Tim Burton’s latest animated feature Frankenweenie represents an extraordinary career that has come full circle. Indeed, Burton originally made the film as short when he was working at Disney in the 1980s, but the studio considered it too dark to be made into a full-length feature. (See some images below!)
Of course, so much has changed since then. For instance, the director’s last film for the same studio, Alice In Wonderland, grossed over $1 billion at the box office.
Now, Frankenweenie has been resurrected as a stop-motion animated film in 3D, while retaining the same black and white, gothic style.
The idea for the film actually came about through Burton’s drawings as a young man and the director insists the 2012 version still represents those early illustrations.
He said: “The movie goes back to the original drawings. I was happy and loved doing the live-action film, which was great because it shaped my career in some ways. But the idea of going back to the drawings was some important to me. Also, it allowed me to explore it in stop-motion and black-and-white, which captured of the feeling of it.”
The story is an unconventional take on the relationship between a boy and his dog. When the dog is killed tragically, the boy tries to bring him back to life in the style of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Unsurprisingly, Frankenweenie has an array of voice talent, many Burton regulars. The excellent Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara provide the laughs and are also joined by some Burton veterans, including; Martin Landau, Christopher Lee and Winona Ryder. The latter last worked with Burton 22-years-ago on the classic Edward Scissorhands.
The movie has shot using stop-motion which Burton last used in Corpse Bride. And, he insists that despite the prevalence of computer generated imagery, there is still something quite special about using live-action puppets.
He said: “It’s an art form that I love and it’s such a special one. It’s such a beautiful, old-fashioned medium. No matter how much technology changes, that form stays the same. It goes back to the beginning of film.
“You walk in some places and see computers. You walk in to this and see a set and characters. Just to be able to touch and feel the puppets and move them – there’s something magical about it.”