“When you lose someone you love they never really leave you, they just move into a special place in your heart.” Mrs Frankenstein (Catherine O’Hara)
Your resident Burtonite, sometimes referred to as ‘that weird Burton girl,’ here to talk to you about the release of Frankenweenie and all things Tim Burton.
In 1984 Tim Burton created the original Frankenweenie, a short live action black and white film made at his days at Disney. The film plays homage to the story of Frankenstein and the idea as many of Burton’s came from his own original drawings. Frankenweenie has been labour of love ever since he created the short back in 1984 and finally in 2012 he has finished his pet project and worked with Disney once again to continue his unique Vision of Frankenweenie and show a new generation the story of Victor and Sparky.
Not only is Frankenweenie a re-telling of a classic story, it is also one of unconditional love between an owner and pet. A love that only Victor, Sparky and on some level the audience feel. This is a film we can all relate to as most of us have experienced the loss of a pet at some point in our lives and for many of us it may be the first loss of a loved one that we have the sadness to experience.
A truly personal film to Burton and now a feature length film, with the use of stop motion animation and a true favourite of mine. By using this technique Burton has really brought his vision to life and in true Burton fashion, he has created something quite unique and special. Frankenweenie (2012) is playing not only a homage to B movies with subtle references to; The Mummy, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and Godzilla to name a few (dare I say it), Burton’s own childhood and upbringing?
The story focuses on Victor, a clever, quiet and slightly awkward child with a real love for science. He doesn’t have many friends and spends a lot of time making home movies in his home town, New Holland, with his best friend Sparky, who just so happens to be a dog. When tragedy strikes the Frankenstein’s Victor is inconsolable at the loss of his best friend. It’s only when a school teacher shows them an experiment on a frog using electricity that Victor has a brilliant plan of his own involving Sparky. After seeing the experiment in class Victor figures out the correct formula, using the nightly lightning storms that have become a regular occurrence in New Holland, to bring Sparky back from the dead. Victor is torn, can he really have his best friend Sparky back from the dead or will someone discover his dark secret?
The news of his secret spreads and disastrous consequences occur as one by one his classmates try to create their own clever creations to rival Victor in the hope of winning the science fair. However, what they don’t realise is Sparky was not created as an experiment for a fair he was created by Victor out of love. He must now set out to save the town of New Holland with Sparky in tow as the town descends into chaos. The representation of New Holland as suburbia with its cookie cutter houses and white picket fences does not go unnoticed as a nod to Edward Scissorhands, another uniquely personal film for Burton.
The 2012 version of Frankenweenie differs slightly from Burton’s original live action film, but the main aspects of the story are sill a perfect representation/continuation of the 1984 film down to the smallest details. Arguably Burton’s best film for years and the stop motion animation is perfect alongside the use of black and white, giving the film a beautifully haunting quality. The use of 3D is not overused, as so often happens in Hollywood these days, but simply adds to the film. With the use of these techniques Burton has really created something special for both adults and children to enjoy and cherish. The musical score from Danny Elfman is a perfect addition to Burton’s vision and tied together it really is a beautifully crafted quirky story of love, loss, life and friendship.
The end or is it?