Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 Lesson, Written Text versus Film, Where does Roald Dahl end and Tim Burton Begin?

Essential Question: What are some of the particulars of Tim Burton’s style, and how are these exemplified in his use of cinematic techniques?

I. _______Do Now (6 minutes): Go to page 167 in your Springboard text. Copy the statement and  complete it. This is further practice of writing topic sentences and what is to follow it in a body paragraph. Draw from the movie Edward Scissorhands for the content of these topic sentences.  

II. ______(10 minutes---Read)In-class Compare and Contrast:

     One of the things that has been revealed in the first round of written drafts for our style analysis of Tim Burton’s work is some confusion about what exactly is Burton's work and what comes directly out of the original children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Burton is actually very true to the original story in his film adaptation, but it is his use of camera shots, angles and movement, costume, sound/music choices, color, editing and lighting that are Burton’s own. It is this that make up the style of Tim Burton. It is his particular use of cinematic techniques that constitute his style. 
      For those who are Burton fans, you might know that the movies: Beetle Juice, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, The Big Fish, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , among others, share something in common. These movies have a typically Burtonesque look and feeling to them which is often characterized as eerie, creepy and having a quality that is much like the old horror movies starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr. (and Sr. too), Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi, among others. Burton uses references, or the actual iconic stars of these classic movies in his own when possible ( we have mentioned the fact that Burton's film Ed Wood includes a sub-story about Bela Lugosi's last film which Wood directed; Martin Landau plays Lugosi in the Burton's film. Vincent Price appears in Edward Scissorhands. Christopher Lee, who played Dracula or other monsters in countless 1960s "B" movies is in Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These are just a few instances of tapping into horror nostalgia) To put it into simple terms Burton is a lover of vintage, horror movies drawing from them for the purpose of his own movies.
      It is his choice of sounds and music that identify the Burton style in the two movies we have seen recently. It is his use of particular camera shots in order to emphasize that is part of his distinguishable style. It is his use of light, or lack there of, in individual scenes that have become, like all directors, his bag of tricks. It is how characters look and act that is also one of the things that Tim Burton is attentive to.
      The following are two chapters from Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Listen as it is read and visualize it. We will then see the equivalent scene in Burton’s movie. Foremost, consider how the two are different? What does Burton do with the story, and how does he present it? 

Read the following from Roald Dahl’s novel Chapter 26 & 27) . Then we will look at theTim Burton’s cinematic dramatization of it.  

III. _____Chapter 26/ The Television-Chocolate Room

       The Teavee Family, together with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, stepped out of the elevator into a room so dazzlingly bright and dazzlingly white that they screwed up their eyes in pain and stopped walking. Mr. Wonka handed each of them a pair of dark glasses and said, “Put these on quick! And don’t take them off in here whatever you do! This light could blind you!” 
      As soon as Charlie had his dark glasses on, he was able to look around him in comfort. He saw a long narrow room. The room was painted white all over. Even the floor was white, and there wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere. From the ceiling, huge lamps hung down and bathed the room in a brilliant blue-white light. The room was completely bare except at the far ends. At one of these ends there was an enormous camera on wheels, and a whole army of Oompa-Loompas was clustering around it, oiling its joints and adjusting its knobs and polishing its great glass lens. The Oompa-Loompas were all dressed in the most extraordinary way. They were wearing bright-red space suits, complete with helmets and goggles---at least they looked like space suits---and they were working in complete silence. Watching them, Charlie experienced a queer sense of danger. There was something dangerous about this whole business, and the Oompa-Loompas knew it. There was no chattering or singing among them here, and they moved about over the huge black camera slowly and carefully in their scarlet space suits.
       At the other end of the room, about fifty paces away from the camera, a single Oompa-Loompa (also wearing a space suit) was sitting at a black table gazing at the screen of a very large television set. 
      “Here we go!” cried Mr. Wonka, hopping up and down with excitement. “This is the Testing Room for my very latest and greatest invention---Television Chocolate!”
      “But what is Television Chocolate?” asked Mike Teavee.
      “Good heavens, child, stop interrupting me!” said Mr. Wonka. “It works by television. I don’t like television myself. I suppose it’s all right in small doses, but children never seem to be able to take it in small doses. They want to sit there all day long staring and staring at the screen...”.
      “That’s me” said Mike Teavee.
      “Shut up!” said Mr. Teavee.
      “Thank you,” said Mr. Wonka. “I shall now tell you how this amazing television set of mine works. But first of all, do you know how ordinary television works? It is very simple. At one end, where the picture is being taken, you have a large movie camera and you start photographing something. The photographs are then split up into millions of tiny little pieces which are so small that you can’t see them, and these little pieces are shot out into the sky by electricity. In the sky, they go whizzing around all over the place until suddenly they hit the antenna on the roof of somebody’s house. They then go flashing down the wire that leads right into the back of the television set, and in there  they get jiggled and joggled around until at last every single one of those millions of tiny pieces is fitted back into its right place (just like a jigsaw puzzle) and presto!---the photograph appears on the screen....” 
      “That isn’t exactly how it works,” Mike Teavee said. 
      “I am a little deaf in my left ear,” Mr. Wonka said. “You must forgive me if I don’t hear anything you say.” 
      “I said, that isn’t exactly how it works!” shouted Mike Teavee.
      “ You’re a nice boy,” Mr. Wonka said, “but you talk too much. Now then! The very first time I saw ordinary television working. I was struck by a tremendous idea. ‘Look here!’ I shouted, ‘If these people can break up a photograph into millions of pieces and send the pieces whizzing through the air and then put them together again at the other end, why can’t I send a real bar of chocolate whizzing through the air in tiny pieces and then put the pieces together at the other end, all ready to be eaten?”
      “Impossible!” said Mike Teavee.
      “ You think so?” cried Mr. Wonka. “Well, watch this! I shall now send a bar of my very best chocolate from one end of this room to other---by television! Get ready, there! Bring in the chocolate!
      Immediately, six Oompa-Loompas marched forward carrying on their shoulders the most enormous bar of chocolate Charlie had ever seen. It was about the size of the mattress he slept on at home.
      “It has to be big,” Mr. Wonka explained, “because whenever you send something by television, it always comes out much smaller than it was when it went in . Even with ordinary television, when you photograph a big man, he never comes out on your screen any taller than a pencil, does he? Here we go then! Get ready! No, no! Stop! Hold everything! You there! Mike Teavee! Stand Back! You’re too close to the camera! There are dangerous rays coming out of that thing! They could break you up into [a] million tiny pieces in one second! That’s why the Oompa-Loompas are wearing space suits! The suits protect them! All right! That’s better! Now, then! Switch on!”
        One of the Oompa-Loompas caught hold of a large switch and pulled it down. 
       There was a blinding flash.
       “The chocolate’s gone! shouted Grandpa Joe, waving his arms.
       He was quite right! The whole enormous bar of chocolate had disappeared completely into thin air!
       “It’s on its way!” cried Mr. Wonka. “It is now rushing through the air above our heads in a million tiny pieces. Quick! Come over here!” He dashed over to the other end of the room where the large television set was standing, and the others followed him. “Watch the screen!” he cried. “Here it comes! Look!”
      The screen flickered and lit up. Then suddenly, a small bar of chocolate appeared in the middle of the screen.
      “Take it!” shouted Mr. Wonka, growing more and more excited.
      “How can you take it?” asked Mike Teavee, laughing.
      “It’s just a picture on a television screen!”
      “Charlie Bucket!” cried Mr. Wonka. “You take it! Reach out and grab it!”
      Charlie put out his hand and touched the screen, and suddenly, miraculously, the bar of chocolate came away in his fingers. He was so surprised he nearly dropped it.
      “Eat it!” shouted Mr. Wonka. “Go on and eat it!” It’ll be delicious! It’s the same bar! It’s gotten smaller on the journey, that’s all!”
      “It’s absolutely fantastic!” gasped Grandpa Joe. “It’s’’s a miracle!”
      “Just imagine,” cried Mr. Wonka, “when I start using this across the’ll be sitting at home watching television and suddenly a commercial will flash onto the screen and a voice will say, ‘EAT WONKA’S CHOCOLATES! THEY’RE THE BEST IN THE WORLD! IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE US, TRY ONE FOR YOURSELF---NOW!‘ And you simply reach out and take one! How about that , eh?” 
      “Terrific!” Cried Grandpa Joe. “It will change the world!”
IV. Watch the scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (12 minutes). Identify some of the particulars of the film that you deem to be Burton’s own unique treatment of the subject. Focus solely on the use of the following cinematic techniques. Identify briefly one specific example of each.

Camera Movement:

(15 minutes)Think-Pair-Share: Consider what you have learned from experiencing the Dahl written text and the Burton film text side-by-side. Make a written statement below your do-now about one of the cinematic techniques you have characterized above and what you now understand about Burton’s style. Explain in writing the specifics of that cinematic technique. 

For example: 
       Although Roald Dahl does mention the specifics of lighting in this scene where a chocolate bar is transported by television, Burton approaches lighting true to his style. The space where this scene takes place is completely white unlike Dahl’s to include a white camera and white furniture and the equipment necessary for TV transport. Only the knobs of the Chocolate Television machine are red. Red is used earlier in the movie to contrast the world of Wonka from the city that Charlie Bucket lives in. The brightness of the room can be equated with being space age, fantastical, like everything in Wonka's world. 
       Dahl has the Oompa-Loompa’s wearing red space suits, but Burton chooses them to coordinate with the white identity of this particular room and Wonka machine with white jump suits. The space theme of this particular scene is further heightened with allusions to cinema history’s 2001: Space Odyssey. Das Spake Zarathustra, the theme song to Odyssey is played when the powers of Chocolate Television are revealed. 
       When the machine is finally switched on a ray of light, like a laser, transports a larger-than-life chocolate bar from point A to point B. The chocolate bar then appears in the midst of dancing chimpanzees on the television screen, and this is taken directly from Odyssey. The bar is likened to the extraterrestrial “anomaly” in the Stanley Kubrick's film that supposedly brings intelligence to the early primates. So too, Wonka's Chocolate Television, brings evidence that miracles are abundant in the Wonka factory.


V. (5 minutes)Exit Ticket/ What did you learn today?

Homework: Do Activity 2.25 (pages 168-171). Do the storyboard and reflection questions on a separate piece of paper. We will discuss in class. 
Honors Challenge ( others can do this as well): make a suitable-for-presentation version of this Activity storyboard on six dot-matrix size pieces of paper. Caption each panel with a description of music/sound, dialogue, framing and lighting as required in the activity in the book. Color welcome when appropriate, as this is Tim Burton.  

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