I've been diving back into Tim Burton's filmography as of late in preparation for this winter's “Big Eyes.” The film will tell the story of artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), who build an empire with her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) on the little white lie that he was the one responsible for her popular images of children with, well, big eyes. They would simply sell better if considered a dude's work, you see.
What I've been struck by – not that it isn't an obvious trajectory for Burton's career that many have observed – is how alive his art was prior to an early-to-mid aughts decline that has left us with products like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Planet of the Apes” and “Dark Shadows.” Films like “Ed Wood” and “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetle Juice” pop with vision and vigor, whereas so much of his work as of late seems to wear his brilliant tendencies more as an affectation.
The new trailer for “Big Eyes” is pretty glossy and has that high key “Silver Linings Playbook” music droning through it, priming it as a holiday family film or something, but I sense, or at least hope for, something bubbling underneath. It could be a thematically rich dissection of art and ownership and have a little something to say vis a vis the shiny studio career Burton has had as of late. It was also written by “Ed Wood” scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who have a way with biopics (see also “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and a “Ripley's Believe It or Not” film that I'm still dying to see). It's easily one of my most anticipated movies of the season.
Adams appears to be stand-out in the film, a sure-fire Best Actress bet, while Burton's below the line crew – costumer Colleen Atwood, production designer Rick Heinrichs, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnell – look like they're as inspired as a Burton crew ever is.
Check out the trailer above and tell us what you think.
“Big Eyes” opens Christmas Day.