The Netflix film debate is a weird thing. Not only is it ridiculous that certain people seem to be gatekeeping cinema but it refuses to accept that the way people consume media has changed. Why should it matter whether people watch films on a massive screen with a bunch of strangers or at home with their loved ones? Yes, I agree that going to the cinema is a joy but I’m also well aware that I haven’t really been to the cinema much since Covid. We also have to question why, if streaming services are ruining the film industry, so many famous directors are releasing films on it? Martin Scorsese, Bong Joon-ho and now Guillermo del Toro are just a few of the great filmmakers who are now Netflix official. If films should only be watched at a cinema then why are they so willing to take their money?
TBT – Frankenweenie (2012)films, reviews
Years ago, I started watching this film but, for reasons I can’t remember now, I never finished it. I also never went back to it. So, in an attempt to justify my Disney+ subscription, I decided to finally finish it. Plus, it seemed like a good companion for my review of The Willoughbys on Tuesday. The stop motion animation is a full-length remake of a short film that Tim Burton made in 1984. The earlier film got him fired from Disney because it wasn’t deemed suitable for a young audience. Of course, Disney changed their tune after Burton found future success as a director. They released his short for home video release in 1992 and as an extra with the DVD of The Nightmare Before Christmas. After signing a two-picture deal with Disney, Burton made a stop motion animation version based on the original film. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really think much of Corpse Bride when I watched that, which might explain my reticence to watch this. I love Burton’s style but sometimes his narratives can be a bit much. But, I can’t resist a good literary homage.
Like the original short, Frankenweenie is filmed in black and white. Mostly because the film is both a parody of and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein. Meaning it’s based on the super popular gothic tale written by Mary Shelley in 1818. The narrative follows the basics set out by the 1984 short but with a few exciting embellishments. Victor Frankenstein is a boy without many friends. In fact, he only has one. His family’s dog Sparky. After Sparky meets a grisly fate, Victor has the idea tom reanimate him for his science fair project. The idea was given to him by his science teacher. Victor finds a way to bring Sparky to life but his fellow students find out about his revived pet. What will happen when they start to force Victor to give them the secret to bringing animals back from the dead?
Tim Burton wanted to make the original film using stop motion animation but it was seen as too costly. This time, he had the clout to get it done, so we get to see his original artwork come to life. Burton has always had a flair for the gothic and his designs here are glorious. The film pays homage to the horror films he loved growing up and there are plenty of references to catch. Victor’s science teacher, Mr Rzykruski, has been designed to resemble Vincent Price and one of his schoolmates is called Edgar E Gore. We always knew that Burton was a fan of the genre but this film is everything we could have expected. It’s made with love and care, which makes it impossible not to fall for its charms.
It’s not a flawless film and the ending does get a bit messy and muddled. I guess this is to expected when you make a feature film out of a 30-minute short. However, none of these imperfections is so bad that you can’t ignore them. This is a film that is full of energy and fantastic little details. This was a passion project for the director and the end result is a delightful one. The stop motion animation brings the story to life and the world Burton creates instantly draws you in. It’s not the greatest film that Burton has ever made but it doesn’t matter. It’s a lovely story that clearly meant a lot to its creator. And who wouldn’t relate to the story of a young boy desperate to bring back his childhood pet?
As a children’s film, this works on quite a few levels. It has some horror elements in it but there’s nothing too scary that a younger audience won’t be able to enjoy it. It’s got plenty of humour and happier moments to make sure nobody gets too scared. The story is pretty slick and doesn’t waste any time unnecessarily. It might not look the same as the rest but this is a classic Disney film. You could argue that Burton has reigned in his weirdness here, which is a valid point. But I don’t think that matters. This film wasn’t supposed to be about pushing things too far. It was about his boyhood love of horror films and presenting something that could recreate that feeling for a new generation of children. On that basis, it does exactly what it needs to and it does it really well.
Oscars Week Review – Missing Link (2019)films, reviews
You may have noticed that I gave myself the task of writing a new film review every day leading up to the Oscars. Why did I do this? I can only imagine that my life was going far too well and I wanted to make things a bit more stressful. Especially as I decided that I still had to keep up with my books reviews as well. It’s meant that, so far, I’ve had to write 6 instead of 4 posts this week and I still have 4 more to go. I’ve got a few more films to watch as well. Plus, I’ve got plans on Friday evening and Saturday. I’m going to need a holiday with all of this going on. Luckily I’m having a half-day at work on the 14th but that feels like a lifetime away. Although, it is giving me the chance to see loads of films that I possibly wouldn’t have seen for a while. Or at all. I’m not sure that I’d ever have got round to this film had it not been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. And, as I now know, that would have been a huge shame.
Creatively Content: #cs_mealsinmotionInstagram, photography
I didn’t really take part in last week’s Creatively Squared challenge in the end. I took a few photos early on but wasn’t happy enough to post them. Which is why I almost didn’t write my weekly Creatively Content post. The #cs_mealsinmotion hashtag was all about trying to get the idea of motion into your photos. I had a lot of fun trying out some techniques but it was tricky. For one thing, doing it on my own was a bit hit and miss. I got a bit lost and my timing wasn’t great. But, in my defence, trying to sieve flour into a bowl whilst also trying to press the camera button is stressful. I really do need to get a remote for situations like this.
Throwback Thursday – Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)films, reviews, TBT
We’re already on our second Thursday of the month and, in keeping with my nostalgic film, I’m rewatching the second film that I reviewed on this blog. It was nearly a month after I posted the first one so, it’s safe to say, I had a pretty relaxed start to this whole thing. I’m so invested in my schedule these days that it’s hard to cope with the fact that I used to just post whenever I had something to write about. It could be weeks or months between writing. I’m not saying that these days I write to gain any kind of response but, back then, I definitely wasn’t writing with the belief that anyone was going to read it. To be honest, I probably only went through with it because I didn’t believe anyone was going to read it. I’d have been mortified to think anyone I knew would see what I was doing. I’m still a little mortified that so many people in my life know about this now but I my love for doing this outweighs all of my natural instincts to hide away. I wish I had more confidence. The kind of confidence it takes for a fox to steal food and drink from under the noses of three angry farmers. Oh, look at that. Brought right back round to topic in hand. It’s almost like I’ve done this blogging malarky before.