So, you know. Maybe knock it off for a while, guys.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting them for not doing their best work together lately; no one can be expected to be constantly making their best work, and the fact that they struck gold once with Edward Scissorhands is impressive enough, forever. I am saying that when you enter into a creative relationship that is so comfortable and enjoyable, one of two things happen: 1) You challenge, enhance and bring out the best in each other, becoming greater as a pair than you ever were solo (McCartney/Lennon, the Coen brothers, Trey Parker/Matt Stone) or 2) You agree and support each other so much that you lose objectivity; you can no longer gauge your ideas on their merits, because you've turned two talented artists into each other's personal Yes Man (Ferrell/McKay).
Burton and Depp seem to be in that second camp. From the outside, it looks like they're engaged in some kind of self-perpetuating circle of unflinching reassurance and back-patting, which is dangerous for creativity. It's worse than creating in a vacuum; it's creating in a vacuum that thinks all of your ideas are great and don't need to be edited or revisited or even questioned at all. It's one thing to have a collaborator that you're comfortable with and whose rhythms you understand and quite another to have a nodding mirror image of yourself. A disagreeing voice is one of the most valuable things to have in a creative environment. It's a good way to keep one's head out of one's ass, and it's why no movie has just one guy completely in charge of everything.
That rarely works out.
Johnny Depp creating an eccentric, pale character for Tim Burton featuring Helena Bonham Carter is one of the most bizarrely specific cliches I think I've ever come across. All I'm suggesting is a little creative break. Each artist should spend some time exploring other things, maybe having a different collaboration or two, then perhaps one day, after they've had some time alone to really figure themselves out, they can get back together and collaborate again, armed with new knowledge and experiences.
Plus then Johnny Depp will have more time to make the Rango 2 movie I'm writing.