By Megan Bianco
Twenty-eight years ago an aspiring filmmaker named Tim Burton made a black and white short film for Disney called Frankenweenie, featuring character actors Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern, and a dog their on-screen son brings back from the dead. Now in October 2012, five months after the TV adaptation Dark Shadows, Burton brings his own creation to life again as his first ever black and white stop-motion motion picture.
In a tiny town called New Holland, an unpopular boy named Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) spends his days making home movies and playing with his dog and best friend Sparky. One day Sparky gets run over by a car and sadly passes away. Depressed and lonely, Victor suddenly becomes inspired by science class to bring the dog back to life with the use of electricity (or lightning). Slowly his classmates discover his secret and want their own deceased pets back too.
This new full-length Frankenweenie also reunites old Burton collaborators Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short as Victor’s parents, Martin Landau as his favorite teacher and Winona Ryder as girl next door Elsa van Helsing. To those who are familiar with the original short, the new version remains largely faithful to the source and includes some new characters and subplot. Not since Big Fish (2003) has Burton created such a fully delightful and charming film, as well as a
throwback to his origins.