The latest masterpiece by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie, is an animated film produced by Disney with the most eccentric filmmaker in Hollywood.
The plot is simple, but personal: the friendship between the young protagonist Victor and his dog Sparky does not end with the death of the latter, because he will arm all his ingeniousness to bring it back to life.
The family-friendly Disney release is based on Burton's short film and finds the critically acclaimed filmmaker bringing his tale of a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life to the screen. The original idea, in fact, was already contained into the homonymous 1984 short film : It is a project that always meant something to me (...) Even though its revisiting something that I did a long time ago, it feels new and special.
Nearly thirty years later, Burton's followers can see the revival of the original, always in black and white, but according to the best suited technique to the director, the stop motion, which made The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride eternal delights.But, the opportunity to do it stop-motion in black and white, and expand on it with other kids and other monsters and other characters, it just seemed like the right medium for the project.
Burton's bigness manages to be innovative without forgetting the tradition of his personal style that combines Gothic and feeling in everyday surreality.
Le gothique de Tim Burton est comme une archéologie de ses propres savoirs et de l'ensemble de son existence. Ainsi s'opère par le film l'éclatement des limites où sa poésie risquait d'être enfermée et prise dans la seule illustration d'un genre en vogue, c'est-à-dire pétrifiée.
Life and death coexist in all his films, but it is Frankenweenie that the director realizes the most successful fusion. Victor take the role of the artist-deus ex machina of the creation and, playing the well-known Dr. Frankenstein, he will give life to his creature by a gesture of affection.
When youre young, its the first pure relationship that you have. If youre lucky enough to have a pet that you love, it connects right to your heart. I was lucky enough to have a special pet that I had that kind of relationship with. The whole Frankenstein element is wish fulfilment, in that way. I always found movies like Frankenstein quite emotional, so it seemed like a fairly natural connection to combine the two.
Victor-new Frankenstein's attic is a laboratory, made by machines, devices, inventions, solutions and tubes for experiments, almost an alchemist's reign. The creative and productive space clearly brings to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but especially to the castle of Edward Scissorhands.
The shape's idea is at the base of the short revision: in the transposition, in fact, even the neighbourhood kids want to create their own dead animals trough the same technique used by the protagonist. The difference lies in the affective component at the base of the creative act: how the science teacher explains to Victor, his experiment has been successful because he loved that creature. The city, after children experiments, is instead invaded by monsters born by the whim of the boys.
The creation by hand is a feature that reflects the stop motion technique. Its a technique that still basically is an animator moving a puppet at 24 fps. Thats why we all love it. As much as you can do anything with technology, there is just something about going back to the simplicity of that and the excitement of seeing somebody move it, and then you see it come to life. Its just very magical. Its a form that we keep coming back to because of that reason.
Burton conceives the scene realizing it personally: the director is famous for the use of stop motion as puppet animation or using puppets to move and capture in sequences that are then assembled to make the film.
The stop motion , or step one , is the construction of the film: it is also a technique called frame by frame, an expression that betrays the fragmentation of the images mosaic, but also the attention to detail, framing and fragment. Film offered new possibility of fantasy and illusion, abrupt changes in time, sequence, and event , and illogical juxtapositions.
It's coming back to tradition, the real essence of cinema: What we love about it is that the technology may have improved , but it's still the same . It goes back to the beginning of cinema.
The passion for the object denotes the tangible needs of Burton to create something that is the real transposition of a child's dream: the game.
Any stop-motion film is intricate. We have a slightly smaller crew on this than we usually do. We wanted to show the stop-motion. When we did Corpse Bride, the puppets were so good that a lot of people thought it was computer animation. So, we just went back and did it a little bit low-tech so that you really feel the stop-motion animation. When you see the details and everything, its beautiful. Its its own art form. And it was a real pleasure to do this in black and white. That was part of the reason of wanting to do it. The black and white draws out textures more. It makes it feel a bit more emotional, and it makes you feel like youre there. It does a strange thing thats hard to put into words, but it definitely affects the way you watch it.
Victor is himself a short films director, whose star is Sparky: the guy takes the scenes that builds from scratch miniature theatres preparing for the environments.
Sparky becomes the monster - player- actor of the scenario running in the small world designed by his master.
The films are screened at home by the boy, it's a movie theatre for the whole family, and it is his family to serve as public wearing special 3D glasses, just like the spectators who follow the true cinematic vision. A fiction in fiction makes the story alienating and misleading, but surprisingly tangible.
The idea of seeing black and white in 3D was something I really was interested in. Theres a lot of talk about 3D being too dark and too muddy. This was an opportunity to do it with black and white, and try to keep it crisp and keep the shadows dark. When I watch it, I love it because you see things in a different way. The idea of stop-motion, black and white 3D seemed like a really good, exciting combination for us.
Sparky is the monstrous creature in short. Similarly, in the film, it's is exhumed and sewn in the tradition of Frankenstein stories. Those stitches are weaving of Burton's art, that assembles puppets, fragments, shots. The assembly, which is the basis of the film, is the collage of different elements, the assemblage of the artist feelings, transposition of the great dream. Thus, the project of Burton, an idea of the eighties, is brought to life through technology and the experience of the director shaping that same idea in a mix of devices that represent the artistic creation itself by placing the object on the same plane and the frame in a mature conception of art that does not leak, however, that soul inspired childhood that characterizes it.
Cinema is fascinated by itself as a lost object as much as it (and we) are fascinated by the real as a lost referent
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