TBT – Frankenweenie (2012)

films, reviews

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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.

Tuesday Review – Dumbo (2019)

films, reviews

dumbo_282019_film295_star_rating_system_2_stars I definitely watched Dumbo when I was younger but I can’t say that it was ever one of my favourites. I don’t think I ever really rewatched it. Of course, I remember the adorable elephant because it’s the cutest creature to come out of any Disney film. I remember the clown scene, the song, and, obviously, the flying. My memories of the film were that it was a really sweet but not very exciting film. We were more of a Lion King and Aladdin family. So, I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the upcoming remake as I have been with some of the others. Besides, I’m a huge Tim Burton fan. I even liked his reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. Although, I never saw the second one so I might hate that. Still, I was excited by the first look at this film. It had a great cast and it looked fantastic. And, with the dodgy history of this film, making it a bit darker or creepy. If nothing else, it’s 2019 and the idea of keeping elephants captive to perform in a circus is not exactly great.

Book Review – The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton

books, reviews

melancholydeath5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Up until yesterday, I was only reading Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Billy Bryson. Up until the point I stopped kidding myself that I would finish it for today. Given the fact that I’ve fallen asleep reading it every night since I started it, it was never going to happen. But, as we know by now, I’m pretty delusional when it comes to my reading goals. So it took a while for me to admit defeat. Stubbornness can be useful in certain situations but sometimes it can make life difficult. Like forcing me to find a quick read to finish in one night. Normally, that would involve me buying a super small book during my lunch break. But, as I’m still trying (and failing) to stick to my book buying ban, I decided that this time I would go back to one of the books on my shelf that I have already loved but never reviewed. A collection of poems, in fact, that I’ve owned for years and adored. I loved it so much that I’ve gifted it to a few friends and I’m the kind of person that doesn’t normally force my bookish loves on my unsuspecting friends.

Bookish Post – Nightmare Before Christmas Book Tag

book tag, books

So, this week definitely got away from me somewhere. I expected to be finished with another book by this point but I’m still reading both of the books I’ve got on the go. I should have Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet by next week but, for now, I’m having to find something random to fill out this post. Thankfully, it’s nearly October and I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of Halloween all month. Last week I posted a Nightmare Before Christmas themed post on Instagram so when I discovered this book tag everything seemed perfect. It helps that I love both the book and the film A Nightmare Before Christmas. But who doesn’t? It’s the perfect film to start you off on your journey to Christmas as early as October. Why wait until advent to start watching Christmas films when Tim Burton has you sorted? And why watch the film when you can do the book tag? Yeah? No? Okay. Well I’m invested now.