Monday, October 08, 2012

Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie": a satire in 50s 3-D BW; short film "Inner Child"

I was curious about Tim Burton’s “kids’ movie” because it was in Black-and-white 3D.  “Frankenweenie”, with voiced-over puppets and “real-looking” suburban surroundings, is pretty a satire of both 50s horror films and of 50s-style science and “Levittown” suburban life. Victor (Charlie Tahan) dearly loves his dog Sparky and has the troubles as a kid with fitting in to the expectations of future manliness (like playing sports).  The kid comforts himself and protects himself from bullies by taking Sparky everywhere.

One day at a baseball game, right after Sparky’s nemesis, a judgmental white cat, shows up in the spectator stands, and on the “good old two-strike pitch”, Victor (shocking everyone) clobbers a  towering home run.  Before he runs the bases, Sparky runs through a hole in the outfield fence to get the ball and gets hit by a car. 
In the meantime, Victor is tantalized by the gaunt middle school science teacher (Martin Landau), and soon tries an experiment (inspired by Benjamin Franklin) with the dog’s carcass (taken from the grave) and lightning in a Pennsylvania thunderstorm.  (Is this a “positive lightning strike”?)  The dog comes back to life, and pretty soon other kids want to try experiments with other animals. The teacher makes a comment about relativity, to the effect that the observer (his attitude, or love for the animal) can affect the outcome. Mayhem ensues, as the movie soon mocks both “Blood of Dracula” and “Horror of Dracula” along with “Young Frankenstein” (which I saw at the old St. Marks theater in the East Village in the 70s with a “date”), and “Mill of the Stone Women”, and even the notorious Japanese flick “The Giant Behemoth”.  Unfortunately, the cat does not come out as well from the rampage as does the dog Sparky, and I’m a believer in equal time for cats.

The film's opening is notable: Victor's family is watching an 8mm home movie reel of the kids playing with a model city of cardboard buildings, like the kind I used to build in my own basement (or that we kids built behind grandma's house along the walk to the outhouse in Ohio back in the 50s), with the dog running through it.  

In 3-D, the detail in this film is just out of this world, most of all in the baseball scene.

Disney’s official site is here

I saw this Columbus Day afternoon in a small auditorium at Regal in Arlington. Even in the smaller auditorium, there is more room for screen than is allowed.  I wish Regal would publish online on which screen each performance is  shown.

For today’s short film, try the 20-minute impromptu “Inner Child”, (dir. J. D. Walsh) with Jason Greene and Reid Ewing and a few guest performers.  The film (looks like San Francisco) stays completely within PG-13 territory (almost just PG) and explores the joy of a relationship for the psychological benefit of two young adults who live it, rather than from what society wants to make of or recognize legally in it.  Reid says something like, “I have to be able to satisfy myself before I can satisfy anyone else”.  We seem to have a cultural divide over this in the debate over marriage: should someone be his own person first before getting married, or because of marriage?  The YouTube link (free, Igigistudios, 2 parts) is here. (Note: the video has become private;  perhaps it will be offered "for pay" in a DVD or streaming, or Amazon, etc.; I'll post when I find out.)

There is a "sequel" to "Inner Child" called "Reidoing", dating to Oct. 2012, a spoof on emulating Julie Andrews, being "who you are", and "street smarts over book smarts".  Reid and Jason star, and there is no way for Jason's character to "change".  Just "climb every mountain."  Donald Trump would approve.  It's easy to find on YouTube under Reid's name.  One must say that the relationship between Reid and Jason follows the "Polarities" (see Books blog, book by Rosenfels, April 12, 2006).

Note (July 30, 2013):  "Inner Child" is now available on the new site belonging to "Igigi" Productions. 

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