- Starring: The vocal talent of Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands), Catherine O’Hara (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Martin Short (¡Three Amigos!) and more.
- Directed by: Tim Burton (Corpse Bride)
- Synopsis: “After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.” (-Collider)
- Rated: Rated PG for scary images/scenes, thematic elements.
Tim Burton’s 1984 short, Frankenweenie, becomes a full-length feature in this new take on an old tale. Tim Burton’s personal passion project focuses simply on a boy and his dog.
In fantastic stop-motion animation, Burton brings his characters to life and makes audiences fall in love with, care for, and laugh at/with them all at the same time. Burton’s eccentric dark look and feel is mixed with comedy, lightheartedness and love in this amalgam of black and white, stop motion animation, and 3D.
It’s amazing the emotions that Burton is able to portray and evoke through the expressions of his characters matched up with music. His expertise in his brand of filmmaking is what makes Frankenweenie work so delightfully well. Young Victor’s relationship with his dog Sparky is so genuine and realistically shown through the puppet mastery. There are moments of laughter and times in which one may almost tear up in thinking about their own relationship with a pet.
Victor, the ostracized loner in his school, is the most “normal” of them all. It’s funny how in Burton’s world, the normal ones are the strange and the strange ones are the norm. It creatively makes an automatic bond with the audience for the main character and adds to the fun of his story. The intertwining of the additional routine characters adds another level that makes the situation more interesting. Oddly enough, I found myself laughing out loud and enjoying this film that has little, if any at all, character development. (Admittedly I am not a big Tim Burton fan.)
One of the best elements of this film is Burton’s use of Black and White. In a time when B&W is used mainly for artistic purposes only, Burton utilizes it to parallel the events in the film to that of the original Frankenstein story and movie. So appropriate and so impressive. There are also other references to additional old school scary monster movies that were subtle and truly added to the feel of the story. Needless to say, I’m sold.
Come the end of the movie, a few additional roller coasters of emotions roll through as the final act plays on. I’m sure some will cry [I didn't. Promise! ], many will laugh, and all will smile. I had no true interest in seeing this for sake of the story, but well before the end came, I was real glad that I did. Some scenes may be a few frightening for kids of a younger age (it is Tim Burton after all), but I recommend Frankenweenie. A great family watch for this “scary movie” season!
Score: 4 out of 5 stars for Frankenweenie
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
-T, The Focused Filmographer