Sunday, January 6, 2013

Frankenweenie Blu-ray Review

Just a few days away, on January 8, 2012, you’ll be able to take Tim Burton’s latest movie, Frankenweenie, home on Blu-ray.  The movie itself is mixed bag, mostly because it’s not a movie that appeals to a wide audience.  It deals with the fairly adult themes of death and loss.  That combined with the monster and horror movie references throughout caused many to steer clear.  For nostalgic fans, this is a remake of short film of the same name that was created by Tim Burton almost 28 years ago.  If you’d like to learn more about the film itself, please listen to Episode 94 of our podcast.  

The major Bonus Feature on the Blu-ray is piece called “Miniatures In Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life”.  This piece makes use of the camera trick known as Tilt Shift to play off of it’s intent of educating us on the production process of a stop motion miniature movie by making real life elements of the piece look to be miniature.  Allison Abbate, the film’s producer, talks to us about the overall process of moving from the original Live Action short to the longer stop motion feature.  The idea presented originally by Burton was to base the miniatures off of Burton’s design sketches for the original short film.  

From there the it moves into a studio tour that was shot during the production of Frankenweenie at 3 Mills Studio in London.  It talks about puppet creation, and how there is a “Puppet Hospital” at the that constantly fixes the puppets that have been damaged during shooting.  You can learn about the process of creating a puppet for the film from concept, to design, to implementation.  And how every object in the film is scaled to match the size of the Sparky puppets because they were the first.  Also, you can learn some secrets about the process of filming a black and white movie in a color world.  In order to make things have greyscale appeal, sometimes colors are swapped out for other colors to present proper visual cues.

If you’ve already seen the film and really liked the short starring Sparky that was shown by Victor to his parents then you’re in luck.  On the Blu-ray is another Victor original short starring Sparky called “Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers”.  It’s a quick movie starring Sparky from before the events of Frankenweenie but being watched by Victor and Sparky afterward.  In it there’s a quick cameo of Mr. Whiskers (#PsychicPooper).  

For those of you who’ve not seen it before, the Blu-ray also contains the original Live Action short film version of Frankenweenie.  It’s fun to watch the new movie first, and then go back and watch this original version and see how much of this was recreated in the world of miniatures.  There’s also a piece about the “Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit” that was originally shown at Comic Con 2012 and then went on a world tour to places including Disney California Adventure. And a music video of the Plain White T’s cover version of “Pet Semetary” by the Ramones.

To be fair, Frankenweenie is not my favorite of Tim Burton’s body of work.  And this Blu-ray could contain more content, like perhaps the original short that was the source of the Frankenweenie concept title Vincent.  All that aside, I feel that it is a solid release that fans of this film will welcome into their libraries.  If you’ve not yet seen the film I’d suggest renting it first before purchasing to make sure it’s something you’d want to own.

1 comment:

  1. I’ll agree with you on renting it first to see how I like it, before I decide to buy it. Now that a co-worker at DISH informed me that it was released this week, I’ll definitely put this movie at the top of my Blockbuster @Home rental queue list. I’m sure my kids will enjoy it along with the new special features the discs have like the deleted scenes. I like Blockbuster because I can rent games and movies, access online content, and stream movies straight to my TV. Blockbuster saves me tons of money in the long run.


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