The best thing to come from ‘Alice in Wonderland’s’ (2010) commercial success.
Tim Burton used to be one of my favorites, if not my favorite, direct. He had such a unique style, which is still present in some of his films. With his best films though, he’s able to apply that style but still keep it feeling fresh and new, like with Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street.
Unfortunately, after Sweet Todd, Burton really went off the rails. His signature and once celebrated style became a parody of itself. Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows were big disappointments. Big Eyes was a valiant effort to get more subtle but was still meh overall. Most recently, Burton directed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which starts out good but loses steam pretty quickly. Since Sweeney Todd though, Burton has still made one great movie: ‘Frankenweenie.’
‘Frankenweenie’ is an animated remake of Burton’s own short, Frankenweeie (1984). Burton was given full creative control on the project after ‘Alice in Wonderland’ made over a billion dollars. With how well Frankenweenie turns out, the movie begs the question, how the hell did Burton turn out such a quality film when most of the films he was making were mediocre to awful?
Here Burton is totally in his element. He’s taken a passion project he’s had for years and pumped so much ambition into it. He also took a short that was only 27 minutes and didn’t make it feel padded out. What he added to the story made sense. That’s really impressive, as too many times, there have been movies that adapted 30 minutes short and filled it with random bullshit. The heart and passion of ‘Frankenweenie’ is reminiscent of what he’s put into his best work. He just needs to achieve something like this to help him, again, become the great director he is.