker elements of the characters by including low-key lighting to resemble the darkness of the scene. In the entrance of Charlie Bucket, the camera zooms into him, while the light is very low to reference his poor status and to give the viewers a feeling of sorrow. In the original novel by Roald Dahl, Charlie was also portrayed as a young boy who lived in part of the lower class in society.

The readers were to feel saddened by his state and Burton strived to raise the same reaction, although with a hint of darkness behind it. Now, referring to the opening credits of both films, the background is a striking black, with no light. Obscure pictures flicker into the back and out. These reflect Burton´s love for dark and cloudy scenes. Continuing on with Charlie´s journey of winning his golden ticket to the factory, when the children set inside, the lighting is intensely high and bright.

This reflects how happy and joyful the children and even their parents felt at seeing such scenery and environment. In addition to the high-key lighting, Burton uses low-key lighting in scenes in which Willy Wonka flashes back to his depressing childhood of being a helpless child of a dentist, who refused for him to never eat any sugary treats. The scenes are black-and-white, depicticating the gloominess he felt.

Camera angles and framing also play a key role in Burton´s films. While introducing Willy Wonka in the start of the film, the camera angles were constantly low angle, to depict his power and control. The framing is usually close-up, to really focus on his devious and sly expressions, which Burton takes much delight in highlighting in all of his films. In the scene where Wonka is describing his journey of finding the Oompa-Loompa´s, there is a bug that is bothering him in the jungle. The camera angle then is low angle, to show that the bug is strong. A high-angle on Wonka makes him seem hopeless and when he kills the bug, it gives a low angle shot to show his powerful.

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Timothy Tim Walter Burton. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved from

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