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Frankenweenie
BLU-RAY disk
Feb 1, 2013 By: Mathew Plale
Frankenweenie order download
Director:
Tim Burton

Actors:
Charlie Tahan
Martin Landau
Catherine O'Hara

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After his beloved dog Sparky is struck and killed by a car, an aspiring scientist named Victor (Tahan) reanimates him, giving the townspeople much to talk and scream about.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Tim Burton has spent the better part of his career adapting, whether its respectable books (Sleepy Hollow; Alice in Wonderland), Tony-winning musicals (Sweeney Todd) or awful soap operas (Dark Shadows). His latest, is a feature-length, stop-motion version of his 1984 live-action short Frankenweenie.

A boys best friend is his dog, especially if he has no other friends. Young Victor (voiced by Charlie Tahan) loves Sparky, takes him everywhere he can, makes him a star in his home movies. One day, Sparky gets loose and is struck by a car. Victor falls into a depression, until he learns the powers of reanimation from his science teacher (Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in Burtons Ed Wood), who bears a purposely striking resemblance to Vincent Price. Victor digs up Sparkys corpse, puts on his lab coat and, well, youve seen Frankenstein.

Knowing his parents (Martin Short and Catherine OHara) might have him committed, Victor makes every attempt to hide his furry, bolt-necked friend from them and the rest of New Holland (which could very well be a sister city of the town in Edward Scissorhands). Eventually, Victors classmates find out and want the secret. This, of course, leads to a tremendously destructive third act with burning windmills and giant undead pets.

So many of Burtons more recent efforts just feel like Burton trying to live up to his reputation. Frankenweenie, with its curious characters and gothic locations, feels like the first genuine Tim Burton film since Sleepy Hollow. (Its also the first he has directed, produced and written since 1990). Burton is a master of stop-motion animationas seen in both his directed features (The Corpse Bride) and those he produced/added his touch to (The Nightmare Before Christmas)so its no surprise that the work here is impeccable, rightfully earning him a second Oscar nomination (with a win not out of the question).

Some will see Frankenweenie as Burton going back to the well after so many consecutive critical failures (his last two films averaged a 44.5% on Rotten Tomatoes). Thats not necessarily the case. Frankenweenie is recycled material, but the labor assures naysayers its still far from a phoned-in effort. It was shot frame by frame with a large team using hundreds of models. It is perfectly constructed, cleverly demented and fully developed. There is no reliance on Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter. Instead, this is Burton remembering his talents and creating a story that is close to him and one he cares about.

THE EXTRAS
Blu-ray:

Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life (23:06): Director Tim Burton, producer Allison Abbate, executive producer Don Hahn, and more sit down to discuss the evolution of Frankenweenie, while viewers are given a behind-the-scenes look at the production facilities and models.

Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit (4:36): This featurette shows off the Frankenweenie exhibit (which featured a number of models, sets and storyboards) that traveled the world from San Diego to Japan.

Music Video for Plain White Ts cover of the Ramones Pet Sematary.

Also included on this disc are two shorts: the new Captain Sparky vs. the Flying Saucers (2:25) and the original 1984 Frankenweenie (30:03), starring Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall.

DVD:

The DVD includes Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit and the Music Video.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Frankenweenie is the first Tim Burton film in over a decade that doesnt feel like the director is parodying himself. It has all of the Burton touches (minus Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter) that made us admire him in the first stage of his career, when he was less concerned with which novel or musical he could Burtonize next. Frankenweenie may still be an adaptation of sorts, but nothing is phoned in. Its an incredible film and a labor of love that proves the gothic filmmaker can still care about good storytelling.
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+2
6:27AM on 02/01/2013
I know it was featured in the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD but they should have included the original, live-action Frankenweenie on here as well.
I know it was featured in the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD but they should have included the original, live-action Frankenweenie on here as well.
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