The Movie: 8/10
A boy brings his dead dog back to life by sewing his damaged body back together and zapping it with electricity, ick. That might be the most basic analysis of the story, but of course I have left out a few details.
We all know the story of reanimating the dead. Frankenstein is a tale that has been around since far before any of us were born, that was 1818. Since then there have been so many interpretations it’s become part of the human race’s collective mythology, macabre entertainment history. The thing is, that does not lessen the fun and excitement of a new telling of the story.
Tim Burton, love him or hate him, has a view of the world and life and everything in between that has a very specific style. He takes Dr. Victor Frankenstein from being a middle aging mad scientist who lives in a scary dark castle on a spooky hill to being a friendless boy who spends time alone, loves his dog, and makes wonderful movies full of life and imagination. The thing they have in common, they are inspired to bring something that was dead, back to life.
Burton puts Victor in another version of his bizarre suburbia with a community of odd close minded characters. The only inspiration in Victor’s life is his science teacher who encourages his students to explore and learn new things. The parents in the town do not appreciate this, so Victor is about to lose yet another part of his life that encourages him to be himself. Victor needs Sparky, his dog, in his life above all other things.
When Sparky is hit by a car Victor finds the original Dr. Frankenstein’s text from so long ago and throws in some love to make a new life for Sparky. Things get complicated as the other kids find out, the town finds out, and eventually things become a lovely little horror flick inside this adventure. It’s not true horror, but Burton knows how to turn on the cutsy horror with flair.
It is a pleasure from start to finish, fun, funny, sad, sweet, and then a little creepy. The voices are all excellent. The stop frame animation is mesmerizing as always. Truly a joy to watch. I want to watch it again just to look more closely at the sets and every inch of the screen.
Have some fun, watch Frankenweenie with a smile but maybe not with very young children until you figure out of some of that horror might freak them out.
- Original Short: Captain Sparky Vs The Flying Saucers – If you liked the opening sequence of the movie (think be kind rewind) this short continues that theme. The only downside is it’s only 2 minutes long.
- Miniatures In Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie To Life – What a great little behind the scenes documentary. What I like best about this is how it actually celebrates the craft of stop motion animation. It also has a nice little style that involves making the real world look kinda small.
- Original Live Action Frankenweenie Short – The best extra on the disc!!!! the full live action version of Frankenweenie presented in 1080P High Definition.
- Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit – If you went to comic-con last year you may have caught the Frankenweenie exhibit. If not here is your chance to see it in all it’s glory.
- Plain White T’s Pet Sematary Music Video
- Blu-Ray 3D, 2D, DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
Just when I am convinced there won’t be a cover presented to me (because I’m special) that tickles my fancy, along comes Frankenweenie. This cover is sweet, even before I saw the movie. I’m not a dog fan, or cats, or animals for that matter. However, show me a stitched, caricature, creative version of a dog and I’m hooked. The black and white makes it even more appealing. I would most definitely have this as a poster in my house.
As for the menu, it’s almost as charming. They use a looped bit from the movie, just as sweet as the cover, and the navigation menu is designed with the theme of the movie in mind. There are stitches, electrical shocky things, and it works nicely to get you where you want to go.
It’s been a long time since I was thrilled with the overall package of a movie we have reviewed, so this was a very good start to the experience of Frankenweenie…Frankenweenie, geesh, what a name.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Frankenweenie is presented in this Blu-Ray set in 2D and the 3D version on two separate discs. The 3D version is impeccable and is a showcase for what this format can achieve in the home environment. The 2D version is equally amazing, Frankenweenie is presented in monochrome and while you might think that would make it dull to look at nothing is further from the truth. Blacks are very black and grey gradiants which are often tricky for home video are handled with ease thanks to the extra bit rate that Blu-ray affords. If you thought A Nightmare Before Christmas looked great in HD wait until you see Frankenweenie.
Frankenweenie’s DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 track is a stunner. The voices of all the characters might seem a little detached but that is by design and not an issue. LFE is present when it needs to be (check out the storm sequence) but usually reserved for set piece moments. The movie has a ton of panning sound effects, you will certainly notice them if you have a surround system.
Overall Frankenweenie is a perfect Blu-ray release as far as presentation goes, Disney have the art of transfer down pat by this stage, now bring on Wreck It Ralph!!!!!
I did thoroughly enjoy this movie, the thing is, the 4 disc set isn’t really in my price range. I suggest renting it online for a small fee, test it out, and if you fall in full consumable love with it, pay the full price. It will set you behind about 30 bucks, so be prepared to save up for this chunk of entertainment.
Overall Score 8/10