Via Coilhouse comes this damn funny College Humor sketch on Tim Burton's movie-making formula. I lost it around the point where his phone only has Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in it.
This might be blasphemy for my generation, but I've never been a particularly big fan of Burton. He's definitely a genius and has made a number of classics, but with a few exceptions (Nightmare before Christmas) his movies have never really struck a chord with me. I'll admit this is purely a personal taste, as plenty of filmmakers hew to their one style tightly enough that they're ripe targets for a similar sketch, even when I happen to like their tricks (hello, Guy Ritchie).
But the ensuing discussion over in Coilhäuser land does open up the question of when a director's particular vision (which they all have) descends into self-parody or laziness. I think Burton's veering in that direction. However, my favorite Burton film in years, Sweeney Todd, was actually strengthened, I think, by an established story balancing some of Burton's tendencies. It helped that at one point in particular he even seemed in on the joke.
As noted, I'm not a Burton devotee, and thus less inclined to cut him some slack, but I'll offer a counter example in Martin Scorcese. While some of his output (Goodfellas, Casino) is certainly open to criticisms of descending into formula, it's worth comparing the more recent Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island. They do all feature Leonardo DiCaprio and I've got my individual criticisms, but for all Scorsese's common themes, he tells a drastically different story each movie.
I'd like to hear from you film buffs out there on this topic, especially the Burton fans.
All that said, it's a good time to offer up something from Danny Elfman that is decidedly not "lalalalalalaala bumbumbum didlydidly." Enjoy.