Sweeny Todd, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, collaboration, Mark Wahlberg

Discussion (43) ¬

  1. Black

    For some reason, it sorta reminds me of “the Chronicles of Narnia” with the images of the Standoff between the two factions and a world that has gotten physically/symbolically darker under a tyrants reign.
    I plan on watching it but I can’t help but think of the aforementioned comparisons.

  2. bryan

    I’m kind of looking forward to seeing the movie since it is supposed to take place as Alice’s second trip down the rabbit hole. And if Alice was to revisit wonderland for a second time who would you pick to play as the mad hatter this time around? I agree, anymore it seems as if Burton does rely of Depp for most of his movies now a days but I think Depp is the perfect fit for his role in this movie. So with the it being a sequel it is something that I might actually venture to theatres for this weekend or next, who knows maybe to even put on the 3D glasses.

  3. Kylana

    I want to see it but I agree that Burton is stuck in a loop. He is a wonderful artist, story teller, and director but he needs some new friends. Alice looks good and Sweeney Todd was amazing, and no one argues that Burton is ahead of his time. However using the same cast over and over, like you said, just gets old.

  4. colin

    THANK you! I too love Burton and Depp, but the new Alice just looks terrible. Beyond how predictably “wacky” it’s trying to look, it’s not even the original story.. it’s Alice returning as an adult to kill the Red Queen, or something of that sort. It feels like an excuse to have the Mad Hatter in every single scene of the movie instead of trying to bring a creative visualization of the books.

    That said, I would love to see American McGee’s Alice made into a movie. It was just disturbing enough to be a fitting tribute to Lewis Carrol. It’s been in development since 2000, but so far, nothing…

  5. Pete

    I made these exact same points to some people recently, so it’s good to know I’m not alone on this. There is a part of me, that little part tucked away in the back of my brain that used to be a huge Burton fan (one of my favorite movies is still Sleepy Hollow) that is a tiny bit excited by Alice. But the rest of me just sighs and says, “It’s not worth the $8.00 (or whatever they charge now; I’ve been using a stockpile of gift certificates lately) to see in the theater. I’ll wait until I can get it through Netflix.”

  6. teniralc2

    Yeah, Van Gogh would have been far more interesting if he had stopped using that swirly pattern all the time… I have to respectfully disagree with you in this particular case. I do find that there are definite similarites between Burton’s films – he has a rather instantly recognizeable visual style that I admit to being quite the fan of. I do believe, however, that calling Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “the same film” is rather unfair. Yes, in both cases Depp has pasty skin and very stylized hair, but the worlds created – while clearly having the same brush-strokes – are very different. I also think it makes sense to continue working with artists like Colleen Atwood – costume design – and Danny Elfman who understand Burton’s artistic sensibilities and processes. I don’t see why this cannot extend to his actors as well. Burton and Depp have a way of bringing out new and exciting things in each other, and I look forward to each of their collaborations. Some are certainly stronger than others, but all have been worth watching. If a group of people work well together and create interesting films that draw audiences, I actually am not seeing a downside to continuing to use the same starting line-up. I would love to see Burton return to less well-known source materials and move away from remakes for a bit though, as I do tend to prefer when he approaches more original material.

  7. Stefan

    Personally, I’m really looking forward to Alice in Wonderland, as I’m a fan of both Lewis Carroll’s book and Tim Burton. I always make a point to see his newest film on opening weekend and Alice will be no exception. I even plan on checking out the 3-D version. This looks like it will be in the same vein as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I really liked that one (especially as a fan of the book who hates the 70s version), so it seems like it will be up my alley.

    With that said, I would like to see him tackle an original idea again, in the Beetlejuice vein. The man has just a vivid imagination and while his output this decade has been strong, I wouldn’t mind seeing something close to his earlier Frankenweenie-Vincent days.

  8. Amb

    Oh man! I know exactly where you’re coming from Tom. I’m a fan first of Lewis Carroll’s books and of Tim Burton’s, but for some reason Depp looks sooooo overdone in this film it just about kills my enthusiasm to see this movie. Which is very disappointing….and surprising.

  9. Mr M
    Mr M

    I can certainly understand Burton using Depp again.

    There are very, very few people who can actually act in Hollywood that I’d keep going to the well again until it is dry.

  10. Chris Howard

    Gotta agree with the general sentiment of used to like Burton, but now he’s become a self-parody. But the Goths have money…

    Gotta go get a Zagnut now. I hear they are good for ya.

  11. Jessica

    Sorry I have to point out a typo: it’s Sweeney, not Sweeny (big fan of the musical, not the movie, thus it is a pet peeve of mine) Great comic though.

  12. Jabrwock

    Having played “American McGee’s Alice”, the original trailers and photos for the new AiW reminded me of that style of “twisted” AiW.

    But since then it seems more like he’s sticking closer to the original Carroll story. So I guess we’ll see.

  13. LeAnna

    I love anything Alice in Wonderland so I’m definitely going to see it. I’m still a huge fan of Helena so if she’s in the film then I’m in.

    However, I do get your point and I can’t believe the 3rd panel of the comic because it’s so true! I didn’t even realize that Johnny Depp made that many movies as a chalk-faced weirdo lol.

  14. bryan

    In defence of Ed Wood against the “pasty faced wierdo” charaterization I would like to point out that everyone in that movie was “pasty” because it was black and white and most of them were “wierdos” because that was the company Ed Wood kept. It was a great movie.

    I will admit I am not that interested in this new Alice movie but as Chris Howard pointed out above the people in the “Goth” movement have money, also they spend it.
    There was a study in Britian a few years ago and then found that people who had been in the early “goth” movement tended to become middle class as they grew up.
    The Middle Class is the backbone of a free market economy.

  15. taekwondogirl

    I wanted to be excited about the movie, but I can’t. The way the movie’s been marketed, it feels like it’s going to be more about the Mad Hatter than Alice, and it’s her movie. For god’s sake, she’s not even on any of the posters for it!

    On top of that, it seems like the “insanity” will be contrived and convenient for forwarding the plot, whereas the actual book and Disney version depict people who are too gone to even make a complete conversation work. So the insanity of the Mad Hatter will really be just inanity, and a way for Depp to be weird again.

  16. Kayla

    So glad someone agrees. Frankly, I was more excited for SciFi’s Alice than I’ve ever been for Burton’s AiW. Your statements pretty much nailed my feeling right on the head.

  17. RubyRoses

    Thank you! The same problems have been having with Burton, and I have no plans to go and see this movie, just because I don’t want to support this in anyway. It’s not just Depp and Helena he’s been using all the time either, a lot of the supporting cast has been pretty much the same too. Like Tim has been in a few of them. Someone also mentioned that the movies are different, plot-wise, but it’s hardly a pro for Burton, they have been remakes or adaptations, so I don’t think he can get any credit for story.

  18. Justin M
    Justin M

    CollegeHumor seems to be on the same page as you today. Check out their latest video to see what I mean. http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1929453

  19. Chris C.


    Sums up my thoughts nicely. Thank you.

  20. bewtifulfreak

    And if I recall correctly, he still worked with Helena Bonham Carter on Big Fish. 😉

    I’m actually looking forward to Alice In Wonderland – I just love fantasy films in general, and the cast is actually comprised of a whole lot of other amazing actors besides Johnny Depp – but you do have a point!

  21. Chuck

    Lewis Carroll? I always saw Burton as Dr. Suess’s dark, illegitimate child.

    I love Alice in Wonderland and I have been dreading this movie since I heard Burton was directing it. I’m with the person above who loves Sweeney Todd, but not the movie version. I don’t want to watch another love receive such treatment. I also didn’t like what he did with Sleepy Hollow. I will not be seeing this film.

    To be fair, I did quite enjoy Edward Scissorhands.

  22. Relaxing Dragon
    Relaxing Dragon

    Hear here, that’s pretty much my thoughts on the matter, Tom. I like Burton and I love Depp, but it seems like they’ve been trying the same shtick much too often. Especially with Depp, since I greatly prefer him in the roles he has that aren’t the light-voiced, child-faced oddball (give me the more regular voiced, crazy oddball instead. More Raoul Duke please!).

    That said, I am still looking forward to Alice in Wonderland, since Burton has at least decided to do something interesting with the story and go sequel, as opposed to retreading the original material we all know by heart now.

  23. Damon

    I was pretty excited when I very first hear about the project, but after constantly seeing that same lousy image of Depp as the Hatter and very little else to promote the movie, I’ll admit my interest has hit a bit of a low. I’m pretty tired of this combo, and I wish they’d had poster and such that focused on, y’know, Alice, these being her adventures and all.

  24. Creepy McGee

    I’m still hoping for Pee Wee’s Big Adventure Pt 2!

  25. Wiredwizard

    I’d like to see Burton team up w/ Michael Keaton again.

  26. SSG Jeff (USAR)
    SSG Jeff (USAR)

    I enjoyed SciFi’s Alice – to the point that my wife bought me the DVD version of “Tinman” from the same bunch – and I’ll definitely be seeing this one as well. Fortunately I haven’t seen the last 3 Depp/Burton collaborations, so I don’t have anything to compare them to.

  27. trevor

    I’m not really looking forward to this flick. Maybe it will surprise me, but American McGee’s ALICE has really become the best ALICE IN WONDERLAND story for me. Other than the source material, of course.

  28. RLove

    Gotta defend Tim Burton here. For the record, I am not an attendee of the Church of Burton…I’ve never really cared for Sleepy Hollow, and I genuinely dislike Big Fish for reasons that I won’t bother to get into. But despite the presence of Depp playing one odd sort of person or another, the films are all quite different, and I’m not talking about plot.
    Many of Burton’s films are not character-driven. Given the memorable characters, I know that seems an odd thing to say. But as I reviewed the list of his films given in the comic, I found myself thinking of how Burton creates a world within his films. As teniralc2 pointed out, he creates these worlds with the same brushstrokes, but they are nonetheless radically different. Compare the nauseatingly suburban setting of Edward Scissorhands (and the gothic setting held up as a strangely tender counterpoint), the vicious and grimy London of Sweeny Todd, the childish yet unsettling environment of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. All of those movies reveal Burton’s outlandish style, and all of them feature a Depp portrayal of an outcast, but none of them feel the same–not even close. The worlds that Burton evokes have markedly different tones. The magic of a great Burton-Depp collaboration is that Depp can not only create a character who fits within the niche of Burton’s oddball universe, but can match it for intensity. Depp’s portrayals of Edward Scisscorhands, Sweeney Todd, and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Willy Wonka stand out. In the best collaborations, Burton’s worlds do not swallow Depp’s characters, and Depp’s characters do not overwhelm Burton’s worlds. Actor and director work in harmony.
    Ed Wood, by the way, IS character-driven and is therefore extremely different from the above films. There, Burton created the world as the character saw it.
    Same cast and director? Sure. Same film over and over? No way. Burton may not have written the stories, but he brought their worlds to life in his own peculiar and engrossing fashion.

    • Tom


      I think you make some very well-reasoned points. Certainly the comic (and to an extent, the blog) are making a generalization by only identifying Depp, pale makeup and oddball characters at the only connective tissue. Certainly if you dig deeper, there are disparities between the films. Most clearly between Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Burton’s later cannon.

      But I guess that’s my problem with Burton’s later cannon. While earlier films like Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman, Ed Wood and Mars Attacks were wildly different (with a proper dosage of Burton charm and whimsy), his later films like Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd look alarmingly the same to me. The same gothic tone. The same warped images. The same cast. The same music. It feels predictable and I think for someone of Burton’s creative capacity, “predictable” is the last thing you’d want to be.

      I love Tim Burton films. I think Burton is a unique voice in Hollywood and I don’t mean to disparage his efforts. Despite the samey-same feeling I get from some of his later films, I’m very much a fan of Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow.

      But, in my view, he’s not living up to his potential. I think he’s gotten comfortable working in a certain style with certain people that he trusts. That’s understandable. But I think he could re-energize himself by making a few simple changes that really wouldn’t be that painful in the long run.

  29. Chabneruk

    Exactly my thoughts, Tom. When I first saw the advertising I was like “Wtf? The movie is called Alice, but they only show Johnny Depp?” If at least he was only one of the minor charakters… but, no – he is the star of this Burton film again! (I guess there was just no way to let him play Alice, though I would have loved to see that…)
    Up to now it didn’t matter so much and maybe Alice is a great film too (I have to see it yet) but for the first time in a Burton film the focus seems to be not the story but Johnny Depp. And thats harsh.

  30. Joshua

    My only complaint is the constant combination of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The world Alice goes to in Through the Looking Glass is not Wonderland. It’s a giant chess board; thus, the red and white queens. I would go so far as to say that Through the Looking Glass is better in all regards compared to Wonderland, which is probably why filmmakers tend to combine the two; but the better marketing ploy would be to make a proper adaptation of Wonderland and then release an adaptation of Alice’s other adventure. I can promise you, there are enough Lewis Carroll fans who would 1) appreciate the dedication to the source material and 2) pay to see both movies. I can’t be the only one who’s thought of this.

  31. Jorn the Younger
    Jorn the Younger

    I’m in the uninterested camp. I saw the trailer and my reaction was “oh, it’s Depp in a funny outfit being really wacky. Again. I mean, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn’t BAD, but it left me with no interest in sitting through another two hours of more of the same. I didn’t bother seeing Sweeney Todd, and now that I think about it, I think Big Fish may have been the last Tim Burton movie I really liked, and my favourite Depp movie is Don Juan DeMarco

  32. JBL

    At one time Burton was in the asset column; after several failed films, I put him in the liability list. On the other hand, I still like Johnny Depp’s esoteric performances. So ALICE is an iffy thing at best, in my book. Sure would like to see Burton pull it off, because his best films are miraculous things, and even his failures LOOK neat. But we’ll see. For my $, his last aesthetic success was BIG FISH.

  33. demonfafa

    Agreed Wholeheartedly on every point. ALSO, (and this applies to many recent films, not just Burton) that I am so tired of CGI. The Fantastic Mr. Fox showed that stop-motion is not dead and is still a viable art form. I’m fine with computers cleaning up how things look, correcting mistakes and improving the realism, but not to the point that it looks completely fake. I don’t think CGI can ever take the place of real, full landscapes and real actors.

  34. woodstock

    i watched Alice in Wonderland last night. I will say the best parts of the movie are the parts that don’t involve Johnny Depp. That is a biased opinion because like anyone else, I’m tired of Johnny Depp acting like a creep for Tim Burton. I’m sure the stoners will love the visuals, but there is almost no charming wordplay that you’d expect. Also the 3D effects are purely gimmicks. Very rarely does it actually enhance the mood of the film. Tim Burton’s understanding of 3D is just to throw things in your face

  35. Funderbunk

    Most of what I think has been said (I agree with those who think it looks same old same old), but I’d like to say that I disagree with this statement: “There is no other living director that could possibly do Alice in Wonderland justice like Burton could.”

    I would like to raise a finger and point out Guillermo del Toro.

  36. R.J. Oltrick
    R.J. Oltrick

    I agree, while disagreeing in a way.

    I am probably going to see Alice in Wonderland, because Burton has yet to make me dislike one of his movies. I haven’t seen all of them, however, so who knows. However I am deeply disaapointed in all the Mad Hatter hype. As a previous poster said, it’s ALICE’S movie. It’s her tale. Having Depp in the previews so predominately makes me feel like Burton isn’t even trying to do something different, that he is now at the point where he is going ‘LOOK! Depp with a pasty white face! You have loved these movies before, so watch it again!’

    To be honest, it’s like he is pimping his relationship with Johnny Depp. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

    Of course, how much say does the director have in adds? That could be totally the people trying to sell the movie. So we will see, I am holding out hope.

    Though I wish Burton did another tale like big fish again… which was originally a book, so that isn’t even a original tale, fyi. <Library worker. You would be surprised on how many movies were books.

  37. Tonia

    Yes I agree with you about his replaying the same type of themes (personally Big Fish was my one of favorite Burton movies but I seem to remember it also got a bit of critical drubbing from some) – and for somewhat disturbing versions of “Alice” – the animated version by Jan Svankmajer is very weird

  38. Zach S
    Zach S

    While I am looking forward to the movie and enjoy Burton/Depp films it seems that there are too many similarities. It makes sense that Burton likes to work with Depp, because Depp seems to understand the vision that Burton has while filming. What I think could work out well if Burton would use Depp again, cast him in a different role, Depp has shown that he can handle a variety of roles from his other projects.

  39. Chris

    I’m excited to see this as I’m a Burton and Depp fan, but I do agree. Depp seems to play the same role in all of Burton’s movies and it is getting hard to tell them apart at this point. The only possible saving grace is that Depp isn’t likely to have a huge role in this film. At least in the book and the Disney movie the Hatter is a significant supporting character but by no means does the Hatter make the story.

  40. Kaye

    Your rant is so perfectly what I’ve thought of Burton and Depp for the last year or two, and I’ve tried so hard to articulate it so as to not get in fights with people but it never comes out right. That though, that was beautiful.

  41. AshiKitten

    I probably will see this. I have to admit, Johnny Depp does look a little creepy. I thought he was kinda scary in “The Chocolate Factory” but yeah…lol best line from “Chocolate Factory”

    “You smell like soap and old people…I like it! :D”

  42. MzGambit

    Saw it.
    Dont’ regret seeing it… however i’m not exactly moved to tell others to check it out. i felt like i was watching the cliffnotes version of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. There really wasn’t much detail of a story line. the whole thing seems just GENERAL. Alice is easily distracted… Alice falls down hole… Alice eats and drinks things without thinking twice… Alice doesn’t understand where she is or the characters she’s talking to… Alice offends everyone… Alice meets queen… Alice learns lesson… Alice reappears in old world. yeah we got that. how about some filler details? Rather than Wizard of Oz-ing it through the movie, how about really getting to the point? I feel this movie would’ve been ridiculously awesome if directed by a collaboration between Tim Burtons Vision and Atmosphere but through Quentin Taratino’s storytelling. THAT is true wonderland. THAT is an explination. and THAT covers all angles. 🙁 it’s moments like this that a RESET button in time would be wonderfully effective.

    Also. Mad Hatter???? I LOVE Johnny Depp however…. eeeeeeeh… the Mad Hatter was merely Sweeney Todd (mood swings, crazy hair), Willy Wonka (makeup, sillyness, and sometimes voice), and Capt. Jack Sparrow (obsession with his hat, however being the mad Hatter i can’t really say that’s blameable in this instance, how he walked, how he ran, and his costume) blended into one. He needs to work on creating a different persona for each of his characters. It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between them as of lately.

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