WTFAW: The Burton Theory

Dave: I’ve come across something interesting, called the Burton Theory.

Really? What’s that?

Dave: It’s a theory that suggests that all of Tim Burtons original movies are connected. To clarify, that would be Vincent, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice. Prepare to have your mind blown. Ready?

I’ve got my migraine medicine and sickbag. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Dave: Let’s begin. In the short film Vincent, the eponymous character has a dog named Abercrombie, who he likes to experiment on. The theory claims his mother gave the dog away, and it was adopted by Victor Frankenstein, who renamed him Sparky. When Sparky died, some time after the events of Frankenweenie, he becomes a spirit in Halloween Town. Victor gets a new dog, named Scraps, who later dies as well. Now, Victor from Frankenweenie and Victor from Corpse Bride look a bit similar, right?

Well, yes, a bit.

Dave: That’s because they’re the same person! The loss of a second dog was too much for Victor. He ran away from home and ended up being adopted by the van Dorts. Amusingly, the neighbour in Frankenweenie, Mr. Burgomeister, is the brother of Finis Everglot, Victors future father in law. When Victor eventually dies, he goes to the afterlife, and becomes Jack Skellington. His sweetheart Sally is actually the dead wife of Vincent Malloy, and she also passed into the next life and changed her name. Also in Halloween town, Dr. Finkelstein has an assistant, Igor, who looks an awful lot like Edgar from Frankenweenie. Obviously, he also died and came to Halloween Town. Speaking of Frankenweenie, the character Elsa van Helsing is also Lydia, the daughter in Beetlejuice. The Weird Girl in the same movie is really named Kim, and when she grows up, she appears in Edward Scissorhands.

Wow… that’s… a lot of detail. You know, I feel bad now.

Dave: Why’s that? Is it because you’re sorry you doubted the theory?

No, it’s because it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into this theory. It’s easily the most elaborate theory you have ever brought me. And that is why it almost breaks my heart that it doesn’t work. Believe me, I would love for this theory to be true, but the arguments presented simply do not add up.

I admire the effort, but I am frustrated at the lack of attention to details. Because it’s the details that really are important.

To begin with, if Sparky and Abercrombie are the same dog, why do they look nothing alike? Sparky is noticeably chubbier than Abercrombie, for a start. I’m more of a cat person, but I’m pretty sure dogs don’t dramatically change size and shape with time. And then, when Sparky dies, you say he becomes Zero, the ghost dog in Halloween town?

Dave: Exactly. That’s why his nose glows.

But Sparkys nose didn’t glow. It occasionally (and fittingly) sparked. And again, Zeros shape is very different to Sparky, including long floppy ears.

There’s also another, very important detail, but I’ll get to that soon enough. In the meantime, there’s the idea that Victor runs away, and is adopted by the van Dorts. Remind me, why did he run away?

Dave: Because his second dog, Scraps, died. The trauma was too great.

The problem with that is that by the end of Frankenweenie, Victor is pretty shaken up when he thinks his dog is dead (again), but he is also ready to accept this fact. Supposing this is true, that would mean that when Scraps died, that is the third or fourth time Victor loses a pet, depending on how you look at it. I understand how sad it is to lose a pet, but I don’t really see Victor as the kind of person to run away when his second dog dies.

And even then, we know what Victor van Dort looked like as a child. It is one of the first things we see in the movie.

scraps.png
Left: Victor van Dort. Right: Victor Frankenstein

Suddenly, the two don’t look so alike, I think. And if he ran away from home because Scraps died, how is it possible for him to have a picture of himself and Scraps from what has to be AFTER he ran away? he ev

All in all, that is not possible

Which is not surprising, since the two Victors cannot be the same person.

Dave: Why’s that?

It’s the same reason Finis Everglot can’t be Mr. Burgomeisters brother. Not only is there a notable size difference, with Mr. Burgomeister being quite tall and Finis being comically short (as are all members of his family, going by the pictures in his house). There’s also the fact that the two movies are set at radically different periods.

So either they’re separate people, or I’m going to need a very good explanation for how Victor Frankenstein and Finis Everglot managed to leave their home in what appears to be 1930-1940’s America, and end up in what looks to be England, in the 1880’s.

And I really hope you won’t to try to bring the time machine from Back to the Future into this, just because there’s lightning…

Now, let’s skip ahead slightly to Sallys supposed origin.

Dave: Yeah?

So, Vincent Malloy imagines he has a wife, right?

Dave: Right.

A wife who doesn’t exist, because she’s imaginary, right?

Dave: Right.

And despite this, he tries to dig her up, as part of his imaginary world. Which means she still doesn’t exist. He’s just pretending to dig up her corpse, but in reality just ruins his mothers flower bed. Because his wife is imaginary, and therefore does not exist. Right?

Dave: Uh… right…?

So please explain to me how the spirit of said wife, despite being purely imaginary, and therefore does not and has never existed, still manages to pass through to the afterlife and take on corporeal form despite, and yes I know I am repeating myself, because this is ever so slightly massively crucial:

SHE DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST!

How is that possible?!

Dave: Well…

The answer is: it isn’t possible! And we KNOW Sallys origin! She was created by Dr. Finkelstein. It’s a big part of her character, that she keeps poisoning him and leaving, to be close to Jack.

Speaking of, this brings us neatly to Jack, as well as Igor, Zero and indeed Sally. The theory suggests all these people died and passed through to the afterlife. Now, there’s a problem with that idea, and this is where I get back to the problem I mentioned earlier.

Halloween Town is NOT the afterlife. It’s one of the many “Holiday Worlds“, worlds that specifically create holidays for the people of the world. Halloween, Christmas, St. Patricks Day, Thanksgiving and so on.

This is not the same as where people go upon death. We know this, because in both Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice, we see two very different versions of the realm of the dead.

There is nothing to suggest that the creatures in Halloween Town were once human. The only way that works is if we first assume it is a form of afterlife. Because if we assume it’s the afterlife, the people there must be former humans, which proves it’s a form of afterlife. That’s just circular logic!

But this leads us to Lydia from Beetlejuice. Explain.

Dave: When Victor ran away, Elsa van Helsing fell into a deep depression and her parents, unable to help her, gave her up for adoption. She was adopted by Charles and Delia Deetz.

Dear god, where to start… Ok, the idea of Lydia being Elsa from Frankenweenie relies on the idea that Victor ran away from home. But as we’ve established, there’s nothing to suggest he ran away from home, because he and Victor van Dort can’t be the same person.

But let’s suppose that Victor did run away. Were they really that close, for her to become absolutely distraught when he disappeared? Yes, they got along, but it’s not like they were a couple, or long time childhood friends.

But again, let’s suppose that she fell into depression. And her parents tried and tried to help her, but nothing seemed to work…

So they put her up for adoption?! What kind of maniac leap of logic is that?! That is not solving the problem. That’s just washing your hands and move the problem somewhere else. What, they just figured “Our kid being depressed is such a drag. Let’s get rid of her“?

That reasoning doesn’t work, unless the parents are both sociopaths!

And why would she change her name to Lydia, even if she was adopted?

Dave: Because she wanted to leave her past behind and-

If she was able to leave her past behind like that, she wouldn’t have become so depressed she couldn’t be helped by medication or therapy or any of the many other methods to deal with grief, would she?!

And finally, the Weird Girl in Frankenweenie. What’s the deal there? I mean, her personality is nothing like Kims from Edward Scissorhands. So how did she reach that point?

Dave: She was adopted by Peg and Jim Boggs.

Ok, let’s ignore that it doesn’t really explain the change in personality. Just answer me this: why?

Dave: She tried to explain what had became of her cat, Mr. Whiskers, but her parents wouldn’t believe her, and eventually put her up for adoption.

Wait, what!?

Now I have to ask, Dave. What do you think adoption is? Because it’s not just a conventient way to get rid of troublesome kids. Again, unless the parents have absolutely no love or empathy for their child, they’re not gonna put her up for adoption for… what, lying? Is that what we’re going with?

And you say her parents wouldn’t believe her? Why not? She’s got a town full of witnesses! In fact, chances are, HER PARENTS WERE THERE DURING THE EVENTS!

Elsas parents were gone for the duration of the movie. Weird Girl’s parents weren’t mentioned as being missing.

But despite probably witnessing these events first hand, or if not, having a fucking city full of witnesses, they decided to put her up for adoption, and just hope things sorted themselves out?!

That makes no sense at all!

And the idea is, she’s adopted by Peg and Jim Boggs, and changes her name to Kim? Again, children don’t generally change their names when they’re adopted, do they?

Dave: What do you mean, change her name?

Her real name is Anne Chambers. A simple google search tells you that.

This is what I mean with why the small details are so important. Because of these small, but crucial details, we have a very elaborate fan theory wherein, near as I can tell, not a single part of it actually works. As soon as you scratch the surface or put it to any amount of scrutiny, it crumbles to dust.

And there are of course variations of it, but many of them make the same mistakes. The only one I found that kind of worked is the idea that Victor Frankenstein is a descendant of Victor van Dort. And that doesn’t really work either.

Dave: Well, you can’t prove it’s not true…

Maybe not, but the absence of counterarguments alone does not validate the theory. It’s far more important to provide evidence to support their claims. That’s how making a theory works.

But I digress. Like I said, it’s an impressively elaborate theory. But that is not enough on its own.

In a way, this theory is very much like what actually happens if you stick a lightning rod to a dead dog, and put it into a thunderstorm.

You will get lots of noise and lots of sparks. You will not, however, get a reanimated dog. No matter how impressive the process looks or sounds, that dog, like this theory, will still be dead as a doornail.

 

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The Warriors

Strap in, folks. This is going to be a long one.

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to write about the 1979 cult movie The Warriors.

And I’m going to level with you people right away….

I don’t like this movie. Not one bit. I’ll admit, it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t change the fact that I think it is a terrible movie.

If you like it, you will probably not enjoy reading this, and I would recommend you stop reading now, because this article will just be me criticizing this movie.

For those of you who may be curious as to my reasoning, let’s get to ranting.

I suppose we may as well start at the beginning.

The movie begins with several New York street gangs, all going to a meeting called by Cyrus.

Who is Cyrus, you ask?

I have no fucking idea.

We get some scattered descriptions about him. He’s apparently the head of the Riffs, the biggest gang in the city. But really… who the hell is he?

It’d be one thing if people were just impressed by his status, but everyone starts talking about him like he’s this mythical, legendary figure. All information we get about him is “A whole lot of magic” and that he’s “the one and only“.

Ok, so what do you mean “magic“? The one and only what? Why do people admire him? Why is he the leader of the biggest gang in town? What’s special about him? Simply put:

Who the fuck is he?!

Because to me, he looks like an asshole in a silk bathrobe, holding court from a damn jungle gym!

Whoever he is, he has called a meeting, asking every gang to bring 10 members to the gathering. And he tells them to not bring any weapons.

And then, despite him being the leader of the biggest gang in town and therefore someone at a slight risk of assassination, he seems to just assume everyone will agree to his proposed truce.

(Street gangs, of course, being famous for obeying authority figures and always follow orders.)

But it turns out that Luther, the leader of a gang called the Rogues, does indeed bring a revolver, and proceeds to shoot “The One and Only” Cyrus to death. Turns out that “whole lotta magic” doesn’t do much against a .357 Magnum to the chest. Go figure…

And despite a massive handgun being fired in the middle of a crowd of people, only ONE PERSON seems to notice who fired the gun, allowing Luther to blame the murder on the eponymous Warriors.

So because none of the Riffs think of asking “hey, if the leader of the Warriors shot Cyrus, why did he rush forward and tried to help him” and instead BEAT HIM TO DEATH, the rest of the Warriors have to make their way back to Coney Island with a bounty on their head.

So about the rest of the warriors. We’re introduced to Swan, Ajax and the rest. I would give you their names, but apart from Ajax and Swan, none of them have much of a personality.

Swan is the closest this movie gets to a hero (and even that is a stretch), and Ajax is an bickering asshole who gets arrested halfway through the movie for trying to rape an undercover officer.

There’s also Cowboy, who’s defining characteristic is “wears a hat”. The rest barely have personalities at all, so much so that when one of the Warriors, who again are the MAIN CHARACTERS, falls in front of a subway train and dies, I couldn’t even remember his damn name, let alone what he added to the plot.

It’s almost like having NINE characters as the focus wasn’t a brilliant move. Maybe cut three or four or combine their characters instead?

Suppose it was just it Swan, Ajax and two more. You know, so we have time to get to know them, so we actually CARE if one of them dies?

Hell, Peter Jackson had 9 main characters in Lord of the Rings, but at least he had NINE PISSING HOURS TO FLESH THEM OUT!

None of these characters have any real personalities, so it’s a bit hard for me to give a crap if they make it or not.

But after avoiding police and rival gangs, they finally make it back to Coney Island, having travelled and run and fought across all the way from Manhattan. They’re home free, they’ve made it. They’re safe!

And Swan looks out across Coney Island. Does he tell his friends that “We’ve made it. We’re home“?

Some rousing speech about how they’ve proven that they are truly warriors, perhaps?

No, he looks around in disgust and says

This is what we fought all night to get back to?

What the piss are you talking about?! Is this the first time the actor saw Coney Island and they left the camera on!? It’s not like you set out for some mythical, distant land of milk and honey. You LIVE HERE!

What the hell did you expect!? This is the place you started from at the beginning of the movie! You have been gone for less than 8 hours! And now, you’re on the verge of leaving, because it didn’t live up to your fucking expectations!?

Glad to see you think this has all been worthwhile, Swan!

And this is when Luther and his gang arrives in Coney Island, calling the warriors to “come out to play“, which frankly is one of the most memorable moments in the movie.

Now, this is Coney Island, remember? The Warriors have been trying to get here the whole movie. They brought 10 members to Cyrus’ meeting. The warriors have fought across the city, dealing with other gangs along the way. But now, they’re on Coney Island. Home turf.

So Swan, having been chosen as war chief of the Warriors, steps forward and calls out, at which point the rest of the warriors, the ones that DIDN’T go to the gathering, appear and chase Luther and his Rogues out of Coney Island. Because this is Warrior territory.

At least, that’s what I thought would happen.

But appearantly, the Warriors just consists of 8 morons with three personalities and a stupid hat between them.

So instead of something really impressive and awesome, and a nice reversal of the rest of the movie, they all just go to a beach for the face off with Luther. And here is when we finally get answers.

After all, Luther snuck a gun into the meeting and assassinated Cyrus. He planned this ahead of time. He purposefully blamed Cleon and the Warriors. It’s the catalyst for the entire movie. So why then did he do it?

Did Cyrus wrong him somehow? Was he a former member of either the Riffs or the Warriors? Did Cleon kill a friend of Luthers and this was all for revenge?

No, nothing like that. Luther gives a very simple and straightforward answer.

No reason. I just like doing things like that.

You fucking what!?

You mean to tell me that this entire story is a result of this one guy being bored and deciding to kill someone for shits and giggles?! And none of the other members of the gang decided “Maybe this is a bad idea, just randomly killing the most powerful guy in town out of boredom“?!

Fuck you, movie! The only way this is culturally significant is because it shows a culture before BASIC FUCKING CHARACTER MOTIVATION!

And to top it all off, Luther is armed with a handgun, facing off against a guy with a switchblade.

And he not only manages to miss the guy RIGHT IN FUCKING FRONT OF HIM, but also gets stabbed in the arm and falls to his knees screaming like a little bitch…

THIS was the main villain of the movie, folks! This sniveling punk who is on his knees, grabbing his bleeding arm and almost weeping.

This is your villain! Look upon him and tremble!

And you know what the most frustrating thing of all is?

This isn’t the dumbest thing in this movie!

It’s not even close!

I saved this for last, because it is absolutely unbelievable in how insane it is.

And it requires us to go back to the beginning of the movie, because now I’m gonna tell you about Cyrus’ plan.

Cyrus had the idea that all gangs in New York should unite, to form one single gang, thereby effectively controlling the city.

Now, he starts this monologue by presenting a question to the crowd.

Can you count, suckers?

He then proceeds to point out that at this gathering, there are 10 delegates from a hundred gangs, and that there are over a hundred more.

This, he says, equals 20.000 hardcore members. 40.000, counting affiliates.

Firstly, what the hell does that even mean? Is he talking about subordinates? Don’t they count among the hardcore members?

And then, he adds another 20.000 who are “unafiliated, but ready to fight”. Presumably just thugs without gangs.

Here’s the thing, and this is where his original question really starts to bother me. Can I count? Why, yes I can, which is why I can see why your plan is fucking broken, Cyrus!

200 gangs with 10 members each equals 2000, not 20.000!

At most, we’re talking MAYBE 4000 members. By extention, let’s be generous and say that in total, he has between six and nine thousand members. Not exactly the army of 60.000 soldiers he envisioned, is it?

He proceeds to say that “There ain’t but 20.000 police officers in the whole city“.

The city, I remind you, is NEW YORK CITY.

Fun Fact: The NYPD is the single biggest police department in the entire country! While I don’t have the number for the 80’s (though not for lack of trying) in 2013, they had over 49.000 employees. Out of them, roughly 34.500 were uniformed officers, and an additional 4.500 Auxilliary officers.

So far, it seems that instead of outnumbering the cops 3/1, they outnumber YOU 4/1, Mr. Whole Lotta Magic.

But maybe they had fewer officers in the 80’s. Like I said, I don’t have the numbers. But let’s say that you’re right, and they have 20.000 officers. Now, you’re STILL outnumbered, but on top of that, each of them is a trained law enforcement officer, whereas you people are street trash. You’re therefore outclassed. Oh, and your weapons are baseball bats, switchblades, steel pipes, maybe the odd revolver here and there…

They, on the other hand, all have standard issue firearms, and access to riot shields, shotguns and rifles.

Oh, and there’s another big fucking problem you’ve forgotten, Your One and Onlyeness.

Guess what the NYPD can do, which you can’t?

They can ask other police departments for backup! Even if they haven’t got enough people, they can call for assistance!

How well do you think you little takeover will go, once the national guard gets called in, with their MILITARY GRADE EQUIPMENT!

Somehow, I suspect morale will take a bit of a nosedive once groups like the Baseball Furies start being mowed down by soldiers with assault rifles!

But oh, it gets better! Because Cyrus also says that they can “tax the crime syndicates“.

Are you kidding me!?

New York City is one of the BIGGEST TRADING HUBS ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!

Do you have any idea how many different criminal organizations have a vested interest in things running smoothly in New York?

Let’s go through some of the more obvious ones. There’s the Cosa Nostra AKA the Sicilian Mafia, there’s the Yakuza, Chinese Triads, the Polish mafia, the Russian mafia, the south american cartels and the various central american syndicates.

And those are just the ones I know of!

And you’re seriously suggesting that you’re gonna stroll up, in your silk bathrobe, to people like Vito Corleone or Tony “Scarface” Montana and suggest that they pay you to keep things moving?!

Best case scenario, all you’ll get is a lesson of what “go fuck yourself” is in about twelve different languages!

And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they DON’T blow your brains out then and there, and just laugh you out of the building. So to prove how serious you are, you start causing trouble.

Congratulations. Now you’ve made them angry. Now they’re serious, and they will start bringing in THEIR heavy hitters. Now they bring in the psychos they keep for special occasions. The kind of people that break into your home at night and hack you to death with a god damn hatchet, before turning to your family and anyone else you know, love or care about!

Actually, this is fiction, so chances are you’ll manage to piss off Keyser motherfucking Söze!

The guy supposedly killed his own family just to make a point. What the fuck do you think he’ll do to you?!

You want to unite all the gangs of New York, control the city and frighten politicians and crime lords? Because there’s only one guy I know of that could pull that off.

And guess what, you jungle gym pulpit preaching bathrobe bastard…

bill1.png
You sure as hell don’t look like this guy to me.