Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Just Another Sunday

Woke up this morning debating whether I wanted to go see Frankenweenie or not.  Next weekend would be better, as I'm not working next weekend and thus could have a more relaxed time, but Frankenweenie isn't doing so well at the box office, meaning its time in theatres is growing short.  Since I had nothing better to do, it was off to the city!

Oh, how times have changed.  Tim Burton originally made Frankenweenie as a live-action short film when he worked for Disney in the early 1980s.  Disney deemed the tale - a retelling of Frankenstein in which Victor Frankenstein is a 12-year old boy and his monster is his recently-dead-but-now-resurrected dog - to be too scary for children and refused to release it.  Some say Disney fired Burton over it, other say Burton quit.  Regardless, when Tim Burton started becoming a celebrity director, Disney finally released it straight-to-video in the early 1990s, and it's been a bonus feature on pretty much every DVD release of The Nightmare Before Christmas

So, a few years ago, with The Nightmare Before Christmas rising in popularity and Frankenweenie becoming a cult classic, Disney and Burton decided to re-make it as a full-length stop-motion animated film.

Those who are fans of the original short film will be glad to know that this remake is very faithful to the original.  Tim Burton's influence is all over the film, as the film's location of New Holland is very, very similar to the suburb we saw in Edward Scissorhands.  I've heard some critics say that Edward Scissorhands is the one previous Tim Burton film that this is most similar to, and I'm inclined to agree.

In order to pad out the story to feature-length, they had to create a much larger supporting cast.  And if I have one complaint, that is, we really don't get to know these new characters.  We're told that young Victor has a close kinship with his science teacher, but sadly, we only get one scene of the two together.  Victor and the girl who lives next door, Elsa Van Helsing, have a brief scene that's very reminiscent of the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson/over the backyard fence conversations of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, but sadly, it ends just as it gets going. 

Elsa seemed fascinating to me, but darn it, she's not in the film that much.  We see she's living with her uncle, a very mean and cruel mayor.  But again, we don't get to know her that much.  I think a great subplot would have been if Sparky (the true name of the titular Frankenweenie) originally had more accidental havoc in the neighbourhood, and Elsa Van Helsing followed her monster-hunter namesake and started monster-hunting throughout the neighbourhood.  Oh, well.

On a side note, Elsa is voice by Winona Ryder, and the character's design is very, VERY, VERY obviously based on Lydia from Beetlejuice.  A nice little callback to Burton's resume.

But yeah.  It's cute, it's fun, and it's very much in keeping with the original.  3 out of 4 nibs, full review coming to the main site in the next few days.

And of course, it's not a trip to the city unless I come home fearing that I've spent too much money on DVDs.

On my shopping list today was the new 30th Anniversary Edition of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.  For those who may be wondering, this contains the original theatrical version, and not the 20th Anniversary Special Edition.  It's weird.  In interviews, Spielberg seems almost embarrassed that he made the special edition.  I guess the backlash that he digitally removed the guns and replaced them with walkie talkies really got to him.

But for those who liked the special edition, all of the new scenes that he put in are on the Blu-Ray in the "deleted scenes" section.  Sadly, one deleted scene that's still lost to the ages is the fabled Harrison Ford cameo

I also wanted to get the latest DC Comics/Warner Brothers straight-to-DVD animated film, The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1.  I'll admit, I almost gave this one a pass.  The Dark Knight Returns almost defies a film adaptation in my opinion, and some of the clips I've seen online, well, I find Peter Weller's portrayal of Batman to be a little too flat.  But the reviews online have been overwhelmingly positive, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

And that was all I'd planned to buy for DVDs today, but then, as I was browsing through HMV, I saw From the Earth to the Moon on sale for $15.  I'd always wanted to see From the Earth to the Moon, and for just $15, I couldn't say no.

For those who've never heard of it....  After the success of Apollo 13, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks felt, that while the movie was good and all, they did a great disservice by not telling the stories of the other men who landed on the Moon.  So, Howard and Hanks teamed up to make From the Earth to the Moon, a critically-acclaimed, epic in scope, 12-part mini-series that tells the tale of the entire Apollo program.  It won a slew of awards, and ever since I first heard about it in my final days of college, I really, really, really wanted to see it.

And just $15!

So I'm finally going to get to see it.

Now, as they taught me in school, when you run out of things to say, just play the next song.

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