on 26 October 2012
FRANKENWEENIE is a black-and-white 3D stop-motion horror/comedy directed by Tim Burton (DARK SHADOWS, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CORPSE BRIDE). What a fantastic, funny, imaginative film! I preferred this film to the recent PARANORMAN, and it was almost as good as the amazing CORALINE. Tim Burton's films have been getting worse and worse in terms of quality, in my opinion, but this is a huge improvement!
Young Victor Frankenstein has no friends except for his adorable pet dog, Sparky. When tragedy strikes and Sparky is killed, Victor feels more alone than ever. Until one day, when he performs a dangerous and controversial experiment, which brings Sparky back to life. Soon, however, his class mates discover what he has done and attempt to bring back all the dead pets of the town. Can Victor and Sparky stop the onslaught of deformed, monstroys pets, or will the town be plunged into total chaos?
The storyline was incredibly original and inventive, and featured some very powerful moments. I felt that the black-and-white really enhanced the storyline and made the film all the more enjoyable. The ending was scary, action-packed and emotional, and I thought the dialogue was very realistic.
The characters were fleshed-out, creative, whacky and thoroughly interesting. When the dog dies, you really feel sorry for Victor and there are one or two scenes that really make you care about pretty much every character, even the cruel ones. Weird Girl was hilarious!
The animation was a lot smoother than many of the other stop-motion flicks I've seen. I loved PARANORMAN so much but some of the animation was a bit dodgy. FRANKENWEENIE was far more impressive animation-wise. I think the 3D really wasn't needed at all, but it didn't take away from the films brilliance.
The voice cast was great. The person who did Victor was fantastic and Catherine O'Hara was brilliant as Weird Girl and Victor's mother! Overall, FRANKENWEENIE was a near-perfect thrill-ride, with wit, action and scares that all added up to a classic stop-motion. 10/10
on 1 May 2016
Tim Burton is one of the Brothers Grimm, a born fabulist and storyteller with a gothic imagination and macabre sense of humour. He thinks in parables and gives us beautiful and memorable fairytales. He’s also an artist with heart. Some tales told by him may be sentimental, but sometimes it’s good to say, “Three cheers for sentimentality!” Such is the case here in this story about a boy who tragically loses his dog, a being he can’t live without. A love story, then, between Victor and Sparky, boy and dog.
One day on the ball field Victor and friends are playing baseball. Someone hits a home run and the ball flies into the street beyond the field. Sparky is feisty, energetic. He will chase anything — cats, birds, butterflies. And now, as it happens, a baseball. The ball rolls, Sparky runs. A car speeds in the street. It tries to stop but can’t. Or not in time. Sparky dies. Victor is devastated.
The devastation lasts a long time, longer than normal. Concentration goes, energy too. Victor, once so perky and joyful, is listless, lonely, lost. His parents love and console him. They tell him Sparky still lives in his heart. But Victor, too crushed and bitter to care, says to them:
“I don’t want him in my heart. I want him here with me.”
Victor is nerdy, skinny, a dorky science geek. He loves the power and magic of science, its transformative, alchemical properties. And it’s almost predestined that this should be, as his is a literary-scientific name — Frankenstein. Like God, he is interested in the power of resurrection. He wants to be a great alchemist who can turn death into life.
Sparky is gone until a spark, quite literal, is struck in science class by the teacher. A dead frog, placed on a petri dish, is wired up to an electrical power source. Mr. Rzykruski, the teacher, a towering authoritarian figure, is an Old World refugee who speaks English with a thick Eastern European accent. He has to be from Transylvania. If not, Poland, right? Or maybe from Battle Creek, Michigan, home of Kellogg’s, as his name almost sounds like Rice Crispies. Victor, lethargic as usual, only half listens as Mr. Rzykruski says:
“Just like lightning, the nervous system is electricity. We are wires and springs and cables to send the messages.”
But then suddenly Victor is all ears. He sits up straight when he hears the teacher say:
“Even after death the wiring remains. Watch as the muscles respond to the electricity.”
Victor does. He watches the frog’s legs spring to life.
He runs home excitedly, his mind feverish with items he must gather for his experiment. But first he must retrieve the body.
On a cold, rainy night, the sky filled with thunder and lightning, he arrives at the pet cemetery, torch and shovel in hand. Sparky is buried on a hill like Calvary, the highest in the cemetery. Over his resting place stands a stone cross. In a grave next to him Hello Kitty is buried, the sad message carved into her tombstone short and bittersweet: “Goodbye Kitty”. Yes, so long. Wet from the driving rain, Victor digs down through mud and soil. The tip of the shovel hits the small coffin and Victor digs it up, placing it in a cloth sack. Thunder cracks and wild animals howl as Victor leaves the cemetery, now officially a body snatcher.
In the attic of his parents’ suburban house Victor has his laboratory. Rigged up to pulleys and chains, a wooden platform can be pulled up to its skylight. Victor places the corpse of Sparky on this platform and then a blanket over the body. Through the skylight he runs kites and umbrellas attached to twine and string. They sail high into the sky and into the heart of the storm above. Lightning flashes and electricity races down to the skylight. Sparky’s body is jolted with volts. It shakes and smokes under the blanket.
Victor lowers Sparky into his lab. Minutes pass and nothing happens. There is no life. With closed, wet eyes Victor embraces Sparky and says to him, “Sorry, boy.”
More time passes. Then, from under the blanket, the tail moves a little and starts to wag. Sparky’s tongue darts out and licks Victor’s hand. Sparky looks a mess — like death warmed over, so to speak (bolts in his neck, stitches everywhere, body parts falling off) — but Victor is out of his head with joy. Sparky is alive and that’s what matters. Victor Frankenstein has lived up to his famous name.
Sparky looks monstrous, but he’s no monster. He’s the Sparky of old, if battered and low on energy. If he gets rundown, Victor attaches clamps to his neck bolts and runs a potent charge through him. That always perks him up now.
Naturally, no one can know. For now Victor must keep Sparky tethered in the attic. This happens for a while but can’t last. Sparky chases the neighbour’s cat through the skylight and enters the world again.
Victor’s friend Edgar is the first to know. He saw Sparky by the school gym. Edgar, sad to say, is an ugly hunchback and talks like Peter Lorre. His full name is Edgar E. Gore, as in Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s original hunchback assistant in the 1931 movie. Edgar says he’ll spill the beans unless Victor teaches him how to perform the miracle. Reluctantly, Victor consents. In the attic lab, again on a rainy night, they bring a dead fish back to life. However, something goes wrong with the experiment and the fish, though alive again, is invisible.
Other boys from the school and science class are eager to win top prize at the upcoming Science Fair. They bully Edgar into revealing what he knows about Victor’s experiments. Over the past few days other experiments performed by these classmates have gone horribly wrong, resulting in injury.
Word spreads fast through the town that the eccentric science teacher is inciting the students to perform dangerous experiments. A lynch mob forms. Well, not one with torches ready to burn him to death, but a group of angry parents with a lynch mob mentality. Hastily, a meeting at the school is assembled for the public. Worried and distraught parents attend. On stage the town’s mayor announces that the teacher has been sacked. All parents but Victor’s are relieved. This foreign menace has been removed from the school and can no longer corrupt our children with his weird, eccentric and ‘foreign’ ideas.
But before Rzykruski departs he is called to the stage to explain and defend himself. Tactless, condescending and judgemental, he is no diplomat, politeness and popularity not being items he prizes. He says this to his audience:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I think the conclusion here is that you are all very ignorant. Is that the right word, ‘ignorant’? I mean ‘stupid’, ‘primitive’, ‘unenlightened’. You do not understand science, so you are afraid of it. Like a dog is afraid of thunder or balloons. To you, science is magic and witchcraft because you have such small minds.” [gasp from the audience] “I cannot make your heads bigger, but your children’s heads, I can take them and crack them open. This is what I try to do, to get at their brains!”
Then, demented laughter from the mad science teacher as the audience again gasps.
Rzykruski is replaced by the gym teacher, a rotund young woman with little going on upstairs, meaning between the ears. That figures: the way of education in America, I suppose.
Out in the car park Victor says goodbye to his beloved science teacher. Rzykruski sees that Victor is sad and tries to console and encourage him. First he complains that people want science only because of what it can bring them. They don’t care to understand what it is and how it works. They don’t ask questions, always a sign of missing curiosity. Before driving away and out of Victor’s life, he leaves this kernel of wisdom with his bright young student:
“Science is not good or bad, but it can be used both ways. That is why you must always be careful.”
Previously he has also told Victor that science is not conducted solely with the head. You have to have heart too. You have to love knowledge and learning and the wonderful things they bring. Science is a tool that can help us. Thus science is our friend, not the enemy.
Victor intuitively knows all this to be true. And now he knows it experientially too. It was electricity, not wishful thinking or superstition, that brought life back to Sparky. It was knowledge and understanding of electricity and nature and how they work that helped perform the miracle.
We are left with such consoling thoughts by the film. Though on the surface it looks a childish entertainment (puppets and figurines filmed in stop-action black-and-white), its wisdom and humanity run deep. It doesn’t apologise for what science has given us. It celebrates it.
Sometime in the 80s of the last century, the quirky visionary Tim Burton made a short, "Frankenweenie." This was not widely available, if not even banned by Disney. And finally, the full-legth 3D stop-motion "Frankenweenie" hit the big screens of the world in 2012, and I was excited to finally watch it at home, a few days ago.
The new "Frankenweenie" (delightful and wonderful stop-motion, if you loved Coraline (Blu-ray 3D)  [Region Free] and ParaNorman (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy) , you will love this!) is one of Burton's best works, and it has pretty simple and humane plot - a young boy's adored dog (a pit-bull!) dies. What has one to do, instead of mourning?
Victor, who is an introverted loner, but also quite an ingenious and brave kid, encouraged by his science teacher (An Eastern European, but of course!), decides to dig the pet up, hit him with a lot of electricity and, perhaps, succeed in bringing his Sparky back to life. Is he lucky in his enterprise, you wonder? Oh yeah, but the experiment carries quite a few... what to call it... side effects. Naturally, these things never quite work out the way we expect. And this time Burton really raises the ante with a monster rally of a plot that adds several additional fiends and layers of movie memories.
This feature is black and white, which makes even more amazing the fact that, even though it lacks in colour, it is full of awesome touches, such as the massive gap-toothed kid at school, who looks very much like a certain man-made monster, another pupil of the New Holland elementary school is a sinisterly cerebral Asian, then there's the bizarre girl who thinks her kitty's litter conveys evil omens (my personal favourite!).
Please beware that sensitive children may find the scenes depicting the gothic pet cemetery distressing and freak out at the violent culmination. But many kids will certainly enjoy the Burton-esque gore.
And last but not least, in the extras, you will find the amazing original Kubrick-esque short "live action" film! In my [adult] opinion, it is even better than the animation version, I swear! Five stars for the whole package.
Frankenweenie is indeed delightful, although perhaps not entirely suitable for very young children. It's a cartoon, indeed, but it's an offbeat animation about a weird kid who reanimates his equally weird and much-loved but dead dog... And there is a strikingly graphic scene which brilliantly portrays the dog's demise. I flinched, and I imagine that it'd be a bit too much for some little ones.
For older kids and adults, however, Frankenweenie is a total treat. It refers back to many of the themes which Tim Burton first explored in Edward Scissorhands  [DVD], about being the freaky, geeky and isolated kid; about making attempts to integrate; about the treachery of childhood friendships; about the nobility of sacrifice. And never mind all the serious stuff - Frankenweenie is jammed full of subtle chuckles, wry observations and some laugh-out-loud moments. The scenes where the dog stars in the home movies are priceless. The 'I can fix that' refrain when another experiment goes wildly awry are delightful, as are all the nods and tributes to cult horror films from days gone by. It's a geeky nerdfest wonderdream -- but none of that interferes with your enjoyment of the film if you don't understand the references.
And the final homage-to-Frankenstein kill-the-monster sequence is a stunner. Genuinely had me sniffling and cheering: one of those rare, heartfelt rollercoaster moments.
An easy film to recommend: full of entertaining humour, quirky and inventive, offbeat and unpredictable, yet with a solid moral core at its centre. It's also nice to see a film which bigs up the unconventional / weird people of the world...
on 3 July 2013
Tim Burton was once kicked out of the Disney organization due to his output apparently being `too dark and scary' for its intended audience. How he must be smiling now, as a hugely successful and innovative director and film-maker; even able to turn a 1984 animated short into this feature-length film, with its bizarre creations and ghoulish preoccupations with the gothic and the macabre.
It's not a bad movie, but it's also not a patch on the likes of The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare before Christmas, or James and the Giant Peach. Basically a Frankenstein pastiche, it rolls along without much in the way of originality or obvious passion, and smacks of a pet project - something of an indulgence. I actually thought that ParaNorman did the same thing with far more wit and elan, and Frankenweenie is unfortunately languishing in the former's shadow.
on 23 March 2015
Tim Burton has another stab at the stop motion genre and produces a cracking and surprinsingly sweet tale about a boy and his dog. Taking on Burton's signature gothic style Frankenweenie riffs on everything from King Kong to Frankenstein whilst relishing in its b-movie roots.
The story is based on a short film Burton made in his early days. For once it doesn't feel like an over stretched story that runs dry after the first twenty minutes. For want of a better phrase the characters are wonderfully fleshed out here. If there are any gripes for me it would that Sparky is a little bland. Otherwise the story, characters and animation all shine here. It's a warmer, funnier film than the Corpse Bride but not quite as accomplished as A Nightmare Before Christmas.
In any case this is a fresh and welcoming let different animated film which embraces a niche genre and is enjoyable for all the family.
on 10 July 2015
A great film, there is an element of horror which made me jump a couple of times, beware the giant rat, crazy cat/bat and 'dinosaur like 'massive tortoise. Sparky tries for 9 lives like a cat? but manages just a couple of come backs. Love the romance between Sparky and the poodle next door, which rubs off on her, leaving 'lightening zig zags' on the sides of her head, that made me laugh. Sparky is the Hero in this movie. Brief synopsis:- Victor is the boy inventor who is envied by his school mates which 'Sparks' trouble - won't spoil the ending.........
on 15 August 2013
There are few directors who can be called auteurs in modern Hollywood - these are the men and women who have a distinctive style that permeates their work across genres. Love him, hate him, or plain indifferent him, Tim Burton is one such director. I find that his work is very hit and miss, especially in recent years, but his animations have always been fun, especially `The Nightmare Before Christmas'. `Frankenweenie' is an idea Burton first tackled when working for Disney in the form of a short film. Sparky is a dog that dies then brought back to life by schoolboy Victor Frankenstein. In this longer animation the story is stretched further and the some of the town begin to learn the skills of Young Victor.
As a piece of stop motion animation `Frankenweenie' looks magnificent. The art direction and use of black and white means that has some incredible visuals. Fans of classic horror tales will also have a lot to look forward to with plenty of Easter Eggs to find as Burton plays with the genre. I enjoyed some of the characters that were on offer; Victor's various school friends are all mini versions of classic horror actor/characters. It is a shame then that some of the voice acting is a little flat. Charlie Tahan as Victor is a prime example; his all American tone is too flat and lacks emotion.
I also feel that the story was bland. I was never a big fan of the original short version of `Frankenweenie' and this extension has done little to fix the flaws. It is all a little linear and any new elements are too basic. The film is trapped between being for adults or for kids. The story is slow, full of interesting things to look at - this will interest the adults, but they will get tired of some of the later action sequences. Kids will find the entire film too slow and not full of enough action to keep them entertained. `Frankenweenie' is a flawed attempt by Burton of producing a film that can be loved by all of the family. Instead, everyone in the family is likely to enjoy parts of the film, but not others.
Even in Black and White, `Frankenweenie' is a film best seen on BluRay as it brings out the richness in tone. There are some extras worth watching, the story of how the expanded version of the film came about is good. I do think a little more would have been good though.
on 10 August 2013
FRANKENWEENIE  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray] Funny, Touching and Exquisitely Handmade! From The Director of ALICE IN WONDERLAND!
From Disney and creative genius Tim Burton [‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’] comes the hilarious and offbeat ‘FRANKENWEENIE,’ a heart-warming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out; Victor's fellow students, teachers and the entire town learn that getting a new "leash on life" can be monstrous.
Complete with electrifying bonus features; ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ is alive with enchanting fun for the whole family.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2013 85th Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year for Tim Burton. American Cinema Editors: Nominated: Best Edited Animated Feature Film for Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E. and Mark Solomon. 2013 BAFTA® Awards: Win: Best Animated Film. 2013 Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Animated Feature Film for Tim Burton. 2013 New York Film Critics Circle: Win: Best Animated Film for Tim Burton. 2013 Saturn Awards: Win: Best Animated Film for Tim Burton. Win: Best Music for Danny Elfman. ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ was the first black-and-white feature film and the first stop-motion film to be released in IMAX 3D.
Voice Cast: Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Winona Ryder, Robert Capron, James Hiroyuki Liao, Conchata Ferrell, Tom Kenny, Dee Bradley Baker (uncredited), Jeff Bennett (uncredited), Sir Christopher “Frank Carandini” Lee (archive footage) (uncredited), Melissa Stribling (archive footage) (uncredited) and Frank Welker (Sparky Frankenstein voice) (uncredited)
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Allison Abbate, Connie Nartonis Thompson, Derek Frey, Don Hahn, Simon Quinn and Tim Burton
Screenplay: John August, Leonard Ripps (1984 screenplay) and Tim Burton (original idea)
Composer: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: Peter Sorg
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Castilian Spanish: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, Brazilian Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital and English: 2.0 Dolby Audio Description
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Brazilian Portuguese, Castilian Spanish and Portuguese
Running Time: 87 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: A boy's best friend is his dead dog in Tim Burton's ‘FRANKENWEENIE,’ which is an extended remake of the director's 1984's ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ short film which didn't see the light of day until a decade later and cost him his job with the same studio now fronting this lengthier animated version. It's an interesting piece of cosmic irony, particularly since he was fired for making something deemed too scary for younger viewers. Thirty years later, the same could still be said of this longer take, which adds extra 50-minutes of spooks and frights to the original and sees neighbourhood kids bring their beloved pets back from the dead. Yet, the heart-warming story of a boy and his dog is the glue keeping everything together, even when things are at their wildest, mixing the scares with plenty of laughs.
Whereas the original is a live-action short starring Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, and a plucky Bull Terrier, this remake is a stop-motion animated feature with a host of voice talents and a lively cartoon Bull Terrier strutting lots more stitches than its predecessor. The time and setting has also changed into the quaint, peaceful town of New Holland and its name prominently displayed like the Hollywood sign on the side of a hill overlooking neighbourhoods borrowed directly from Tim Burton's 'Edward Scissorhands.'
The central plot remains the same, however, with little Victor Frankenstein [Charlie Tahan] losing his hairy companion while chasing a baseball into the middle of the road. His parents Mr. Frankenstein [Martin Short] and Mrs. Frankenstein [Catherine O'Hara] do what they can to comfort him, but the intelligent kid with a passion for science is set on reviving his slobbering buddy.
Victor tries to keep his act against nature a secret, and the upcoming school science fair is the perfect guise from which he can work without suspicion. An oddly cute scene has him sneak by his parents, who are watching Hammer Film's classic 'Horror of Dracula' with Christopher Lee, while dragging a burlap sack with the remains of his dog. Shortly after, crabby next-door neighbour Mayor Bergermeister [Martin Short] sees Victor on the roof setting off kites and an umbrella during a thunderstorm. The entire sequence echoes the same feel and look of James Whale's two 'FRANKENSTEIN' features, awash in dark, ominous shadows and shot in a variety of canted high angles.
It's not long before the town catches wind of the experiment, thanks largely to the hunchbacked Edgar Gore [Atticus Shaffer] who looks a bit like a child-version of Peter Lorre, and the story makes an obvious departure from its source, suddenly growing in size and scope. Writing credits this time around go to John August ['Dark Shadows' and 'Big Fish'], who expands the parody and homage elements of Burton's original into a love letter to classic horror cinema. The aforementioned sequence, which was mostly taken from the short film, is only one of several clever but not very subtle references made throughout. For horror and stop-motion aficionados, 'Frankenweenie' becomes a quirky game of name that movie while younger viewers sit in awe at the amazing hand-crafted artistry that went into making this wonderful animated fantasy.
Mayor Bergermeister shrewdly mimics his ill-tempered, stop-motion counterpart in the classic Christmas special, 'Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.' Winona Ryder channels her performance from Burton's 'Beettlejuice' to play the Mayor's niece, the melancholic Elsa van Helsing. O'Hara voices the creepy, non-blinking, psychic blonde Weird Girl who escaped from 1960's 'Village of the Damned.' Toshiaki [James Hiroyuki Liao] is a strange classmate who acts as the story's enemy with eccentrically funny Fu Manchu sensibilities and whose pet hilariously transforms into a Gamera-like behemoth. Martin Short also provides the voice to Nassor, a flat-headed kid who resembles Boris Karloff and whose mummy hamster eventually leads to his being wrapped inside a sarcophagus. Best of all is Martin Landau lending his splendid talent to science teacher Mr. Rzykruski, the inspiration behind Victor Frankenstein's experiment and who is a loving homage to horror icon Vincent Price.
Somewhere in the middle, ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ loses a bit of its spark and edge at one point in the animation film, but it never loses much of its amazing charm with its knowing puns and nods to classic horror cinema. The stop-motion film is an enchantingly playful macabre tale which can frighten the youngest in the crowd, but it will fascinate and win over movie lovers who are still young at heart, giving Burton's directing career a much needed jolt of life.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Tim Burton's latest gothic fairy tale dazzles and sparkles on 3D Blu-ray with a 1080p reference-quality encoded transfer. Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the film leans more towards a natural sense of depth rather than eye-popping stunts that'll make jump back. Granted, there are a couple gimmick shots that lunge at the screen, which are quite amusing, but there aren't many. The photography is on generating a convincing spatial environment in which the characters move independently of each other, and it works like a charm. Background information pierces deep into the screen with a great feel of distance and remarkable separation. Several scenes are beautifully layered for a terrific pop-up book effect which adds to the script's fairy tale quality. In spite of the dark glasses, contrast remains pitch-perfect, with brilliant whites, allowing for some extraordinary moments of visibility of the smallest background objects in the distance. The tiny little lines on the windmill and the lettering of the town's name on the hill are as clear as anything else in the foreground during those extreme wide shots. Black levels are inky rich and true with a penetrating intensity in the darkest portions without sacrificing any of the detailing. Gradations in the grayscale are spot-on and exceptional. From the blades of grass to the stitching and threading of baseball caps, details are razor-sharp. Ultra-fine lines on the face of Mr. Rzykruski, the science teacher, like the wrinkles around his eyes or just over his mouth, are very distinct and defined. Individual hairs, whether on the various animals or atop the heads of characters, are plainly perceptible and seem to move freely with the wind. Close-ups are particularly impressive as they expose minor blemishes made during each figurines making, giving them a great deal of texture and realism. The overall 3D image is a superb high-definition transfer of a fun animated feature.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ comes to life on Blu-ray with a highly entertaining 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that surrounds and engages with a variety of classic horror cues. The most prominent effect is the sound of thunder and lightning, which cracks and booms with a deafening roar, that spreads to all seven speakers evenly. During the less exciting scenes, such as during school hours, we can still hear a few atmospherics in the rears, creating a subtle but wonderfully engrossing sound field. Danny Elfman's musical score does the majority of the work, consistently filling the background with its unique mix of circus-like merriment and understated gothic tones. In the front, imaging feels wide and expansive with other random discrete sounds which are convincing and engaging. Dynamic range is room-penetrating and extensive, allowing the crack of thunder to come in with astonishing clarity and distinctness. The orchestration in Danny Elfman's music is vivid and crystal-clear. Low-frequency effects are responsive and substantial with some surprisingly authoritative moments in a few scenes. Amid all the mayhem, the voices of actors are precise and well-prioritised; giving fans plenty to love in this entertaining family horror feature.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Original Short Film: ‘Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers’ [1080p] [2:00] ‘Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers’ is the home-made animation film created by Victor Frankenstein and starring his dog Sparky which is seen in the animation film ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ proper. Voice Cast: Charlie Tahan as Victor Frankenstein (voice). Directed by Mark Waring. Screenplay by Derek Frey. Produced by Allison Abbate and Tim Burton. Music by Danny Elfman. Cinematography by Malcolm Hadley.
Special Feature: Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life  [1080p] [23:00] Here we have interviews of the crew; this short documentary is an in-depth look at the making of the movie and expanding it into a full-length feature. Taking place at the London-based studios, viewers are granted access to the design, set construction, casting, puppet building, props and concept artwork employed. The scenes of ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ in this charming and thorough production documentary; an extensive and engaging overview that leaves no stop-motion stone unturned. Director Tim Burton, executive producer Don Hahn, producer Allison Abbate, animation director Trey Thomas and other notable members of the crew discuss everything from the London-based Three Mills Studio project to the film's expanded story, script, characters, miniature sets, models and puppets, design and style, relatively large sets and props, construction, art direction, casting, voice performances and recordings, and much more. Fans may lament the lack of a commentary or longer doc, but it doesn't get much better than this, even at just twenty-three minutes.
Special Feature: Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit  [1080p] [5:00] Sketches, Production Photographs, Models, Interactive Exhibits and more grace “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition,” which is an art show put on by the filmmakers to showcase the detail, passion and effort that went into creating the ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ animation film. “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” captures the magic of the filmmaking process and gives audiences an exclusive glimpse into the stop-motion animation process brought to life by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton. From original sketches drawn by Tim Burton, to extensive props, sets and puppets, the exhibition showcases the artistic detail and vision that has gone into bringing this heart-warming tale to the big screen in 2012’s most highly anticipated animated film. “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” delves into the world of a boy who, inspired by science and the love of his dog, brings his beloved pet back from the dead. The “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” travelled the world showcasing the puppets, props and artwork used in the ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ animation film.
Special Feature: Original Live-Action Frankenweenie Short Film  [1080p] [30:00] Tim Burton's 1984 ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ original short film of the same name, starring young Barret Oliver [‘The NeverEnding Story's Bastian’], Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern. Just don't pass this one by. Though a bit clunky at times and rough around the edges, it's actually far more satisfying than Tim Burton's full-length animated feature. Voice Cast: Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, Barret Oliver, Joseph Maher, Roz Braverman, Paul Bartel, Sofia Coppola, Jason Hervey, Paul C. Scott, Helen Boll, Sparky (dog) and Rusty James. Directed by Tim Burton. Screenplay by Leonard Ripps (screenplay) and Tim Burton (based on an original idea). Produced by Julie Hickson and Rick Heinrichs. Music by David Newman and Michael Convertino. Cinematography by Thomas E. Ackerman.
Special Feature: Music Video "Pet Sematary"  [1080p] The Plain White T's perform their cover version of The Ramones song "Pet Sematary." Reception for the song was not entirely positive, as it was nominated for the now-defunct Razzie Award for Worst Original Song in 1989. The song was originally written for the Stephen King ‘Pet Sematary’ film adaptation of the same name. The single became one of The Ramones' biggest radio hits, and a staple in their concerts during the 1990s.
Finally, an extended and imaginatively expanded remake of Tim Burton's live-action short film, ‘FRANKENWEENIE’ is a totally delightfully fun and macabre tale about a boy and his dog. Overflowing with several nods and puns, some more deliciously clever than others, the stop-motion family film charms its way into the hearts of movie lovers as a whimsical love letter to classic horror cinema. The Blu-ray comes to life with a reference-quality video presentation, excellent 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and a strong assortment of bonus material, making the overall package a massive well worth purchase. I saw this in the cinema in 3D and was quite impressed, but now seeing it in the ultimate 3D Blu-ray, it brings this amazing stop motion animation to full life and it has now gone pride of place in my extensive Walt Disney Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Once upon a time, there was a young boy called Tim Burton. Who wasn't like other boys. He obsessed with universal studios horror movies of decades gone by. Of their black and white images. Of the monsters and the characters. He got into film making himself.
One of his earliest efforts was a short film called 'Frankenweenie' a pastiche of Frankenstein, involving a boy using the same techniques as a certain Doctor in Mary Shelley's work to bring life to the dead. In this case his recently departed Dog.
Years later, with Tim Burton now a well known movie director, he took the chance to return to Frankenweenie, and remake it as a full length stop motion feature.
But the biggest horror of all awaits for some in this movie. Something that may send them screaming and running away from it.
IT'S IN BLACK AND WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just like those horror movies that young Mr. Burton enjoyed. The first of many homages you will find in here.
Young Victor Frankenstein lives in a typical small town and lives with his parents. He spends his time making his own movies. And has no friends. Apart from his beloved dog sparky.
When the latter is killed in an accident, Victor is devastated.
But a science lesson at school gives him the idea he needs to bring Sparky back from the dead.
Secrets of that kind can't be kept for long, though. And when other students learn the truth, life in the town gets out of control...
Those who know their horror movies of old will spot all sorts of homages in here. Including some very clever character designs. This is the kind of movie which isn't laugh out loud humour funny, more of a character drama where any comedy - such as it is - results from character interaction. It does follow the same story structure as those old movies, also.
How children react to it will depend on the child, because there are parts that are very sad - which will probably get to a few adults as well - and some parts that are rather dark in tone. There is also one reference to cat faeces which might not go down well with some parents.
It's a movie for all young Tim Burton's. The kids like Victor who don't quite fit in. But find their own happiness in their own way. Even if it's ways their parents don't approve of because they don't fit in with the other kids. So because of that, it's a movie for all the older Tim Burton's as well. It features clever and amazingly well rendered stop motion and design, and it has a touching story, and it's a great homage to those black and white classics. So it contains much to enjoy.
The disc has the following language and subtitle options:
Subtitles: English, Greek, Hebrew, Portugese, Slovenian, Spanish, Croatian.
The disc begins with several trailers, but you can skip them via the next button on the dvd remote.
There are also some more trailers - completely different ones - in the sneak peeks section of the disc's extras.
The only other extras are:
Frankenweenie touring exhibit: a four minute long feature about a touring exhibition of the models and the art of the movie.
Plain white T's Pet sematary music video: a three long pop video that uses a lot of footage from the film. Epileptics beware this as it contains a lot of flashing images.