Thursday, 20 December 2012

Frankenweenie (2D)

Tim Burton's latest film Frankenweenie (released in the same year as Dark Shadows) is his third stop-motion animation. (He previously produced The Nightmare Before Christmas and co-directed Corpse Bride.) It was filmed in black-and-white, like the classic Universal horror films of the 1930s, many of which it pays tribute to: not only Frankenstein (townsfolk with flaming torches) but also Bride Of Frankenstein (a dog with a streak of white fur) and The Mummy (a boy wrapped in bandages).

The central character, Victor Frankenstein, shares his name with Mary Shelley's original protagonist, and looks like Victor from Corpse Bride. He makes 8mm home-movies, like the kids in Super 8, and Burton is surely indulging in some personal nostalgia. Winona Ryder (from Edward Scissorhands, which shares Frankenweenie's retro-suburban setting) and Martin Landau (from Ed Wood, another black-and-white horror homage) are among the voice cast.

The atmosphere is decidedly Gothic, complete with a graveyard and flashes of lightning. Victor and his classmates reanimate various dead pets, creating macabre creatures that terrorise the town: one rampages like Godzilla, and others resembling Gremlins emerge from the water like the Creature From The Black Lagoon. The climax is surprisingly intense for a Disney cartoon: a windmill is burned down (as in Sleepy Hollow), a giant tortoise is electrocuted, and a squealing mutant bat is impaled on a stake.

Frankenweenie was filmed in 3D, though I saw the 2D version; it was also released in IMAX DMX 3D. It's a feature-length adaptation of Burton's own short film of the same name.

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