Saturday night I had the pleasure of taking in “Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton,” a concert showcase of his various collaborations with the goth auteur that he tends to put on for a few days around Halloween every year. It was a wonderful reminder of how singular this 29-year collaboration has truly been, and with “Big Eyes” on the way this holiday season, it sparked a desire to dig in and rank the lot.
You get a lot of variations on the same note (so to speak) with Elfman/Burton scores, but then you get a lot of variations on the same note in Burton films in general. I've always thought Burton's genius was in crafting not just worlds, but a cinematic universe of a sort unto his own, and Elfman is a key component. Yes, sometimes the films don't work, or they feel steeped in commercial enterprise (particularly as of late), but they're never anything other than a Tim Burton experience, and a Danny Elfman score is never anything other than a Danny Elfman experience.
And remember, while it seems like Elfman has done all of Burton's films, that's not so. Howard Shore gave us the delightful “Ed Wood” score, while of course, we owe Stephen Sondheim for all things “Sweeney Todd.”
So let's see how this goes. Click through the gallery story below to see how I would sort all of this out and listen along as you go. Offer up your own list in the comments section and feel free to vote for your personal favorite in our poll.
“Big Eyes” opens Christmas Day.