American film director and animator Tim Burton is no stranger to the wonderful world of Disney. He has worked with the dominating film studio on projects, as an illustrator, director and even producer.
However, the quirky visionary’s films do not typically align with the famously bright and pastel-colored movies that Disney is famous for. Instead, Burton’s films portray a unique blend of gothic color schemes and a quaint approach to the conventions of the horror and fantasy genres — all while appealing to his adolescent audience.
Despite his nuanced approach, as one of the most highly accredited film directors, writers and producers, Burton has become a lynchpin to the film industry. He has worked on several Disney projects, including the wildly successful live-action adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp. The success from the Lewis Carroll-inspired classic led to the recruitment of Burton for the live-action remake of “Dumbo.” With the excitement still surrounding the recently released teaser trailer, fans are speculating over the other Disney live-action remakes the director should be a part of.
Here’s my take on three other beloved Disney classics that would be perfectly suited for the iconic director.
1. “The Sword in the Stone”
This 1963 animated Disney classic follows a young misfit, Arthur (aka Wart), who dreams of becoming a knight’s squire. When Arthur (Rickie Sorenson) is sent out on a hunting trip, he stumbles upon a bizarre, yet powerful, wizard named Merlin (Karl Swenson).
After a brief conversation with and observation of the passionate child, the wise wizard sees potential in Arthur, far beyond his squire aspirations. Therefore, Merlin tries to give the young squire what he believes to be the most powerful thing of all, an education. For, as he says, with an education, “one can go anywhere.”
With an intense understanding and appreciation of the fantasy genre conventions, Burton would make for a top candidate in the director’s chair if a “The Sword in the Stone” live-action remake is ever in the works. Viewers can also expect a star-studded line of role reprisals, with Burton’s impressive list of reoccurring actors that include Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (wouldn’t she make for a perfect Madam Mim?).
2. “The Black Cauldron”
However, his fantasies of glory and acclaim on the battlefield are halted when an oracular pig named Hen Wen (Frank Welker) — who has highly sought-after knowledge of the whereabouts of the mysterious black cauldron — is taken from his master. Taran and a few other characters must seek out the sinister Horned King (John Hurt), who will stop at nothing to use Hen Wen’s powers, and save their world of Pyrdain from tyrannical rule.
Burton worked on the ‘80s classic as a conceptual artist. Although most of his drawings and ideas for the Horned King’s minions were not utilized in the final production of the film, his skill in both the creation of horror images and webbing of gothic schemes and colors could create a truly terrifying take on the already chilling animated depiction of the infamously vile villain and his clan.
3. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
This Disney classic is based on the Romantic/Gothic novel by Victor Hugo. Like the written work, the 1996 animated film centers on Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), the mysterious and deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame.
Because of his lack of exposure to real people, as well as his bodily deformities, Quasimodo struggles with feelings of loneliness and lack of acceptance. By allowing these feelings to overcome his own thoughts about right and wrong, the bell-ringer is up for a challenge when he asserts his independence from the twisted government minister, Frollo (Tony Jay), to save his new gypsy friend, Esmeralda (Demi Moore).
Many of Burton’s original stories showcase outcasts who often have feelings of being misunderstood, such as the characters in “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice,” making the American filmmaker the perfect man for the remaking of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” into a live-action film.
The famous director, himself, has revealed that while growing up in sunny and social parts of California, he often shared these feelings of not belonging, as depicted in his own characters. With such a personal insight to the character of Quasimodo, Burton could be just what the film needs for an accurate and modernized portrayal of the character — surely to be played by one of his famous alums.
Not to mention, Burton’s love of all things dark and creepy, would make for quite the hellish Frollo and wonderfully weird gargoyle sidekicks.