In 1984, a young Disney animator named Tim Burton made the leap to live-action short films with a little story he developed about a young boy named Victor Frankenstein (a bit on the nose, perhaps?) whose dog is killed in a tragic car accident, but who reanimates the corpse of his beloved pet and causes chaos in the neighborhood. This black-and-white film was called Frankenweenie and starred Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall as Victor’s parents. Disney executives were puzzled by the film and the eccentric filmmaker was ejected from the Disney company until a film he produced and wrote the story for became huge overseas, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton retained his position as producer on another Disney production, the live-action/stop-motion fantasy James and the Giant Peach and afterwards, left the Disney Company for good. Until 2010, when Burton returned to give his spin on a classic Disney story – Alice in Wonderland – which ended up bringing the studio $1 billion in revenue. Apparently, one of the costs the Disney studio had to guarantee for Burton in exchange for directing Alice in Wonderland was to allow him to go back and remake Frankenweenie in black-and-white stop-motion. Disney green-lit the project and let Don Hahn, head of the Walt Disney Feature Animation group, oversee the project personally. The film features a veritable reunion of previously Burton-used actors (notably missing Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, their first film apart in 7 years).
Here's the poster:
The film's plot synopsis reads:
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, featuring the voices of Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Conchata Farrell, and Tom Kenny, will be released in Disney Digital 3D, Real D 3D, and IMAX 3D on October 5th. Can Tim Burton bring new life to one of his old creations?
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