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Friday, March 02, 2012

Frankenweenie Trailer

I've always been fond of the films of Tim Burton.  Don't really know why...I think he was the first director that I identified with.  I mean, with his late-80s hits of Beetlejuice and Batman, it was hard for an impressionable young film buff to not get interested.  When I started my love affair with DVD all those years ago, I vowed to get every Tim Burton film on DVD.  I still don't have Sleepy Hollow or Mars Attacks!, if you're ever looking for a Christmas/Birthday/Just-Because-You're-Awesome present.

So I still look forward to Tim Burton films, even if his disappointments have outnumbered his success lately.  And, in 2012, we're actually going to be treated to two new Tim Burton films.  We have his big screen adaptation of the cult-classic soap opera Dark Shadows, and a feature-length version of his classic short film Frankenweenie.  The trailer for Frankenweenie was released today, so that's what I'm looking at.

For those who don't know the history of Frankenweenie, it's like this.  Tim Burton started as an animator.  Back in the early-80s, he worked as an animator at Disney.  I think the only Disney animated film he ever publicly acknowledged as working on was The Fox and the Hound.  He hated his time at Disney...never really felt like he fit in.  But, some Disney folks recognized his talents, and encouraged him.  One form of encouragement took the form of producing his short film Frankenweenie.

If you've never seen it, it's really easy to come by.  It's long since been released as a bonus feature on the DVD for The Nightmare Before Christmas.  It's a very cute re-imagining/spoof/homage to Frankenstein.  In this version, Dr. Victor Frankenstein is a 10-year old boy, and his monster is just his resurrected dog.  I highly recommend you check it out.

Disney never really knew what to do with the film, and it barely got released in 1984.  They thought it would be too frightening for kids.  Burton quit Disney soon after, got the offer to direct Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and the rest is history.  Disney finally released it on video in 1994, and it found a wide audience.

And that brings us to the present day.  Now that we have a generation that's been raised on The Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney finally realized that it's OK for kids to be scared a little now and then.  And they asked Burton if he'd like to expand Frankenweenie into a feature-length animated film.

So, I guess the big surprise is, despite it being a Tim Burton movie, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter are not in it!  But Burton did recruit a lot of his former cast members to do voices.  Catherine O'Hara (who was the mom in Beetlejuice) and Martin Short (who was in Mars Attacks!) voice Victor's parents.  Winona Ryder, who Burton put in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, voices a neighbour girl named Elsa van Helsing, and Martin Landau, who Burton directed to an Oscar in Ed Wood, voices Mr. Rzykruski.  Victor is being voiced by child actor Charlie Tahan.

Disney originally hoped to release it this month, but then figured it would be more appropriate as a Halloween movie, so they moved its release to October 5. 

I'm really digging this trailer.  It does look like some classic Tim Burton.  The neighbourhood is straight out of Edward Scissorhands.  The character designs are a lot like the Tim Burton classic short film Vincent.  And the music is very Danny Elmany.

As I said, it hits theatres on October 5.  And, as I`ll need a thumbnail when I post this blog entry to the various social networking sites, he's the teaser poster.

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