Building a better dog

"Frankenweenie," the story of a young science nerd who brings his dead dog back to life with a blast from a lightning bolt, is an expansive adaptation by Tim Burton of his 1984 live-action short of the same name.

Designed to appeal to discriminating adults and older kids, the gorgeous, black-and-white stop-motion film is a fresh, clever and affectionate love letter to classic horror movies. Warning: It is decidedly not for little children.

Transplanting Mary Shelley's 19th-century story to the 1950s, "Frankenweenie" is the story of 10-year-old Victor Frankenstein, a bookish loner whose best friend is his dog, Sparky. After Sparky is hit by a car, a desperate, distraught Victor applies half-remembered lessons in electricity and reanimates the pet pooch.

All is well until Victor's classmates get wind of the secret experiment and begin resurrecting all of their dearly departed pets, too, including a hamster and Sea-Monkeys. One kid unleashes a Godzilla-like monster when his late pet turtle turns into a giant, rampaging reptile. It's great fun.

The DVD (Disney, $30) includes the "Pet Sematary" music video by Plain White T's, while the Blu-ray ($40-$50) adds the original "Frankenweenie" short and another original short, "Captain Sparky vs. the Flying Saucers."


Colin Covert says: "Frankenweenie" is a welcome rebound for Tim Burton after the poorly paced excesses of "Dark Shadows." He's got his spark back.

Also out Tuesday:

Movies: "Assassins," "Compliance," "Dredd," "Hit & Run," "House at the End of the Street," "Samsara," "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden," "Stolen."

TV: "Archer" (Season 3), "Dallas" (Season 1), "Enlightened" (Season 1), "Game Change," "The Hour" (Season 2), "An Idiot Abroad" (Season 2), "Midsomer Murders" (Vol. 21), "Red Dwarf: X," "Smash" (Season 1), "3rd Rock From the Sun" (Season 5).

Blu-ray debuts: "Cape Fear" (1962), "Driving Miss Daisy," "French Kiss," "Grand Hotel," "The Jazz Singer" (1927), "Mrs. Miniver," "One Fine Day," "Two-Lane Blacktop."


Downhill all the way

"Red Bull Crashed Ice" ($5 via Xbox Live; rated ) seeks to create a fast-paced energy-fueled experience on your Xbox 360. The game requires the Kinect sensor and transports you, in your avatar form, into a crazy downhill ski race for points, stars and bragging rights.

The graphics are somewhat similar to "Kinect Adventures," which isn't saying much. While not eye-popping, the X-Games-style arenas that you play in are serviceable. There are five courses, from Quebec to Munich. While the settings are similar, there is enough variance in the tracks to create different experiences in game play.

The game plays just like a level from "Kinect Adventures." You start at the top of a hill, use your arms to get into motion and pick up speed, and use your entire body to pull off tricks and gain stars to help increase your speed. While the game play is fun, it can be frustrating. It takes a lot of arm movement to gain and maintain speed, and at times the game does not respond.

There is nothing here that hasn't been done before, and better, in "Kinect Adventures." Unless it is for a huge Red Bull fan, it's difficult to recommend this game. Try "Kinect Adventures" or "Kinect Sports Season Two" instead.