The Problem With Tim Burton Films


(Image via Empire Online)

Metzli Cervantes, Writer

As many may know Tim Burton is one of the most praised directors, having some of the best movies, most of them being classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride. His work is iconic and well known, everyone loves his movies and everyone has watched them, however, there are a lot of problems with his work.

In all of Burton’s movies we always see a similar cast, Johnny Dep, Helena Bonham Carter, Winona Rider, but what do all these actors have in common? They’re all white. Tim Burton’s movies don’t have a lot of POC representation, all of Burton’s movies have the same dull cast, not that any of these actors are bad, but then again having the same cast for every movie gets boring after a while. Tim Burton has stated before that POC don’t fit his ideal aesthetic for his movies. In most of his films, male characters are pale, which is seen a lot in his movies. Samuel L. Jackson became the first POC actor in a Tim Burton movie, he said “I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out,” he also stated that he only had good experiences with Burton, but then again a lot of the POC community seemed upset that Jackson brushed it off. The thing is that this is a problem with a lot of filmmakers and film directors, POC are always left out of things because “they’re not the standard” or “they don’t fit the aesthetic” which is a really big problem in the film industry. Tim Burton has been called out many times for this but he sort of just brushes it off which makes the situation worse for everyone. Burton also stated that his movies don’t really ‘call’ for POC characters. He states, “things either call for things, or they don’t,” which makes him seem more ignorant of the situation. A lot of the things he’s said backfired on him as a lot of people were upset that he wasn’t taking into consideration what he was doing. Burton lacks a lot of diversity in his movies, it becomes a problem when 99% of his movies have a white cast. He sees this yet doesn’t do anything to change his cast or be more diverse in his movies which is a problem since he’s one of the most praised and well-known filmmakers. Having Samuel L. Jackson was a big yet mild step as it took him a long time to add a POC character. For now, we can only hope that he continues this in his next films and diversifies his casts if he ever decides to make live-action versions of his movies. 

Burton’s problem is very obvious as his casts in movies aren’t diverse and don’t have any POC representation, but this is not only a problem that Burton has, many other filmmakers and directors have this problem as well. A lot of viewers see this and say nothing about it as well which makes a lot of people discard it. We can only hope these filmmakers and directors educate themselves and see the problem with what they’re doing and how it becomes big in the film industry.