The trailer for Tim Burton‘s new film Frankenweenie dropped yesterday, and if the premise looks familiar to you, it’s because it’s not new. The upcoming film is a stop-motion animation remake of Burton’s 1984 short film by the same name, and given his recent output I’m almost certain he’s going to butcher it (no pun intended).
Starring Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern, the original film got Burton fired from Disney for wasting resources and making a film that was “too scary” for children. (Can you imagine someone saying that about one of his films now?) Frankenweenie never aired in US movie theaters but was released on VHS following the success of Burton’s Beetlejuice, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and Batman. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Burton was finally going to give this horror-comedy the treatment it deserved, but that would reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of where Burton’s at right now. He’s remaking Frankenweenie in his new cloying style (think Corpse Bride) because he’s out of ideas and he knows it.
I’ll say it again: Tim Burton has not made a great film since Ed Wood (1994). And yet, there he is, still attempting to recapture the magic when we’d all like him better as a memory. By remaking Frankenweenie, he’s finally admitting to himself and the world that he just doesn’t have the spark he used to. Maybe next he’ll retire to a very nice cave somewhere to sing and dance with creepy insects for the rest of his days.
Of course, there’s always the alternate, more depressing theory that Burton has dumbed down his films on purpose in order to make more money. If that’s the case: come back, old Tim Burton! You have enough money now, you greedy bastard.
Check out the trailer for Frankenweenie below: