Disney’s afternoon block in the San Diego Comic-Con Hall H started with Tim Burton and Frankenweenie. We got going with a new, retro-styled trailer that aped the B-movie promos of the 50s, and later we saw two full scenes.
The first of the two clips was a classroom scene with the teacher, voiced by Martin Landau and styled after Vincent Price, explaining lightning in a rather odd way that delighted the strange little kids that make up the class. That all of the schoolkids were so offbeat became a big talking point – with Burton claiming that each of them was based on somebody he actually remembers from school.
One of these kids, Igor, is a key player in the other scene. He’s up in the attic workshop of Victor, our lead character, having a demonstration of how lightning can bring the dead back to life. They use a dead goldfish that Igor is seen choosing in a pet store.
“Which one do you want?” the attendant asks. “That one” says Igor as, with perfect timing, a dead goldfish floats into view. It’s a seemingly effortless bit of animation that nails the beat square on the head.
Once the fish is resurrected, Victor and Igor quickly discover that it’s not the way it was before. For reasons they don’t understand, this fish is now invisible.
It’s set up for the crux of the film’s dilemma. When these dead animals come back, they don’t come back the way they were, but altered – for example, a turtle comes back as a Godzilla scale monster.
I dare say Sparky’s power is secret for a long time, but then helps save the day. That’s how these things work, isn’t it? I don’t want to underestimate the film, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised.