As odd as Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie looks, it clearly has the makings of a hit. Yes, it’s in black and white, which many would consider outdated by today’s standards.
Yes, it’s also done in stop motion animation, which has been long outdated, but thankfully it’s now retro-cool and coming back.
Maybe Burton’s going back to his childhood with ‘Weenie, because as he explained to Moviefone, many kids of his generation made little movies on 8mm cameras, where you could do stop motion shooting one frame at a time. Burton also loved the classic Universal monster films growing up.
“That’s also why I like black and white,” Burton said. “There is something very inviting and exciting and strange and beautiful about black and white, which is the reason I wanted to do it that way.” It’s difficult to get a black and white movie made modern day, and Burton famously took Ed Wood over to Disney when Sony wouldn’t let him make it without color.
Burton recalled when he first saw the Karloff Frankenstein, “I remember it sort of speaking to me, [like] when you see certain movies, and they’re obviously fantasy, but it feels real to you in terms of how that character feels.” For Burton’s work, hell is often suburbia, and the angry villagers in Frankenstein reminded him of his neighbors.
Burton also understood the obsession of Dr. Frankenstein, and you can see the monster in Edward Scissorhands, someone who looks frightening, but who’s really a gentle soul deep down.
The medium of stop motion also fit for the story Burton wanted to tell with ‘Weenie, because as he explains to Moviefone, “The Frankenstein stories are about bringing the inanimate object to life, and that is actually what stop-motion is. There is a sort of emotional connection to the process that made it make sense for this.”
Many critics have been saying Frankenweenie is a heartfelt return to the Burton of old we haven’t seen in a while on the big screen. The L.A. Times even floated the idea that Frankenweenie could be eligible for an Oscar. If the buzz on the film is true, it sounds like Frankenweenie could indeed be a wonderfully kooky return to Burton’s roots that could also be surprisingly moving as well.