Director: Tim Burton
Nominated: Best Animated Feature Film
I am a self-confessed Tim Burton disciple and love everything he’s done, well with the exception of the disappointingly unfunny Dark Shadows (2012) I’ve loved Frankenweenie since I watched the live action short (1984) many moons ago so I’m actually pretty excited to see the story extended into a feature-length animated film. Frankenweenie is the second stop-motion animated film to be nominated in the Best Animated Feature Film category at this years Oscars. And it’s one of the best vehicles for showcasing Burton’s unique visual style.
I love the stop-motion film within the stop-motion film! The music is beautiful and of course provided by Burton’s long time collaborator Danny Elfman. Frankenweenie has many resemblances to Burton’s past work – most noticeably Edward Scissorhands (1990) in terms of the landscape of suburbia and Victor’s resemblance to Edward as he should have been when he was completed. You can see Burton’s love of B movie monsters in the schoolkids, particularly the ones who look like Frankenstein’s monster and Igor; the poodle who looks like the Bride of Frankenstein and the footage of Christopher Lee’s Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958).
Frankenweenie is a bizarre film with lots of strange elements but it is so quintessentially Burton. I know a lot of people who didn’t like or get Frankenweenie but they weren’t fans of Burton’s work. I on the other hand as I have already mentioned am a die-hard Burton fan and absolutely loved it! It’s pure Burton in every sense – slightly insane story with a heart of gold at its center, exquisite music and breathtaking visual style. It’s so much more atmospheric in black and white too really allowing sharp contrasts in the characters especially the iconic shadowed eyes that he’s known for.
The new science teacher, voiced by Martin Landau is delightfully creepy. He resembles a number of B movie greats like Vincent Price (who was much admired by Burton), as well as Bela Lugosi and Landau himself. Sparky is adorable – Burton has perfectly captured both the movement and characteristics of a playful and loyal dog.
At the minute having seen four of the five Best Animated Feature nominees it’s totally between Brave (Mark Andrews) and Frankenweenie for me personally. And it’s really close between them as well although I have to say I think Brave may be just edging ahead.