What better way to start a new year than with the Blu-ray release of this past Halloween's gem, Frankenweenie? Tim Burton has taken a step back into his original roots and ideas (where he thrives) and reunites us with a lovely little story and beloved form of animation. Now, before you see the name Tim Burton and stop reading, let's forget Hot Topic has ever happened. Okay? Good. Back to Frankenweenie.
More than anything else, Tim Burton is an artist. Frankenweenie (as most other Burton ideas) began as a series of sketches almost 30 years ago. The sketches evolved into a live action short film starring Daniel Stern, Shelley Duvall, and Barret Oliver (The Neverending Story). This small work of art, released in 1984, became a favorite among Burton fans over the years.
Frankenweenie tells both a thrilling and heartwarming story of a boy named Victor, who uses science in attempt to bring his beloved dog, Sparky, back to life. A modern child's retelling of Frankenstein, this film is loaded with classic horror cinema references and plays as a love letter to movie monsters in general.
Shot entirely in stop motion animation with practical effects, it is impossible to deny the artistic genius of this dying form of movie making. In a world and industry where time is money and it is easier to sit behind a computer and click, these tireless and devoted animators strive to shoot a mere two minutes of film per week. Every single puppet is moved by hand; every blink of an eye, smile, step, and tear. It takes approximately 24-27 character movements to create one second of film, not to mention the movement of over 4 thousand tiny little scaled props that are handmade and fully functional.
The Frankenweenie 4 disc combo pack includes the Blu-ray 3D feature film, the Blu-ray with bonus, the DVD feature film with bonus, and the digital copy. The standard Blu-ray is the disc that contains the original 1984 Frankenweenie short, plus animated Sparky's monster movie from the opening of the film. The featurettes include “Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life”, a wonderful behind-the-scenes guide to the art of stop motion animation, and the “Frankenweenie Touring exhibit”, with footage from Comic Con 2012 (see pictures here).
When Tim Burton was a young filmmaker, it was his dream to be able to put this sentimental monster story of a boy and his dog on the big screen. He has gone back to this idea years later to give more to the character of Sparky in a medium he loves and respects. Nothing about this film is a waste of time or space. Danny Elfman's original score is a breath of fresh air. The music has a definitive new melody carried with that usual Elfman flare. Do not watch this movie thinking of the likes of Alice in Wonderland. Nothing about it screams “big budget” or “crowd pleaser.” Instead, what you get is a small, lovingly made film with big heart. Watch it with your kids, parents, dogs, cats, turtles, or hamsters. You'll be glad you gave it the chance.
Bonus Clip form the Blu-ray: Captain Sparky Vs The Flying Saucers