In a year that was unusually chock full of stop-motion films, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was one clearly one of the best. Brought to us by Disney, the film is a full-length remake of Burton’s live-action short of the same name. While the plot is basically the same, the transfer to animation really makes Frankenweenie shine. That being said, the Frankenweenie four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo is also one of the better home media releases from Disney this year.
The Film ★★★★ 1/2
Frankenweenie is the story of a young boy, Victor Frankenstein, who loves two things: science and his faithful dog Sparky. But when disaster strikes and Sparky is sent to the pet cemetery, Victor longs for nothing more than to have his four-legged companion back with him again. One day, inspiration strikes Victor in his science class when he realizes that electricity could possibly bring Sparky back from the dead. The experiment proves successful, but now with Sparky alive again (literally hanging on by his limbs), Victor must figure out how to keep him hidden from his parents, schoolmates, and other denizens of his town and threaten to take Sparky away from Victor forever.
Surprisingly, the movie isn’t as dark and creepy as one would expect of a Burton film. While the characters clearly are Burtonesque in design—big hollow eyes and twiggy bodies—the story is actually simple, comedic, and happy. Don’t get me wrong, it does have its scary moments, but it can definitely be considered a family-friendly horror film.
The Features ★★★★
It’s easy to criticize Disney for its lack of effort on the special features for films that aren’t of the diamond standard. Luckily in Frankenweenie‘s case, Disney didn’t have any past DVD releases to fall back on for special features, so the Blu-ray’s feature section is loaded with lots of goodies.
The most impressive featurette is called “Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie To Life”, which provides an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. If anyone is interested in stop-motion animation, this feature really should be on the top of their list for learning about the process. It details every step from how making the puppets from scratch to meticulously animating each frame by hand. Interview are given with the director, the crew and various members of the production department. It really is one of the best “making-of” featurettes I’ve seen in a while!
Like most other animated films, there is an all-new animated short featuring Sparky and Victor called “Captain Sparky Vs The Flying Saucers”, which is reminiscent of the home movie Victor makes in the beginning of the film. The other features include the original 30-minute Frankenweenie short, a short film about the Art of Frankenweenie touring exhibit, and of course an obligatory music video for the song “Pet Cemetery” featuring Plain White T’s.
While it’s a shame the audiences didn’t take to the black-and-white animated flick as much as critics, there’s no doubt that Victor and Sparky will become Disney favorites in future years, especially since they will be playable characters in Disney Infinity. It deserves the slew of award nominations it has received as Frankenweenie is arguably some of Burton’s best work in animation. The Frankenweenie four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo is a great film to add to any Disney lover’s collection.
The four-disc combo includes Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy discs. Frankenweenie is available January 8, 2013. Buy it here on Amazon.
Check out our YouTube video review of the Frankenweenie Blu-ray here!