After a rough decade full of hackwork and for-hire assignments, Tim Burton returned to the style he defined with a vengeance in 2012, releasing two surprisingly personal genre comedies. The latter release, "Frankenweenie", unfairly landed with a thud at the box-office. But this black-and-white marvel, filmed in stop-motion and released in 3-D by Disney, already has a cult fan base. And they’re more than ready to champion it as a major movie in the oeuvre of the preeminent pop-goth filmmaker.
But thankfully, while audiences may have dropped the ball on catching this one in theaters, Disney has still afforded it a packed 3-D Blu-ray release. Perhaps the most common complaint from critics was that Burton’s 88-minute feature paled in comparison to the live-action 30-minute short it originated from (which he directed himself, for Disney, in the 1980s.) Now you can judge for yourself: the short (starring Shelley Duvall!) is contained in its entirety, in HD, as an extra. Even for diehard fans of the feature, like myself, this is massive inclusion.
The rest is a bit more run-of-the-mill: a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes feature detailing the animation process (it’s mainly stop-motion, with CGI touch-ups,) a look at some sketches and concept art, and a quick short-film featuring the eponymous Sparky the dog (it’s another 8mm style monster movie, much like the one that opens "Weenie," and is a fair bit of fun.) And the 3-D is some of the best I’ve seen yet; the black-and-white visuals are perfectly suited for the "extra" dimension - the shaded glasses can’t dull the film’s color if the film doesn’t have any color!
Both of Burton’s "Frankenweenies" are invaluable for his fans - the small town satire, the knowing compliance to genre tropes, the totally sincere emotional core - it all started here (with the short,) and continues here (with the feature.) This year’s least successful animated film may have been its best.
Blu-ray 3-D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy