I know I’m a bit late with this but I finally sat down to watch the Frankenweenie trailer today.
The first thing that struck me is that, despite Frankenweenie being a Tim Burton movie, Johnny Depp is nowhere to be seen (fear not, however, for the gruesome twosome are back together in vampire movie Dark Shadows, which is out in May). Still, to make up for it, Burton gifts us an even bigger surprise: Winona Ryder. Yup, Miss Lydia Deetz herself. Ryder, who voices the character of Elsa van Helsing in the film, has not worked with Burton for 21 years (since Edward Scissorhands) so if nothing else, I’m really looking forward to this reunion.
Anyway, being a Tim Burton movie, Frankenweenie is all kinds of dark (literally – it’s in black and white) especially as it’s a homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein*, although in this version it’s a little boy who brings back his dog, Sparky, from the dead. The film is actually a remake of a 1984 short that Burton made whilst he was working for Disney (and which, apparently, led to him getting fired for wasting resources on a film that was too scary for children). The original can still be seen as an extra on the Nightmare Before Christmas Blu Ray and, FYI, features the vocal talents of Sophia Coppola!
The trailer seems to suggest the movie is a hybrid of Corpse Bride (one character back from the dead; another named Victor), Nightmare Before Christmas (stitched skin; pet cemetery, above) and Bolt (losing pet dog; dog appearing in a film? Not sure what the bit with Sparky in costume is about at 1:47 of the trailer). Whether or not the Frankenweenie does turn out to resemble any of those other films (or is simply an extended metaphor for Burton’s attempts to ressurect Winona Ryder’s career) it looks like it will be worth the wait.
There are also some fabulous references to the Universal monsters of the 1930s, such as the Bride of Frankenstein hairdo (above) and the Igor-like character**, below, who in the trailer says “Your dog eez aliiiiive!” Oh, and none other than Christopher Lee himself makes an appearance as…’Movie Dracula’ (a character which also leads me to believe there might be a Bolt-like twist to this film).
Whilst Burton’s live action films can sometimes be hit and miss (very occasionally, to be fair) his reputation with stop motion is stellar (Coraline, Nightmare Before Christmas and, my personal favourite, Corpse Bride). In fact, the main objection I have to the Frankenweenie trailer is that it opens with the line ‘From the director of Alice in Wonderland‘ – ‘From the director of Nightmare Before Christmas‘ would have made a lot more sense! On the plus side, the trailer ends with the cute and comedic tagline ‘The End…Or is It?’. For now, of course, this is just the beginning and we have seven more months of teasers to look forward to before this film hits cinemas.
Check out the trailer for yourself below and let me know what you think!
Frankenweenie is out on 5th October 2012 (when else?)***. For more Burton bits (and if you’re struggling with the significance of Tim Burton doing things in October) click here.
*For those who have not read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is the name of the scientist not the monster! The monster has no name!
**Igor is not in the book. He first appeared in a 1930s Frankenstein movie.
***Originally Frankenweenie was scheduled for release this month but was replaced with John Carter.