Deceptive in Corpse Bride, the ‘World of

Deceptive Appearances Tim Burton, a director of many classic movies, is a man that was always preoccupied with death and monsters. In his movies, his use of color and low angles invoke an unusual contrast between fear and excitement. This is important because the movies show that appearances and the things the we believe in can be deceiving. In many of his films, Burton uses color in order to achieve the contrasting effects between fear and excitement. For example, in Corpse Bride, the ‘World of the Living’ is barren and gray. Burton rarely used any saturated colors. Instead, he used shades of gray and blacks to show how dull and boring life was. In the rare instances of color, they were very unsaturated. In the movie, Victoria’s dress is a very unsaturated red nearing mahogany, creating a feeling of depression and worry. On the other hand, when Victor enters the Land of the Dead, the colors used were very bright and vibrant. The skeletons dancing were emphasized using colors such as greens and oranges. The rooms were bright with pops of saturated oranges, greens, purples, and blues. This arrangement of saturated and bright colors in comparison to the dull shades of grays create a feeling of excitement and comfort. The contrasting feelings between fear in the ‘Land of the Living’ and excitement in the ‘Land of the Dead’ is ironic in showing us that our beliefs can be deceptive in the way that the death is expressed to be more colorful and full of life than life. We believe that the Land of the Dead is much more cold and barren, but in this movie, Burton expresses the Land of the Dead as much more exciting and comforting compared to the Land of the Living. Another example of Burton’s use of color to show a message would be in Edward Scissorhands. Tim Burton’s use of colors demonstrates how people’s appearances can be deceiving. At the beginning, Edward emerges from the dark and abandoned castle in all black. The shadows and gray color palette on the Edward and the towering castle creates a feeling of fear and suspense. But in contrast to Edward’s appearance, he is very loyal and kind. For instance, he assisted in helping Jim by breaking into his house, even though he knew that Kim and Jim were lying to him. Edward was very kind and innocent. He is found and welcomed into the town, where the houses were bright and colorful.  The colors create a feeling of comfort and warmth. In contrast to this feeling, the once welcoming neighbors became very hostile after Edward was framed for breaking and entering. They sought him out with police vehicles and forced him to leave the house. This creates a feeling of dread and panic as the roles are reversed and the neighbors are seen to be feared and superior. The neighbors that once welcomed Edward is now seeking him to place him in jail. Burton’s use of colors demonstrates that appearances can be very deceiving as those that seem nice and considerate might just be very hostile. Another movie that demonstrates Tim Burton’s usage of contrasting colors would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the movie, the exterior of the imposing factory is shown using multiple shades of grays and blacks. The pipes and other mechanisms connecting to the factory are all monotonous and gray. This creates a feeling of uneasiness and worry due to Burton’s choice of color. In comparison, when Charlie enters the factory, the factory itself is colorful with greens, reds, blues, and whites. In addition to the myriad of colors, there is the chocolate stream, invoking a feeling of excitement and joy. Burton’s use of colors from the dull exterior to the bright and exciting interior shows us that appearances can be deceiving, as what’s on the exterior doesn’t exactly correlate with what is inside. Burton continues to convey his message that appearances and our beliefs can be deceiving by his use of low angles. The amount of low angles in a particular scene in the movie create a contrast between fear and comfort.  For example, in Corpse Bride, there was an abundance of low angles on Victoria’s parents, Finis and Maudeline. The low angles of the parents generates a feeling of fear because it shows how imposing and superior the parents are to Victor and Victoria. This is in comparison to the rarity of the low angles in the Land of the Dead. There were little to no low angles on the skeletons and monsters in the Land of the Dead in comparison to in the Land of the Living. This means that to the audience, the dancing skeletons were not as imposing and feared compared to the living. This creates a contrast in feelings of fear toward the living and comfort towards the Land of the Dead. This irony between the living and the dead demonstrates Burton’s message that appearances can be very deceiving.  Another example would be Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The low angle of the chocolate factory shows how imposing it is in Charlie’s perspective. The towers and mechanisms protruding from the factory are all shown using low angles. This produces a feeling of worry or uneasiness as we see the factory from Charlie’s perspective. But as the children enter the factory, the uneasiness melts away due to the change in angles. As they enter, there were little to no low angles, but many high angles, showing us that, as they enter, the uneasiness is replaced with fascination and excitement. This change in cinematic techniques demonstrates Burton’s message that appearances can be deceiving, as the factory on the outside is very cold and dull, but the inside is very exciting and fascinating .  Lastly, another example where Burton used low angles to show fear is in Edward Scissorhands.  He used low angles to show the stairs in the abandoned castle, leading up to Edward, therefore, creating a feeling of suspense and fear. This feeling of fear contrasts with the feeling of excitement as Edward is taken away from the castle and welcomed into the homes. Burton used no low angles when Edward enters Peg’s house. This creates a feeling of comfort among the audience. This change in angles creates a contrasting feeling between comfort and fear or suspense. The contrast demonstrates Burton’s message that what people believe in can be deceiving. Edward, himself, feels that the castle is his home since he has lived with his inventor in that same castle for most of his life. At the conclusion of the movie, Edward returns back to the castle with a low angle shot, showing us that what people think is right can be deceiving and could result to hurting others. In Tim Burton’s movies, his use of color and low angles create a contrast between feelings. Burton used multiple cinematic techniques to demonstrate the contrast between feeling fear and excitement.  This contrast shows Tim Burton’s message that appearances and what we believe is true can be deceptive. His movies have a touch of irony where he demonstrates that appearances, like Edward, can be very deceiving as they do not necessarily correlate to one’s personality. This irony also relates back to the fact that what people believe is correct can hurt others, as it did to many of the protagonists in his movies.