Many cinephiles would agree: Tim Burton’s been stuck in a rut of late (some might argue, for the past 5-10 years). The filmmaker’s Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion worldwide two years ago, but not so many people seem to regard it fondly nowadays. Last month’s Dark Shadows was likewise given a lukewarm-to-cold critical reception; this time, however, the box office returns better reflected the weak word-of-mouth.
This fall’s Frankenweenie will see Burton revisit familiar territory – that is, use stop-motion techniques to bring an expanded version of his 1984 short movie to life (no pun). The first Frankenweenie trailer suggested the flick will be as technically-sophisticated and Gothically stylish as anything Burton’s created to date; however, it didn’t really offer much insight on how the director will flesh out his original story (to befit a full-length feature).
Today, we have a second trailer for Frankenweenie which dives deeper into the plot of the film. The idea seems to be that the story kicks off with young Victor (voice of Charlie Tahan) using Frankenstein-style sci-fi technology to resurrect his beloved dog, Sparky. However, from thereon out, the film riffs on a variety of black-and-white monster movie tropes (think of it as Burton’s love letter to the sub-genre) – as Victor’s peers use his techniques to not only bring their own deceased pets back to life, but create other “monsters” such as a Godzilla-like creature.
It probably goes without saying: Burton’s not exactly stretching his filmmaking muscles here. Case in point: the character and world design of Frankenweenie is very recognizably “Burton-esque”; the voice cast is composed of people (Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder) who’ve worked with Burton several times over – and the movie re-teams Burton with his go-to composer, Danny Elfman, and frequent screenwriter, John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride).
That said: Frankenweenie does look like an enjoyable bit of Burton madness – and it would be nice to see him release a film that offers more than just dark candy for the eyes (with a muddled story for the brain). On the other hand: if Frankenweenie fails to impress the masses, that could encourage Burton to mix things up a bit and try working with some different people on future projects (as suggested on the Dark Shadows episode of the SR Underground Podcast). We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Frankenweenie opens in U.S. theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) on October 5th, 2012.
Source: iTunes Movie Trailers