By Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Most kids can relate to the devastating loss of a childhood pet.
But for a young Tim Burton, the death of his beloved dog was the spark behind a tale so powerful that the adult director felt compelled to resurrect it decades later. The rise of Frankenweenie (opening Friday) marks Burton's deeply personal depiction of a boy who brings his deceased dog back to life.
The black-and-white, stop-motion animated film pays frequent lighthearted tribute to classic horror movies, but the love story between a boy and his dog is the very heart of the movie.
"That was the impulse for the whole thing, remembering the dog," says Burton. "It's like your first love. It's the first time you experience those kinds of feelings. With the right pet, it's all very pure."