Saturday’s panel, “Building Worlds: Inside The Walt Disney Vault,” at Disney’s D23 Expo has already been the source of some exciting and interesting upcoming films from the Mouse House, including Pixar’s Brave, John Carter, and of course, The Avengers. The last film I want to touch upon is the upcoming animation project from director Tim Burton. Back in 1984, before Burton’s first feature film (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!), he made a short family film, titled Frankenweenie, which was a parody/homage to the original Frankenstein film. Given that this was a fun, personal project stemming from the more family friendly mind of Tim Burton, he has now been given the chance to remake Frankenweenie as a full-length, stop-animated film and he has brought along plenty of Burton regulars to help out. Read on to learn more about the next Burton-style family film.
As stated, Frankenweenie is a remake of one of Burton’s earliest works. Now having the means to really flesh out this story, he has decided to recreate the film as a stop-animated feature. There are a few quirks to this method of filming, as many know, but Burton looks to be adding more. As those who are familiar with the original short film are aware, it was filmed in black & white, evoking the spirit of the original Frankenstein. For this new Frankenweenie, Burton is creating this animated feature in black & white as well. He is also shooting the film in 3D. These two factors make the film more intriguing to me, as the last notable stop-animated film to be shot in 3D was the wonderful Coraline, which looked great in that format. There is a hand-crafted quality to stop-animation, which actually makes 3D more immersive. Adding black & white to that equation is an element that should give Frankenweenie quite the unique aesthetic.
Participating in the production of the film are several Tim Burton regulars. Danny Elfman will of course provide the score for the film. Screenwriter John August (Big Fish) has adapted the original’s story into a full script. As a chance in pace, neither Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter will be a part of the cast (as of yet, anyway); however the voice talent that is involved with the film includes Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara, and Martin Short. On hand to actually present on stage were producers Don Hahn and Allison Abbate, along with a special guest. One of the Frankenweenie stop-animation models was present as well, with Abbate giving an example of how to actually pose these small models when it comes to shooting them on film.
While only a brief making-of featurette was shown at the panel, along with the stop-motion example on stage, I again found myself optimistic about this film. It mainly has to do with the fact that Tim Burton is getting back to something that stemmed from his own mind. His older films, such as Bettlejuice and Edward Scissorhands are great examples his imagination at work and revisting this old short film of his could turn into something quite enjoyable.
Disney’s Official Synopsis:
From creative genius Tim Burton comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.
Frankenweenie is due to come out October 5, 2012. Look below to watch the original short film.