If Tim Burton Were To Direct

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By Farrha Khan

Before I began writing this article, I Googled ‘Harry Potter Tim Burton’ just to see what would come up. This is actually a topic that has been talked about by a number of people on a number of sites, arguing whether or not Tim Burton should or could direct a Harry Potter movie. Many argued that his quirky dark style would be ideal for the Harry Potter franchise, while others argued his directing style is too dark.

Would he be too ‘dark’? I personally don’t think so. Focusing on him directing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I think Burton would be just ‘dark’ enough. This is simply because from what I’ve seen, Burton has the ability to not be too dark at all, so long as the subject matter and script demand it. Okay, so that might be hard to believe after watching Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. But then look at The Corpse Bride. Morbid, but funny and cute. A lovely romantic comedy! Or perhaps Ed Wood. Hilarious, yet thought-provoking.

Alright, maybe they aren’t the best examples. The perfect example though would be Tim Burton’s interpretation of Big Fish. Based on George Wallace’s novel by the same name, I found this film to be poignant and beautiful. It deals with rather heavy issues (like death) whilst incorporating a rather fantastical journey (mermaid and giants and witches, oh my!). If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do, and you will believe then that Burton just might be the perfect man to direct any of the Harry Potter movies.

Okay, so now that I’ve convinced you that Tim Burton could pull off a Harry Potter movie (of course I have!), this is how I imagine Deathly Hallows to play out:

— If you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and don’t want to be spoiled, I suggest you stop reading this article now and go pick up the last Harry Potter book—

For Burton’s interpretation of the last Harry Potter novel, there are a few big questions we need to ask. As it is well known now, the book will be split into two movies. So, where will the split occur for Burton?

As with more adaptations, a lot will need to be cut out. Whatever story elements are left for the film will dictate on where Burton will want to make the split. The perfect option would be either with a big/loved character death (Dobby?) or with Harry, Hermione and Ron being almost captured/killed.

However, I think Burton would prefer to end the first movie by landing our heroes on top of the half blind dragon, in front of a collapsed Gringott’s Bank with Harry falling down because a vision from Voldemort telling him the last Horcrux is in Howart’s Ravenclaw tower. Ron will cough up ash and rocks and exclaim, “Now what?” Hermione will look at Harry deeply with concern. Harry will screech out a weary “Hogwarts.” Ron will look confused, Hermione will straighten her shoulders and purse her lips. She’ll pull out her wand. “To Hogwarts,” she’ll say. With a pop they will all apparate to Hogsmeade only to be brought to their knees by an ear splitting alarm. They are surrounded by Death Eaters. Ron will weakly say, “Sure you didn’t knock your head to hard, Harry?”

Snap to black. Roll credits. Dark, serious but with a touch of humour, in true Tim Burton style. Think Batman Return, and you’ll see what I mean.

This will let the last movie concentrate wholly with what happens at Hogwarts.

There are a large amount of character deaths within this novel so, another question would be, who will die? But more importantly, how? Tim Burton has dealt with a number of interesting character deaths. So how would he treat our beloved Harry Potter characters? An interesting thing about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is that most of the character deaths aren’t really…shown. The reader either hears about it after, or we see only the dead body.

Considering Burton’s previous films (Sweeney Todd, Mars Attacks, Big Fish, Sleepy Hollow, etc.) I would say that Burton would show how most characters die. Lupin will go down fighting in a dramatic battle, Tonks will go down trying to defend her fallen husband. Fred will not be killed by a fallen wall, but by a wayward spell, in an attempt to protect his brother, Percy. Okay, so that’s a little romanticized, but Burton would still attempt to show the fall of these major characters.

For some reason, I think Tim Burton will love working with the Death Eaters, which means, the heroes will get about 50-50 screen time with the baddies. Not such a bad thing, considering for more than half the novel, the Trio are on one big glorified camping trip. While, yes the defeat of Voldemort is the highlight of the last novel, the politics of the villains is without a doubt one of the most interesting parts. The chapters within Malfoy Manor would undoubtedly be the most interesting ones to see, especially with Burton’s direction. Draco squirming and a crazy Bella? Dark and sarcastic, sinister yet witty. I’m reminded of Sleepy Hollow.

Now I would continue with how a Tim Burton’s adaptation of Deathly Hallows will be, but we would end up being here quite a while. So, all in all, Tim Burton directing any of the Harry Potter movies would be definitely something to watch. Burton’s aesthetic style is definitely unique, but the best part is that his work testifies that any changes he would attempt to make would be to find a deeper and stronger back story for elements of the story. (Perhaps he’d be able to give a good reason as to why Percy survived unscathed, but Fred…. *sigh* I’m still so upset!) He gave Willy Wonka a bit of childhood drama with his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it is said that he’ll give Alice a reason to wonder off after a random rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. People’s opinion will remain split on how he handles these adaptations, as he does make it his own.

For Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the colours would be bright, the moods will be dark. In a way, perfect for the last in J K Rowling’s series. Helena Bonham Carter is already connected to the films… so now all you need is a way to tie in Johnny Depp (maybe he should have played Sirius?) and how would Tim Burton then resist the urge?

So, what do you think?  How would you imagine things in the wizarding world if Tim Burton was involved?  Join us in the forum and let us know what you think.  We’d love to hear from you, too!