Let’s all be honest Tim Burton hasn’t made a great film in years. Somewhere along the way he forgot what made his classic films, like The Nightmare before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands, so great. That all changes with Frankenweenie. A film that will remind you, why you loved all those old Tim Burton films. He was always able to combine the weird with genuine heart. Films like Frankenweenie are rare these days, with Hollywood more concerned about shoving 3D, explosions and visual effects down our throats. Frankenweenie may use 3D but it has more than enough heart to make up for that mistake. Lets face it what movie doesn’t come in 3D now days.
Frankenweenie is a black and white stop-motion animated film. The plot of the movie is similar to what everyone who knows about the tale of Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is an outsider, someone who doesn’t care about connecting with society and is more interested in making monster movies and playing with his dog.
However, disaster strikes and Sparky winds up losing his life. Inspired by his science teacher, Victor conducts an experiment to bring his dog back to life. Trouble follows when a few of Victors classmates find out what he has done and what to replicate his success. The only difference is that they want to bring their pets back to life for the wrong reasons. The scene where the kids attempt to bring their pets back to life is fun and all the different things that go wrong with pets is extremely entertaining to watch.
Frankenweenie is a Tim Burton film through and through. It has scenes of comedy, horror, drama, and tragedy. Deep down it is a horror movie for kids (the first of it’s kind). You can clearly see Burton’s homage to classic Universal Monster movies. It is dark and gothic but with the beating heart that is always present in Tim Burton’s films.
The characters are also truly spectacular. You have Edgar ‘E’ Gore, who is lovable as he is stupid. There is also the saucer-eyed Weird Girl and saucer-eyed cat friend. The entire cast is so unique and they’re all scene stealers in their own right. You can’t walk away from this film and forget about any of them.
The voice talent is also superb led by Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara. There is one that stands above the rest and that is Martin Landau voicing Mr. Rzykruski, the kids science teacher. He brings great pathos to the role, that makes you feel for a character who is quite mysterious and scary. You can tell that he means well but just can’t say the right thing.
The only time when Frankenweenie stumbles is near the end when the movie tries to give its final message and it just didn’t work for me. I found that it sort of contradicted the nature of the film just to give things the typical Disney ending (trying not to spoil it).
But that is such a minor thing and in no way does it detract from the enjoyment of this movie. I love this film. I love its characters, I love its gothic look, I love the moments of comedy, and I love its heart. After watching Dark Shadows I thought Tim Burton had lost touch with his film. I was wrong, I’m glad I was wrong. Frankenweenie is the movie that will remind you of the master craftsman Tim Burton is.
Score: 3.5 out of 4