Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I won’t spend a whole lotta time on Frankenweenie’s big panel today… not because I didn’t like it, but because I’m a human being and need to sleep sometime and because Disney helped me do my job by cutting out the middleman and released the old-timey style Frankenweenie trailer they showed. So, why read me describe it when you can watch it with your own precious peepers?
Remember that Vincent Price looking teacher from my Frankenweenie booth photos yesterday? Well, he was the star of the first of two clips that Tim Burton presented to the cheering fans in Hall H.
What really impressed me about this first clip, the Vincent Price-teacher dude introducing himself to the class as he takes over for their old science teacher who got hit by lightning one, is that it really sets ups a roster of interesting characters in these kids. There’s a bunch of weirdos, including the creepy cat-poop girl from the trailer, as they offer up theories on why there’s such a huge amount of electrical activity in their town.
As they pointed out on the panel there’s not the typical class of normal kids and the one weirdo. Not here. Every kid is a weirdo, whether he looks like Igor or is obsessed with the occult or whatever. Even the adults are weird, as shown by the Pricey Mr. Rzykruski, voiced by a heavily accented Martin Landau.
He describes to his classroom the science behind a lightning strike, illustrating a cloud and the ground on the chalkboard then putting in their ex-teacher in between saying that he wasn’t “hit” by lightning, he just got in the way of the electrons “going to the land of opportunity” ie the ground. “And this man is in the way!” he says as he draws zapping lightning bolts around him while screaming, making quite the impression on his class.
The second clip was the Igor-like child begging the lead, Victor, to show him how to bring animals back to life. This is after he has resurrected his dog, of course, and he doesn’t want his best buddy taken away, no matter how undead he is, and this little blackmailer has him in a tight spot.
So, they go a pet store and the Igor kid picks out the perfect goldfish… the one floating belly-up. This particularly great in 3D, by the way, with the fishtank between us and the Igor kid’s face.
Back at Victors lab, they cover the dead fish floating in a jar with a cloth, send it up through the roof like any good Frankenstein film would, it gets struck by lightning and then brought down. They look on in anticipation as the cloth is removed, revealing… an empty jar. Before their disappointment can register, a bubble rises from the water.
Victor grabs a flashlight and sees that the fish is indeed still in the jar and seemingly alive… but it’s almost invisible. Its skeleton glows in the flashlight beam as it swims around.
The score sounds fantastic, by the way. Danny Elfman sounded like he was having fun again, playing with something that sounded like a mixture of cheesy ‘50s sci-fi scores and ‘30s big orchestral monster movie scores.
Here’s some bits from the Tim Burton Q&A:
-Burton said that he made the original Frankenweenie short for Disney with the intention of putting it on a Pinocchio re-release. They saw it, said it was too dark and nixed it. Cut to the re-release and kids were screaming in the theater. “People forget those movies were scary.” He’s right, Pinocchio goes into some quite fucked up laces. Those little hooligans turning into donkeys still creeps my shit out.
-Burton also mentioned that this film is more personal than usual and that he pulled a lot of the characters from his own “horrific” school years.
-One of the first people to ask him a question was actual a group of people all dressed up as Tim Burton characters. “Happy Halloween!” he proclaimed to the Sally (from Nightmare Before Christmas) as she took the mic surrounded by a couple Mad Hatters, a Lydia Deetz and others. “You guys look great. It makes me feel like my family has come to see me!”
-One person asked how Burton got a PG on Beetlejuice with the F-word used. Good question! Burton: “You can say the F-word once… at least back then.” Still no answer as to how terrifying sandworms and suicide-social workers fit into that PG equation.
Anyway, that was pretty much the Frankenweenie panel. Flick really looks up my alley and it feels like Burton is for real invested in this one. No matter what, every bit I’ve seen from the movie has really impressed me, especially the black and white 3D cinematography.