Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 by Angie Han
No matter how packed the Comic-Con floor gets — and it does seem to get more overwhelming each year — there are always a few displays worth braving the crowds for. One of this year’s highlights is Disney’s The Art of Frankenweenie exhibit, which showcases the creativity and craft that went into making Tim Burton‘s black-and-white stop-motion-animated feature.
An adaptation of Burton’s own short from the ’80s, Frankenweenie centers around young scientist Victor Frankenstein, who figures out a way to bring his beloved dog back from the dead. We got a look at some of the sets and figures used in the film, and even had the chance to speak with producer Don Hahn about what makes the movie so special. Hit the jump for a gallery and quotes.
Although the exhibit was a fairly small one, there was no shortage of cool stuff on display. Check out the gallery below. (Apologies in advance for the glare and reflections that mark the pictures. Stupid protective glass.)
The classroom, attic, and kitchen sets were all actual sets used in the film, while Victor’s school desk was recreated just for Comic-Con. /Film fans may want to take a closer look at the man in the kitchen window; the giant lumbering in the background is none other than our very own Russ Fischer.
In addition, we saw figures in various states of completion. For some insight into the stop-motion animation process, check out the shot of the dog models for an idea of what these things look like on the inside, or the series of mouth sketches to see what kind of detail goes into designing these characters.
Russ was lucky enough to catch a few minutes of face time with Hahn, who has known Burton since the director’s early days at Disney, and was the one who suggested returning to the Frankenweenie short for a stop motion feature.
So why use stop motion?
Aside from the fact that we all love the technique, it seemed to fit the story. It’s a Frankenstein story about cobbling together all these disparate parts, breathing life into an inanimate object, and that’s stop-motion animation.
Is the lead character Victor, or his dog Sparky?
Both, really. Victor is everyman/everyboy; he’s introverted, maybe isn’t crazy about playing baseball, but does it for his dad. Sparky is the love of his life and he gets hit by a car in the opening act, and you find out that love transcends everything, even the death of his pet. Victor brings his pet back to life Frankenstein style, and the escalation in this story that wasn’t in the short is that every other kid in the neighborhood thinks, “wait, if you can do that, why can’t I?” So you have this great point where kids are bringing their animals back to life as fire-breathing turtles, the creature from the black lagoon, all those kind of things.
Sparky aside, is there a reanimated pet that you favor over the others?
There’s a hamster named Colossus that’s like a little mummy hamster all wrapped up in bandages, and he’s a fierce little guy, but I love him. I think he’s very funny.
Can you tell me more about the development of the monstrous pets?
Every character in Victor’s class has their pets up in the pet cemetery, and so it’s their chance to have their pets come back, too. Trouble is, with them, they’re not doing it out of love, they’re doing it to win the science fair. So there’s this sub-current idea where, even if you’re a scientist, you have to do it out of love, and the passion you have for the relationship with the pet. These characters don’t. So their characters turn into these giant Godzilla turtles, and they’re kind of our version of all the greatest monsters of all time.