I don’t think you can name a person who hasn’t seen a Tim Burton film, from his early work in Edward Scissorhands, to his more recent pieces like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
His famous stylistics have made him stand out in the film industry, and it’s his imagination that brings him a huge, dedicated fan base. With this inventiveness in his work, it’s his characters and their presence that seem to make the most impact on audiences. I’m taking a look across all his films and naming (in my humble opinion) his top 10 characters.
10. Ed Bloom, Big Fish (2003)
This is probably one of Burton’s most misunderstood films. I still can’t get to grips fully with it, but it’s creative flare makes it spellbinding to watch. Ed Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney and Perry Walston, progresses throughout the film and becomes more endearing to watch. He’s quiet and peaceful, unlike a lot of Burton’s characters which makes him extremely engaging to follow through the film. Yet, his cheeky charm keeps you entertained and laughing.
9. Grandpa Jo, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Unlike a lot of the eccentric characters we see throughout Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Grandpa Jo (David Kelly) remains wise and collected. His knowledge and encouragement towards Charlie Bucket makes him so incredibly lovable that you find it hard not to want to hold his hand and go for a walk along the chocolate waterfall with him.
8. Vincent, Vincent (1982)
Burton’s shorts are fantastic, and this one really got him noticed. Vincent’s gothic nature and personality specifies exactly what Burton is great at. He takes him from being polite and considerate, to turning into a tormented character from shot to shot. Through only expressing feelings via the detail in the animation without a voice, Burton brings Vincent alive with emotion.
7. Barkis Bittern, Corpse Bride (2005)
Barkis Bittern is a horrible character. He’s a character you really love to hate. Voiced by the wonderful Richard. E. Grant, his gorgeous English voice brings such a detest to the posh accent that he holds. From his giant chin to his repulsive presence, never have I ever wanted to kill a fictional character as much as him.
6. Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow (1999)
From the long list of characters Johnny Depp has played for Burton, this one always brings back fond memories. The fact he’s squeamish about blood and is a doctor is brilliant. The way his dithering characteristics make him perfect for building up tension in the ridiculous storyline plays out well. And because he’s just so god damn great in the climatic end makes for a stupidly enjoyable watch with him on screen.
5. Lydia Deetz, Beetlejuice (1988)
Winona Ryder was made for this role. She starts off as this misunderstood teen, passionate about the arts with her flamboyant black clothing, and turns into someone her age hanging out with a couple of friendly ghosts. The fun she’s having as she mimes to Shake, Shake Senora brings the whole film together, and her character really holds the plot together.
4. Mrs Lovett, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barbar of Fleet Street (2007)
From Depp to Helena Bonham Carter, she’s also played relatively minor roles in his films, but this she just comes into her own. In an interview she started she had always wanted to play this character and you can really tell. Her cockney accent, desperation for Sweeney and really quite a good voice for the singing makes her a really delight to watch – Plus, the clothing makes her look awesome.
3. Jack, A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Often confused as being directed by Burton, he wrote this film and had a creative input into the cinematography. Burton made a skeleton seem like the nicest man alive, discovering Christmas and escaping from his Halloween world. If you can turn a bunch of bones into such an iconic character, you’ve struct gold, and that’s exactly what he did with Disney still raking in on the profits.
2. Edward Scissorhands, Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I instantly judge someone when they say they don’t like Edward Scissorhands. Again, he’s taken the most unlikely of characters to be bewitching, and turned almost everyone who’s witnessed him into a blubbering mess. His limitless speech, movement and understanding of the world makes him vulnerable and in need of care. All you want to do is help him get by, and this feeling to look after him stays with you well after you’ve watched the film.
1. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice (1988)
Michael Keaton, what a man. Beetlejuice is cocky, rude, in your face and loud. He invades everything and everyone around him, desperately seeks attention and will do anything to get what he wants. His being there on screen brings the film alive with excitement. He’s just the definition of ADHD. The quirkiness and originality of this character makes him number 1. You’ve never seen anything like it, and probably never will.
Written and complied by Kelly Alyse. Kelly is the author of blog The Film Obsession and is a contributing reporter for HeyUGuys.
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