Monday, October 21, 2013

Making Christmas - Day 20

Last night, I watched Frankenweenie and Nightmare Before Christmas. It probably goes without saying that I love Tim Burton. Neither of these movies will disappoint. Both of them carry the same moral of it being good to try new things and not giving up. Victor and Jack Skellington are both extremely determined individuals.

Title: Frankenweenie
Year: 2012
Synopsis: Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

Tagline: The electrifying dog is back from the grave. 

Anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet will appreciate this film. The very core of it is a love story, between a boy and his dog. Perhaps that's why I love it so much. 

In 1984 Tim Burton did a short film of the same name for Disney and, as I recall reading, it was close to his heart. Not only did it pay homage to the monster movies he loved but it was filmed in Burbank California where he grew up. While people initially thought Frankenweenie was too dark, it eventually grew to such popularity that it sparked an idea for the director/writer to go back and make it bigger, and better. 

There are a lot of people who didn't like this extended edition of Frankenweenie, which surprises me, but all I can gather is that they just didn't 'get' it. What's there to get? you might ask. Well, the references for one, which are rife throughout this movie. From Shelley the turtle being revived being a tip of the hat to Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, and Elsa Van Helsing's name being a not-so-subtle nod to Abraham Van Helsing, Bram Stoker's Dracula character and Elsa Lanchester, a character from the original Bride of Frankenstein.

Maybe to truly appreciate this film you need to have horror chops, to actually enjoy the genre, so you see the Vincent Price-ness in teach Mr. Rzykrusk, and understand the influence he must have had over Burton. Even the the whole opening scene with Sparky tramping all over a town as a gigantic monster-dog is such an obvious parallel to Godzilla.  And who else noticed the movie Victor's parents were watching? That's right, it was Horror of Dracula starring Christopher Lee! 

Okay, how about I turn my nerd off? 

I think people are also turned off by black and white. Don't ask me why, but I've heard it said by more than one person that they won't watch movies not in colour. It must come down to narrow-mindedness. Also, people tend to assume this is just a kids' movie because it is stop-motion animation. It isn't. Then there are the sheltering Sallys who cover their kids' eyes at 'scary parts'. They come away angry, thinking it is too morbid of an idea for children. Ladies and gentleman, this may come as a shock but your kids are more resilient than you think. While people will talk about how dark this film is, I see life in it. Besides, can you name a Disney movie that doesn't deal with death? Just because Victor brings Sparky back to life the PC brigade blew a gasket. 

Dear parents, get over it. 

You see way worse on day time television these days. 

When I was a little girl, my best friend was a Great Dane named Patches. He had the biggest head and the floppiest ears. I loved him with my whole heart. And he died. If I could have, I would have brought him back. Maybe that's why I love this movie so much. Not to mention, I kind of see Oliver in Frankenweenie. 

Tears were shed when I watched this. Not necessarily by me. 

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