The first film out of the gates at San Diego Comic Con 2012 is Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie.” The film is a remake of Burton’s 1984 short film and tells the story of a young boy named Victor who manages to bring his deceased dog, Sparky, back to life. Burton himself will take the stage on behalf of “Frankenweenie” during the Walt Disney Studios panel tomorrow, but tonight producers Allison Abbate and Don Hahn were on the convention center floor in support of The Art of “Frankenweenie” exhibit.
“When you make a stop motion movie, you create everything from scratch so you can’t go out and buy textbooks or desks for kids to sit at because the kids are all the size of Barbie Dolls,” Hahn recalled. “You have to make everything and when you visit the set of a stop motion movie, it’s like visiting Santa’s workshop.” And that’s exactly what this exhibit felt like.
There were a number of casings within the booth, some of which contained preliminary designs and sketches and others that housed the final sets that you’ll see in the feature film. Hahn explained, “What you’re seeing here are the final sets and the final characters from the movie and these are the actual sets from the movie. They’re not recreations or anything; these are the sets that were in London, that Tim worked on, that we made the movie from and that’s why we’re excited to have you here today.”
When it came to picking and choosing the items to be featured in the exhibit, Abbate noted, “We wanted to showcase the different attributes of the film.” She pointed out that the wildly impressive classroom scene is an excellent moment for highlighting the variety of characters. “The classroom set really shows the cast of characters and the quirkiness of Victor’s friends and the homages to old movie characters that really inspired Tim.” She continued, “If you look at them, you can see the mad scientist and the Bois Karloff from “The Mummy,” you start to really see them come through.”
As for the kitchen scene, that was all about showing off Burton’s “urban gothic” style. On top of that, Abbate noted, “Also the artistry of the props because there’s all those little props in there that are harkening back to the 1970s so you can really get a real sense of nostalgia when you look at them.”
It should come as no surprise that one of the centerpieces of the exhibit was the iconic attic scene, where Victor brings Sparky back to life. Abbate explained, “It was great to show Victor’s world and Victor’s life with his dog.”
The Art of “Frankenweenie” is an undeniably beautiful set-up, but rather unusual for a feature film at Comic Con. Whereas most simply show off a costume or two at their respective studio’s booth and spend some time in Hall H, the Frankenweenie” team really went above and beyond with their presence in the convention center. “I think for me it was really important to bring it to Comic Con because Comic Con is full of fans and artists and so I think you really want to have it be available to people who will be inspired by it and who can see the artistry of it and can kind of take it one step further and incorporate that kind of beauty into their stuff.” While there’s certainly truth to that statement, artist or not, Abbate also made the point, “It’s just great to be able to get a sneak peek into what happens behind the scenes.”
Check out our gallery of photos from the exhibit below and be sure to click on them to enlarge the images because many are packed with a truly incredible amount of detail.