Frankenweenie – 4-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 7, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Frankenweenie” is an enjoyable, imaginative and creative film from Tim Burton and crew. As a family film, it’s a safe film but younger viewers may be weirded out by the unusual look of the characters, while Burton fans will appreciate the look and creativity of this film. Storywise, the film was good, just not great but fortunately, the Blu-ray release , its 3D and HD presentation along with its special features makes it a Blu-ray release worth owning. “Frankenweenie – 4-Disc Combo Pack” is recommended!
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 119 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English – Audio Description Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RATED: R (Strong Violence, Language, Some Sexuality and Drug Content)
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Directed by Tim Burton
Based on an original idea by Tim Burton
Based on a screenplay by Leonard Ripps
Screenplay by John August
Produced by Allison Abbate, Tim Burton
Co-Producer: Derek Frey
Executive Producer: Don Hahn
Associate Producer: Connie Nartonis Thompson
Line Producer: Simon Quinn
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography by Peter Song
Edited by Chris Lebenzon, Mark Solomon
Casting by Ronna Kress, Jen Rudin
Production Design by Rick Heinrichs
Art Direction by Tim Browning, Alexandra Walker
Featuring the voices of:
Catherine O’Hara as Mrs. Frankenstein, Weird Girl, Gym Teacher
Martin Short as Mr. Frankenstein, Mr. Burgemeister, Nassor
Martin Landau as Mr. Rzykruski
Winona Ryder as Elsa Van Helsing
Robert Capron as Bob
Conchata Ferrell as Bob’s Mom
Atticus Shaffer as Edgar “E” Gore
From Disney and creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes the hilarious and offbeat “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. 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 learn that getting a new ‘leash on life’ can be monstrous.
Complete with electrifying bonus features, “Frankenweenie” is alive with enchanting excitement in eye-popping Blu-ray 3D.
Back in 1984, a young Tim Burton (who would go on to direct “Edward Scissorhands”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Corpse Bride”, “Batman Returns”, “Ed Wood”) created a short film titled “Frankenweenie” which paid homage to the 1931 film “Frankenstein”.
In 2005, Tim Burton would sign with Disney to remake “Frankenweenie” and by 2009, the screenplay for a feature film was written by John August and would reunite the crew that worked with Burton for “Corpse Bride”.
By 2010, Burton would work on one of the biggest stop-motion animation films (with a budget of $39 million) which require mechanical skeletons and feature over 200 puppets. The following year, he would reunite with musician Danny Elfman (“Batman”, “The Simpsons”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Corpse Bride”) who would score the film and the film would be released in theaters in September 2012.
The film would receive positive reviews from film critics and would go on to earn $66 million in the box office worldwide. And in January 2013, the film will be released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD.
“Frankenweenie” is about a young boy named Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan). He loves science and also making films with himself and his dog Sparky. He loves to show his films to his parents Ben and Susan Frankenstein (portrayed by Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara).
One day while playing baseball, Victor hits his first homerun and Sparky who loves playing catch, goes after the ball and runs out into the street. But when Sparky goes to bring the ball back, he is hit by a car and killed.
Suffice to say, Victor is very depressed without his canine friend until he hears his science teacher Mr. Rzyruski (voiced by Martin Landau) showing how electricity is able to cause movement with dead frogs. This gives Victor an idea, what if he can bring Sparky alive? So, Victor starts to begin his reanimating science project.
Victor digs Sparky’s corpse from its grave and brings the dog into Victor’s makeshift laboratory and during a major storm, tries to get Victor hit by lightning. Expecting to see Sparky alive, Victor cries when it doesn’t happen. But after a few minutes, Sparky comes back alive and reveals Sparky, who has sutures all over him to keep the dog’s body together. Unfortunately, Sparky who is happy to be back alive, also loses his tail in the process, showing that his body is not all in one piece. But Victor tells Sparky that he can fix that problem.
As Victor goes out to leave for school, he has Sparky stay in the attic. Sparky goes to drink some water and water starts shooting out of his body and showing that though he is alive, he is not perfect. He then sees a cat and starts chasing after it and escapes from the attic.
As Sparky goes outdoors on his own, Victor’s creepy classmate Edgar sees him.
When Victor arrives back from school, he finds Sparky in bad shape and nearly out of energy and uses a battery charger to bring more electricity into Sparky. Edgar shows up to Victor’s home and begins blackmailing Victor that if he doesn’t tell him how he revived Sparky, he will tell everyone including his family. So, Victor shows Edgar how he was able to revive Sparky.
So, Victor goes to show Edgar how he did it. And so, they do a test on a fish. But instead of reviving a dead fish, they are able to make the fish invisible through electricity. Victor tells Edgar not to tell anyone, but Edgar has his finger crossed.
Immediately Edgar starts telling other kids about what he and Victor were able to do. But with the upcoming science fair coming up, other kids want to win and what happens when others discover Victor’s reanimation project and wants to start performing their own?
But what happens when the other children start turning dead animals into monsters?
“Frankenweenie” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). First, let’s take a look at the 3D version of the film. This has got to be one of the best looking films from Disney or any company to be released on Blu-ray 3D so far. It’s important to note that to play this 3D, you will need a TV that is 3D enabled and comes with its own 3D glasses (or purchase them separately in pack) and also a Blu-ray player that is 3D-enabled as well.
Created in stop-motion animation, presented in black and white, the film has wonderful contrast. The 3D version of “Frankenweenie” shows more dedication towards depth. So, you see more separation of the characters and objects with their surroundings. This is not the kind of 3D that tries to reach out to you, but more of showing how characters and surround areas have depth.
The picture quality looks amazing with black levels dark, grays and whites are gorgeous and edges are refined. There is no banding, no aliasing or artifacts, this is a gorgeous film with amazing detail and stop-motion animation, whether you are watching in 3D or not.
For the most part “Frankenweenie” is a gorgeous film on Blu-ray and its use of depth in 3D is quite impressive!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
Disney doesn’t disappoint at all with the lossless soundtrack for “Frankenweenie”. The film is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA and English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 DTS-HDHR and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language track. The film is definitely immersive when it comes to the thunder and natural ambience of the film. Especially with the dogs and cats, it’s great how the film captures those sounds of creatures to the talent show at school. Dialogue is crystal clear, surround channels showcase the ambiance of the film and LFE is utilized during different parts of the film. The 7.1 lossless soundtrack for “Frankenweenie” is fantastic and the music by Danny Elfman also sounds wonderful in HD!
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Frankenweenie” comes with the following special features:
- All New Original Short: “Captain Sparky vs The Flying Saucers”—(2:25) An all-new short featuring Victor and Sparky’s home movie.
- Miniatures In Motion: Bringing ‘Frankenweenie’ To Life”—(23:06) Viewers get an in-depth tour of the London set that includes never-before-seen footage showcasing the hundreds of artists who worked on the film. Interviews with producer Allison Abbate, executive producer Don Hahn and fillmmaker Tim Burton.
- “Frankenweenie” Touring Exhibit—(4:37) Producer Allison Abbate and Executive Producer Don Hahn along with director Tim Burton talks about how they wanted to showcase the puppets and sculptures and what best than a “Frankenweenie: Touring Exhibit” and footage of the exhibit at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.
- “Frankenweenie” Original Live Action Short—(30:02) Burton’s original live-action black and white Disney short film created back in 1984 with talent Shelly Duvall, Daniel Stern, Barret Oliver, Paul Bartel, Sofia Coppola and Jason Hervey. (note: This is the same feature that was included with “Nightmare Before Christmas”).
- Music Video — (3:55) “Pet Sematary” performed by Plain White T’s
“Frankenweenie – 4-Disc Combo Pack” comes with the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy of the feature film. Also, included is an embossed slipcover case.
When it comes to Tim Burton films, you generally expect to see a dark style to the characters.
From “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to “Corpse Bride” and now with “Frankenweenie”, the characters of “Frankenweenie” look creepy and odd. The character of young Edgar is a hunchback with a gangly face with three teeth; Weird Girl (one of Victor’s classmates who thinks she can give psychic predictions of her cat, Mr. Whiskers), has a very tall neck and round head; Nassor looks like Boris Karloff; even Sparky the dog doesn’t look so cute with its scars and stitches all over its body.
But that’s the charm of Tim Burton animated films. These films have their own style of animation and are unique for its own style that is never duplicated. Imaginative, creative and entertaining!
While for some people, stop-animation makes one thing of a film such as the “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “Frankenweenie” is a different style of stop-animation film with gigantic monsters, wonderful models of human characters, vehicles and surroundings. The amount of detail and the expressions that these characters have are wonderfully done and even the monsters are well-modeled.
And I’m sure for Tim Burton, just seeing how his original short film came to life with “Frankenweenie” must have felt great. His original short film made over 28-years-ago while he was working as an animator at Disney, was considered to macabre for a remake and Disney didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Considering that Tim Burton films have been successful and for Disney, Burton gave the company its 12th highest earning film of all time, suffice to say, it’s great to see that Disney gave the green light for this film to be made. But the idea of creating stop-motion began when Burton was a child and he would create stop motion via his Super 8.
While I felt the film was not too sentimental (as one usually expects from a Disney film), I try to remind myself that while its released by Disney, it’s a Tim Burton film and the film does a good job at stop-motion but also creating this world of weird looking characters within the confines of a Frankenstein world.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality and 3D for this Blu-ray was wonderful. Picture quality, the film shows a lot of detail and the film is sharp and well-contrast. The 3D is not the type that will grab after you but in terms of depth, I was impressed with the overall depth of the 3D presentation. Lossless soundtrack is very good thanks to Disney giving audiophiles that 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Great ambience from crowd sounds to surround ambiance sounds great coming through the surround channels and also with the amount of action featured, there is also good LFE. But dialogue and music is crystal clear! And also included are several special features that will keep viewers busy for awhile.
And with this 4-disc combo pack, you get the film in Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and via digital copy.
While I have given many positives for “Frankenweenie”, especially when it comes to presentation and sound, if I found any problem with the film, its overall execution. The plot is simplistic and the ending was also simplistic and quick. I suppose that you expect to see some major climax or even a heightened tension for Tim Burton films but the way the film ended seemed a bit too quick for my taste. But I’m sure that is subjective to the viewer.
Overall, “Frankenweenie” is an enjoyable, imaginative and creative film from Tim Burton and crew. As a family film, it’s a safe film but younger viewers may be weirded out by the unusual look of the characters, while Burton fans will appreciate the look and creativity of this film. Storywise, the film was good, just not great but fortunately, the Blu-ray release , its 3D and HD presentation along with its special features makes it a Blu-ray release worth owning.
“Frankenweenie – 4-Disc Combo Pack” is recommended!
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