Moving pictures

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 March, 2010, 12:00am

Most directors lose their originality and edge when they get sucked into the Hollywood machine. But Tim Burton has managed to retain a charming and uncompromising quirkiness throughout his long career in film.

The Alice in Wonderland director's eccentric visions are well served on the internet, with many official movie sites and fan pages devoted to his films. But an exhibition of Burton's artwork, costumes and props at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has provided the springboard for the more interesting sites about the American filmmaker.

Burton's official website (www.timburton.com) focuses on the book, The Art of Tim Burton. Published to complement the exhibition, it features designs for movies and personal projects. The website is fun - its creators have made it imaginative and interactive.

The main screen features a line-drawing animation of Stainboy, the grasshopper-like creature Burton created in 2000. The arrow controls can be used to move Stainboy through some doors which lead to galleries showing Burton's work.

The official MoMA site (www.moma.org) features a wealth of information on Burton's peculiar imagery, his sculptures, and how his work was recreated for the show. The website begins with a strange little creature pumping up a balloon, and expands into an overview of Burton's work. The behind-the-scenes videos discuss how objects such as the topiary from Edward Scissorhands were recreated for the museum. There's also a bizarre 30-second stop-motion animation advertisement for the show. Slideshows present some of his childlike drawings, as well as some uninspiring practice sketches.

Contrary to popular belief, Burton is neither nerdy nor shy; he is ebullient, enthusiastic and eccentric. Some revealing interviews with the director can be found at the site of US talk show host Charlie Rose (www.charlierose.com). An interview conducted earlier this year features Burton discussing his life and work in detail.

One of the more unlikely Burton sites on the Web is a collaboration with fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar (www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/tim-burton-halloween-fash...). Here Burton styles some models in Halloween fashions and even features in some of the photographs. The idea is not wholly successful, and clothing by British designers Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen looks more Burton than high fashion selections. But the pages are at least more interesting than the official sites for Burton's films, which tend to be dull.