A boyís 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 Burtonís Ed Wood), who bears a purposely striking resemblance to Vincent Price. Victor digs up Sparkyís corpse, puts on his lab coat and, well, youíve seen Frankenstein.
Knowing his parents (Martin Short and Catherine OíHara) 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, Victorís 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 Burtonís 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. (Itís also the first he has directed, produced and written since 1990). Burton is a master of stop-motion animationóas seen in both his directed features (The Corpse Bride) and those he produced/added his touch to (The Nightmare Before Christmas)óso itís 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). Thatís not necessarily the case. Frankenweenie is recycled material, but the labor assures naysayers itís 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.
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 Tís cover of the Ramonesí ďPet Sematary.Ē
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.
The DVD includes Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit and the Music Video.