Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children started as a novel by Ransom Riggs, which, sadly, I have never read. It’s now certainly on my to-do list, though, after seeing this trailer.
I don’t remember a lot about the original 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie. I remember that I saw it during my spring break of that year, because my friends and I spent the week at Walt Disney World and we saw it at the Downtown Disney movie theater. I remember being absolutely obsessed with the costuming. And most of all, I remember… not hating it as much as a lot of people seemed to. That’s about it. So when I saw that they were making a sequel, I—unlike a lot of people I talked to—was cautiously excited about it.
One of my favorite Halloween movies is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m a sucker for Tim Burton and the music of Danny Elfman, and when you combine it with Christmas cheer and Halloween gothic macabre, you basically get the best Christmas/Halloween crossover extravaganza ever. But because over-analyzing things is my third-favorite hobby (next to soul-harvesting and baking), I got to thinking: could there be something more behind our stop-motion miniatures? I think there might be. The Nightmare Before Christmas is rich with lore and depth, and can serve as a cautionary tale against religious syncretism.
Religious syncretism is different from cultural appropriation. Usually cultural appropriation involves a “dominant” culture borrowing important or sacred elements from an oppressed culture for frivolous reasons. A non-Native American wearing a war bonnet as a costume or fashion accessory is a kind of cultural appropriation, because war bonnets are important spiritual and political objects worn by Native American men in tribes from the Plains region. The non-Native wearer doesn’t understand or care to understand the significance of the object. Religious syncretism involves the successful or unsuccessful melding of two belief systems, and is intimately connected with meaning. It’s precisely Jack’s search for meaning that moves him from cultural appropriation to attempting religious syncretism.
Spoilers for The Nightmare Before Christmas below, of course.
It’s that time again, the falling leaves, the chill in the air, the dead body swinging from the tree in the neighbor’s front yard. October is truly a wonderful month. It contains the best holiday which crosses over all faiths, races, and creeds (that don’t think it’s about devil worship). I can hold a bloodied sack of candy while dressed as the Batman without anyone calling the cops, but the most important part of this wonderful holiday full of ghoulish ghosts and wicked witches, bloody vampires, and psychotic clowns, are the Halloween movies! We all have our favorites, but possibly the most beloved (or at least most well-known) Halloween movie “for families” is Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas, a stop-motion animated movie about a bored Pumpkin King and a less-than-jolly Santa. In that same vein Burton’s latest movie Frankenweenie was released this October 5. It is based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the 1931 movie of the same name.
Frankenweenie is a simple story about a boy named Victor and his undead dog Sparky that he brought back to life using electricity (I see what you did there, Burton) and a special scientific formula. Aka: science is magic. Victor’s unfortunate looking classmate Edgar recognizes the bestitched Sparky and blackmails Victor into teaching him how to raise the dead. Soon some of his other classmates find the formula and after playing God for a while, end up accidentally creating giant monsters. Havoc ensues.
There were some very funny parts of the movie. Edgar had some good one-liners. The Weird Girl was also appropriately named. When Burton calls something weird, you better believe it! Overall I enjoyed the movie. The beginning was very touching; it truly showed the bond between Victor and Sparky. I cried when Sparky was hit by the car, was reanimated, and at the end of the movie. Sparky reminded me of Zero, Jack Skellington’s red nosed ghost dog and Victor reminded me of…Victor from Burton’s lackluster movie Corpse Bride. Overall I would say it was B+; pretty good, but it seemed a bit short, and I didn’t really like the Asian representation in the movie. Still, I heartily recommend it.
It’s Trailer Tuesdays again! Let’s look at Frankenweenie!
This movie looks good fun and interesting along with awesome stop motion animation. My only problem with it is it has been done before. I know it sounds weird to say that a movie has been made about a Frankenstein dog has been done before, but it has, by none other that Tim Burton himself.
The 1984 thirty minute movie live action version of this movie was cute, fun, and entertaining a Tim Burton classic. I happen to enjoy a lot of Tim Burton’s movies, but I noticed a trend with Tim Burton. He tends to be better with his own original works than remaking classics. I honestly did not enjoy Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland, and many people felt the same way. Now with a remake of one Tim Burton’s old classics coming out I have to wonder if he’s maybe losing his touch, especially considering he hasn’t written anything new since Corpse Bride in 2005.
This remake of Frankenweenie looks great, but the old one was fine it didn’t need to be remade. I just wish Tim Burton would try to do something original again instead of another remake, even if it is a remake of one of his original stories.