Tim Burton’s movies are distinguished for their whimsical style and gothic aesthetic, defined by dark, eccentric characters. Most of his movies are instantly recognizable by his signature element, even without giving his name, making them stand out in the world of cinema. His Edward Scissorhands and 1988 cult masterpiece Beetlejuice, along with his iconic collaborations with renowned actors Johnny Depp and Helena B. Carter, including Michael Keaton, solidified his reputation as a visionary filmmaker.

Tim Burton expresses concern over AI’s impact on animation


corpse bride
Victor Van Dort, voiced by JOHNNY DEPP, and the Corpse Bride, voiced by HELENA BONHAM CARTER, in Corpse Bride.

Tim Burton’s characters possess distinct and unusual specialty that sets them apart in the realm of cinema. His figures are noticed for their whimsical gothic appearances and dark, charming personas, often blurring the line between good and evil.

His bizarre characters are often taken, notably from his gentle and mystical Edward Scissorhands and the mischievous and chaotic Beetlejuice; moreover, his superhero venture with Batman further proves his versatility in bringing unique characters to life.

The recent invasion of Artificial Intelligence has disrupted the film industry, which has now advanced from creating a simple design to a 2-hour long movie. The AI-generated picture is increasingly prevalent in the world, muddling the lines between real and fake, which poses a serious challenge to the animation industry.

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Buzzfeed's AI generated image of Sleeping Beauty resembling Corpse Bride
Buzzfeed’s AI-generated image of Sleeping Beauty

Recently, in an interview with the Independent, director Tim Burton expressed his views on the increasing threat imposed by artificial intelligence in creative fields. Burton happened to see some AI-generated images of Disney characters produced in the artistic style of his Corpse Bride which ultimately made him question the future of animation. The director exclaims in mock horror:

“They had AI do my versions of Disney characters!” I can’t describe the feeling it gives you. It reminded me of when other cultures say, ‘Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul.’”

Burton was asked about the Buzzfeed article from July that used AI to interpret Disney characters in his directorial style. Burton is perhaps conscious of the factors of AI that dominate animation and could create various artistic and ethical concerns in the creative sector.

Tim Burton relates AI imagining as stealing the artistic soul

Image of Tim Burton
Tim Burton

Even though he acknowledged some AI-generated versions were “very good”, he openly admitted that he particularly never appreciated the attempt to replicate or clone the original works and expressed that it is equal to stealing one’s soul.

“What it does is it sucks something from you. It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul.”

Burton further referred to his artistic work, like drawings and writing, across the medium as “a therapeutic thing” and a means of making sense of the world. The utilization of AI in the Hollywood industry has sparked debate, which has led to an ongoing strike of actors demanding consent and copyright for replicating their images.

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Buzzfeed features Disney’s beloveds in Corpse Bride’s  makeover

The AI-generated Disney characters created by Buzzfeed for an online feature interpreted in the style of the 2005 movie Corpse Bride included Sleeping Beauty with a pale white face and long blonde hair, with stitches in her cheeks giving her a gothic appearance. Pocahontas was depicted running through a haunted forest. Disney’s Snow White was shown with jet-black hair and large, terrifying, eerie eyes.

Buzzfeed's AI generated image of Snow White
Buzzfeed’s AI-generated image of Snow White

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The Buzzfeed piece also featured characters like Lion King, who featured a lean physique animal with ghostly eyes, and Rapunzel of Tangled, who was shown as a girl with long curly hair. Further creations included beloved Disney characters from films like Frozen, Cinderella, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules, Peter Pan with a distinct resemblance to the animation style of Burton’s movies.

Source: Independent and BuzzFeed

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