Tim Burton is known as an eccentric guy, but not necessarily a mean one. So how did he reduce a devoted fan to tears at the Comic-Con panel for his animated film Frankenweenie?
The answer is: just by being there. The fan, who came up to the audience mic to ask Burton a question, was so overwhelmed at speaking with her hero in person that she literally burst into tears as soon as she started talking.
Burton tried to lighten up the moment, quipping, "Hey, look, I weep during the making of every one of my movies." The fan recovered and ended up asking Burton for a job (or something like that).
In any case, Burton was at Disney's Hall H presentation at Comic-Con to offer a look at Frankenweenie, a new 3D stop-motion feature based on the very first short film he directed, back in 1982. That version, which was live-action, was macabre enough to get him fired from his job as an animator at Disney at the time (he's made them a lot of money since then).
Frankenweenie is set in a Burton version of Burbank, Calif., which resembles that suburban sprawl as if Charles Addams got his hands on it. The movie follows a little boy who is so distraught over the death of his beloved dog that he uses his knowledge of electricity (gleaned from his decidedly sinister science teacher, voiced by Martin Landau in full Bela Lugosi mode) to bring the dog back to life.
Of course, things only go awry from there. The movie, which is shot in beautiful black and white, turns into an all-out monster rally, and the trailer that Burton unveiled took full advantage of its retro look and sensational 1950s-style narration. Looks like more than the dog gets resurrected and electrified, including what looks like a very large (and we mean large) frog.
To be honest, we haven't been the biggest fans of Burton's last few movies (Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows), but Frankenweenie looks like the kind of Gothic dark fantasy that he does best. It won't bring us to tears, but it may make us smile.