Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie Gets An Undead Lease On Life on Blu-ray, with stellar results.
Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was a box office disappointment. That’s unfortunate, as it’s Burton’s best movie since Ed Wood (Which was sadly also a box office flop upon it’s release).
Perhaps it’s the black and white cinematography or out of fashion stop-motion animation. Regardless, it’s a film worthy of a bigger audience. Hopefully this excellent Blu-ray release will rectify this.
Long time Burton fans will be familiar with the original short movie, for which this lifts much of the material.
Simply put here’s the plot; boy’s dog dies, boy resurrects dog, and everyone else freaks out about an undead pooch in their tidy, suburban town.
Victor is a lonely shock-haired outcast. This makes him another Burton alter-ego ala Edward Scissorhands. His dog, Sparky is the most loveable animated mutt since Doug from Up. But unlike many animated animals, he doesn’t speak like a human, and has no artifice of higher intelligence. This sadly leads to his demise.
But Victor learns via his science teacher that electricity can reanimate the nervous system. He takes this to absurd levels, culminating in a Frankenstein style resurrection. Victor promptly hides Sparky, so as not to panic his parents and neighbors.
But things get tricky when his school mates are vexed for a science project for the fair. Once they discover his secret they decide to use Victor’s method for their own mischievous gain.
Frankenweenie’s universe resides in the same sprawling suburbia of many a Burton film. But what makes it different is that their isn’t a semblance of normalcy to provide contrast. Everyone in this town is slightly morbid and odd. This makes the idea of an undead dog less shocking than the sunny L.A. of Burton’s original short.
But its beautifully animated, lovingly influenced by the Universal monster movie which inspired it’s creation. And while this doesn’t top the Burton produced The Nightmare Before Christmas, it’s easily superior to The Corpse Bride.
It has Burton’s charming mix of the macabre and the wistful. One that appeals to adults and teens as much as (if not more) than children.
The HD transfer of this movie is excellent. The black and white cinematography is pristine, loaded with visual detail. (I don’t have a 3D television, so I can’t vouch for that aspect). The audio is crystal clear, perfectly balancing dialogue, sound fx and Danny Elfman’s wonderfully atmospheric score.
And there are some wonderful extras;
Burton’s original 1984 short is presented and is still charming.
Also included is, Miniatures In Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie To Life; a behind the scenes doc on the making of the film, which will give you a profound respect for the stop-animation process. The painstaking process and attention to detail is amazing (a week of shooting= 2 minutes of footage).
Other features include the Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit, and the animated short Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers.
Frankenweenie is a blast, and the charm and beauty of the animation make it a gem in both Burton’s and Disney’s filmography.
Director: Tim Burton
Featuring the voices of: Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, and Tom Kenny.
MPAA rating: PG
Running time: 87 minutes
Want to own it on Blu-ray or iTunes? Just click on one of the links below.
And some movie collectibles: