IS "FRANKENWEENIE" FOR EVERYONE? @ 18 January 2013 06:36 PM
There's a tendency to see Blu-ray as a boon to color films and it is. Babes in Toyland, as reported earlier, is true eye candy. However, when it comes to black-and-white film, Blu-ray accentuates the details and makes the clarity sharp as can be.

Such is the case with the Blu-ray of Frankenweenie. As with so many Tim Burton movies, there are those who just can't get into his very specific vision and those who can't get enough of it. If the latter is you, Frankenweenie is, to quote Fawlty Towers, a "televisual feast."

My kids enjoyed it, particularly my son, but the family agreed that it was very intense viewing for young children. Please don't just plop this into the player and let the kids loose on it if they're very young and impressionable -- but you're the best judge of where your kids are in relation to movies and TV (we waited a loooong time before we showed Bambi to my son).

Frankenweenie, in Burton style, is grotesque yet touching, strange yet perceptive. If you haven't seen the 1984 live action short that inspired it (included on the Blu-ray but not the DVD), it's the Burton world of a misfit in a suburban environment of eccentrics that screams "Who's the real crazy one?" This motif is especially strong in Frankenweenie, in which the neighborhood kids are much weirder than the odd central character.

Things get pretty monstrous in the final climax, much like a vintage sci-fi matinee (only done with a great deal more time and budget). The animation is as amazing as ever. There is just nothing like stop-motion and its kinetic excitement. The massive work behind this kind of art is nicely shown in another Blu-ray only feature, "Miniatures in Motion."

DVD only viewers will also get a look at the traveling Frankenweenie exhibit that spent some time at Disney California Adventure Park. But the original short, "Captain Sparky vs the Flying Saucers" is also Blu-ray only. It's a charmer, very much a nod to Burton's Ed Wood and Plan Nine From Outer Space, as well as hundreds of amateur movies made by eager young filmmaking kids. Too bad it's so short, but then, so was a reel of 8mm film.

The voice cast is uniformly superb, including Burton's Lugosi from Ed Wood -- Martin Landau -- and SCTV alums Catherine O'Hara and Martin Short (who turns in a lovely, restrained performance).

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