Legendary filmmaker Tim Burton isn’t exactly a fan of AI after seeing his style pilfered by bots.
“What it does is it sucks something from you,” he said. “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.”
There’s been a trend lately that’s seen social media users re-imagine popular movies as if they were directed by famous filmmakers. The Grand Budapest Hotel director Wes Anderson faced the brunt of this due to his unique, whimsical style, with numerous AI adaptations capitalizing on his signature visuals.
However, Burton also saw his own style pillaged for a recent BuzzFeed article. The article re-imagines popular Disney movies as if they were made by Burton, with most of them mimicking his wide-eyed characters and gothic inspiration.
“They had AI do my versions of Disney characters!” he said. “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 admitted that some of them were “very good” with Sleeping Beauty appearing with Burton’s signature wide-eyed, pale look with long blond locks and stitches in her cheeks. Others just weren’t quite up to standard, with Peter Pan looking more like a low-budget Dreamworks flick. Either way, the very notion of using AI to mimic Burton’s creativity left some commentators cold.
“We’re finally witnessing the death of art and culture,” said one commenter. “Well done.”
Another pointed out the lack of substance to these AI creations: “As someone who taught Tim Burton’s films and aesthetic for years, I was truly hoping for something beautiful here- but AI failed on this one,” they said. “There is very little German expressionism evident in the lines, curves, or light in these renderings, and for me, that is one huge influence in Burton’s aesthetic; nor do you see the noir and 50s film creature feature influence.”
Art is just one of the many battlegrounds the war between creatives and AI is being waged upon. Last month, a U.S. court ruled a work of art created by AI without any human input cannot be copyrighted under U.S. law.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.