Genre(s): Animation, Comedy
Disney | PG – 87 min. – $49.99 | January 8, 2013
Directed by: Tim Burton
Writer(s): John August (screenplay)
Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder
Theatrical Release Date: October 5, 2012
Features: Featurettes, Short Film, Music Video, Digital Copy, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 4
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (DTS-HD HR 7.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 37.7 GB (2D), 36.1 GB (3D)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Overview: The story centers on a young boy named Victor Frankenstien (CHARLIE TAHAN) who is the weird kid in class (in a Tim Burton movie? Go figure!) who loves science and especially loves his pet dog, Sparky. One day, while playing baseball – at the behest of his father (MARTIN SHORT) – Sparky ran after a ball Victor had hit and while running back, gets struck by a car and dies. Heartbroken, Victor uses all his knowledge of science in an attempt to bring Sparky back to life. After a couple of apparently unsuccessful attempts, utilizing a raging storm with lightning, Sparky does come back to life. Hilarity ensues when others, including humpback Edgar “E” Gore, gets wind of what Victor had done and want their dearly departed pets to come back to life as well.
Quick Hit Review: As I said in my review for ParaNorman, I respect the art of stop-motion animation just seeing the vigorous and time-consuming work needed just for one puppet, and it doesn’t stop there needing different facial expressions plus the patience doing one movement at a time to get a shot done.
That being said, Frankweenie, while classic Tim Burton, is just that… classic Tim Burton. The story, expanded out from Burton’s own live action version he shot in 1984, seemed to stretch out far too much even with a relatively short running time. This isn’t to say this is a bad movie, far from it, but it does leave much to be desired when the story isn’t all that interesting by the time the third act comes around.
The voice talents at least are nice with Martin Short playing up a “normal” father role, Catherine O’Hara as the loving and caring mother, Martin Landau is excellent as the “out there” science teacher and the young Charlie Tahan does a wonderful job in the main role. I can’t say any of them provide incredible voice performances (none of them compare to, say, the Toy Story gang), but they at least provide some nice emotion.
As a whole, Frankweenie has its moments although I was far more impressed with the stop-motion aspects (even when the mouth movements were odd), and those who might be fans of James and the Giant Peach, ParaNorman or The Nightmare Before Christmas, might find it’s worth buying, but for me, this is a one-time viewing only.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover. The 4-discs (3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy), are housed in a standard Blu-ray case with two discs stacked on one another on each side. Inside is the Digital Copy disc and retail DVD Copy with 2 features.
Original Short: Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers (2:26; HD) – This is a short film made for this release and features the same kind of animation but simpler story that kids might enjoy.
Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life (23:06; HD) is a relatively extensive featurette on how the stop-motion animation was done, this in London. Tim Burton and others on the crew discuss the origins of the story and delves into the movie itself. As I mentioned in this review and in ParaNorman, it’s quite something to see the actual process of stop motion.
Frankenweenie Touring Exhibit (4:36; HD) – This looks at the variety of puppets and artwork touring around the country including ComicCon. It’s really nothing fascinating and you get more out of the “Miniatures in Motion” featurette.
Original Live-Action Frankenweenie Short (30:03; HD) is Tim Burton’s original short film he had directed back in the 1980s.
Music Video (3:54; HD) – The video for the Plain White T’s “Pet Sematary” is included here.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Disney releases Frankweenie on Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a sparkly 1080p high-definition transfer. Even though the movie is in black and white, that doesn’t mean it’s muted but instead it’s impressive to see the various grays to provide the shadows and depth to the picture. The video also sports a very nice detail levels and showed no signs of over-artifacting, an abundant amount of grain or even banding which generally rears its ugly head in animated movies.
The 3D portion also looks incredible with excellent depth perception throughout, no signs of ghosting and an all around good-looking 3D transfer which is absolutely reference material to show off to friends and family members.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provided by Disney is fantastic showcasing all aspects from the quieter dialogue moments which come through the center channel to the more action-oriented scenes allowing for the surrounds to come to life with robustness. The depth on this lossless track is amazing giving you that theater experience right at home.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Frankweenie didn’t do much for me both on an emotional level or general entertainment. The voice talents are fine but the story was too stretched out and got a bit tedious towards the end. That being said, if you’re a fan of Burton’s previous works or love stop-motion, there are worse ways to spend 90-minutes and a rental fee. The Blu-ray combo set offers up gorgeous video and audio transfers but the features are much to be desired.