While the voice cast for ParaNorman has potential, it’s worth noting that Sam Fell (Flushed Away, The Tale of Despereaux) is directing, so here’s hoping ParaNorman won’t be the narrative mess that The Tale of Despereaux was.
And since we’re on the topic of directors, let’s talk about Tim Burton for a moment, my dears. I’ll admit he has a certain cachet in horror circles, but let us be frank – for every film that was a wonder, we suffer through a handful of Johnny Depp be-wigged abominations. You say Bettlejuice? I give you Batman Returns, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Sleepy Hollow. Edward Scissorhands? Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes. So it is with qualified interest that I offer you Frankenweenie, a stop-motion remake of an early Burton short film about a young boy that brings his dog back to life, à la Dr. Frankenstein.
The trailer does have a certain charm and the stop-motion looks well done. It is also somewhat amusing to see this film as a Disney release, since Burton was working in the Disney animation shop when he made the original live-action short, which was considered a waste of Disney resources and resulted in Burton’s firing, thus freeing him to bring us such treasures as Batman Forever and the new Dark Shadows movie. Frankenweenie hits theaters October 5, so will be well placed for Halloween viewing.
Finally, there is Hotel Transylvania, with the story of a resort for monsters (or perhaps some kind of hunting lodge for rich weirdos?) that receives an unexpected guest. Assumedly heart-warming chaos ensues.
Since this is rapidly becoming a post on auteur theory, I will gloss over my concerns with the voice cast (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade) to say that I am willing to give this film consideration based on the involvement of the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky, best known for his work on Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory. However, he is the fourth director associated with the film, so we shall see, darlings. Hotel Transylvania is scheduled for release September 21.