Some things are just meant to go together; peanut butter and jam, Sonny and Cher, or in our case; Melbourne and the Tim Burton retrospective at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Melbourne is arguably the cultural capital of Australia, but long before Burton penned his first story, or conceived his first warped character, the city of Melbourne was almost called Batmania. So Melbourne really is the fitting city to host the king of the macabre and the man who rebooted Batman long before Christian Bale graced us with his presence and his lisp.
During his visit to Melburton – no I didn’t make this up, Melbourne will unofficially take this name until October – Tim Burton officially launched the exhibition and participated in ACMI’s Desert Island flicks; if you were stranded on an island with only 5 films what would they be? He also walked the red carpet and greeted fans; introduced the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and chatted with Australia’s Queen of film Margaret Pomeranz in an ACMI Masterclass. But now that Burton has left our shores you can experience his genius, his legacy and his art through this stunning exhibition.
Coming to us from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) there are in all over 700 pieces on show; from never before seen sketches, to early concept drawings, paintings and photographs, to puppets, models, costumes and video highlights. With so much on show repeat visits are highly recommended! Oh and did we mention the Batmobile is on display? This retrospective just got even better!
Die hard Burton fans will go weak at the knees when they spot props and costumes from some of their favourite films; Johnny Depp’s costume and a scissorhand from Edward Scissorhands, a copy of The Afterlife newspaper from Beetlejuice, three masks worn by Michael Keaton in Batman; and from more recent films, a set of razors from Sweeney Todd and costumes including the Mad Hatter’s hat from this year’s box office hit Alice in Wonderland.
For film enthusiasts Tim Burton’s journey will inspire you as you move from his years growing up in Burbank to the beginning of his career with an apprenticeship at Disney and studies at the California Institute of the Arts; the experiments, rejections, small and large successes and the struggles are all documented here, in an extensive archive that Burton admitted he didn’t even know he had.
The highlight would have to be the “Burtonarium”, a circus style tent at the centre of the exhibition with a miniature carousel suspended from the ceiling. Long time Burton collaborator Danny Elfman has provided the eerie soundtrack which plays as you step into the warped tunnel with fluorescent paint creatures glowing under the black-light (UV light). This feature epitomises everything kooky, haunting and memorable Burton produces.
The Tim Burton exhibition is open daily at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (in Federation Square) until October 10th. Adult tickets are $19.