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D23: Tim Burton's black and white stop motion redo of his own Frankenweenie looks awesome!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with one more D23 report before I collapse for the night. I’m exhausted after only 2 ½ hours of sleep, so pardon any blatant spelling and grammar errors (well, more blatant than usual). I wanted to get this one out before I slept because it was one of my favorite presentations of the day.



That’s right, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie redo looks absolutely wonderful. It’s a black and white stop motion film that looks absolutely in the style of Burton’s awesome short film Vincent, but with the sophistication of the incredible technology used in more recent projects like The Corpse Bride. In short, it’s total vintage horror geek porn.

Even the opening of the sizzle reel they showed began like a classic Universal monster movie trailer, with the off center, tilted words telling you about the creepy times in store, with that fake lightning effect. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about.

I quite like Burton’s original short film, Frankenweenie, but this one looks to be radically expanding on that general idea of a young boy who loses his best (and only friend) in his dog, Sparky. Not content to let mother nature get away with that shit, Victor stops the circle of life and reanimated his dead dog.

It appears like Victor isn’t the only one doing these crazy things in his small town of New Holland (described as Transylvania meets Burbank). From the looks of things other children in town get monster pets, including a Godzilla-esque turtle (I know that would be more like Gamara, but they specifically said Godzilla-like turtle) whose teeth were sharp and shell was scaled, looking like roof shingles overlaying each other, and what I believe was a werewolf-style hamster.

The townspeople ultimately revolt and want to hunt down this horrible science experiment gone right, torches and pitchforks and all.

Coming in October 2012, this flick looked great to me. Again, it seems to be cornering all the best aspects of Tim Burton’s creativity into one spot. It has some of the feel of Nightmare Before Christmas (relax, movie geeks. I know Burton didn’t direct that movie, but you can’t deny his fingerprints are all over it), some from Edward Scissorhands and a heaping ton from that great Vincent short I mentioned early in this piece.

Producer Don Hahn said the cast is a veritable “Friends of Tim Burton… without Johnny Depp.” Included is Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short. Would have loved to have seen Daniel Stern return to voice the father, but maybe he’s off plotting the next Wet Bandit job.

Then the big bombshell of the day hit. They announced the surprise composer of Tim Burton’s new movie. You’ll never guess who it is… DANNY ELFMAN! I know! Shocking, right?!? Well, this material not only brings out the best in Burton, but also the best in Elfman, so I’m greatly looking forward to hearing the fruits of their collaboration here.

Before taking off, they brought out the star of the movie… a 4 inch tall stop motion model of Sparky, the dog. Apparently on a great day an animator gets 2 seconds of footage completed. That’s how intricate this storytelling art form is.

Healthy budget black and white stop motion animation is quite breathtaking and I have a feeling this one’s going to turn out great. No kidding, this was one of the biggest surprises of the big presentation today. Very cool!

-Eric Vespe
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