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  • Tim Burton's career took off with his creation of the original film "Frankenweenie". It was a very cute and sweet short film—a homage to the horror films of yesteryear. Now, more than two decades later, Burton is back with a remake….of sorts. In fact, although the title is the same and the first half of the film is quite similar, it is much more a re-imagining of the original. The last portion, oddly, bore no resemblance to the original…and in this portion, the film became tedious. In fact, it was so bad I am shocked that it was Oscar-nominated—especially when better films (such as "ParaNorman") could have been nominated instead.

    Like the first film, a boy's beloved dog is struck and killed by a car. And, the strange boy decides to revive it using Frankenstein-like contraptions that zap the carcass with electricity. This is much of the film. Then there is the new material—where several kids from school also decide to create their own undead creations in order to win a science fair. Unfortunately, the kids all end up creating monsters that terrorize, very briefly, the city. In the end, all is well….and I was thrilled that the film was finally over!

    So why did I dislike the film? Well, it certainly wasn't the look of the film. Using stop-motion, they created a very imaginative black & white world that you have to like even if the plot itself is stale and the new material is simply awful. At least the art department deserves kudos. As far as the story goes, the biggest problem isn't that they changed the original story (I expected they would)—it's that the fun and comedy of the original film was non-existent and in its place was cliché-ridden and joyless romp. And, while I am not a huge fan of political correctness, I thought the way the Asian kid was portrayed was cheap and very stereotypical (his creation turned into Gamera—the Japanese monster who often battled the likes of Godzilla). Overall, apart from the artistry, I thoroughly disliked this film and STRONGLY recommend you see the original—which is very clever, fresh and fun. Or, see one of Tim Burton's good stop-motion films, like "A Nightmare Before Christmas" or "The Corpse Bride".

    By the way, you might wonder why I even watched this film. Well, I was on a Disney cruise and the movie was free—so it isn't like I paid to see it. If I had, I am sure my score would have been lover than 4.
  • This 2012 film of Frankenweenie I don't think is as good as Edward Scissorhands(my personal favourite), Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, Batman and Big Fish. If Nightmare Before Christmas counts, I'd include that as well. Sleepy Hollow was also excellent, as was Sweeney Todd. As a matter of fact I was dithering whether to say that this was Burton's best since Sweeney Todd, but I felt Big Fish had more heart. And I consider the 1984 short film superior. This in mind, it is vastly superior to Planet of the Apes(his worst), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows.

    Frankenweenie(2012) is not quite perfect. The story wavers slightly in pace and focus when Victor's classmates plot to uncover his secret. That said, I was hugely impressed with it, one of my personal favourites of the year so far actually. The visuals are simply gorgeous. The black and white shadings fit with the Gothic atmosphere, and the deliberately grotesque characters are vivid in their design. The music score by Danny Elfman has this haunting undercurrent that Sleepy Hollow had as well as the sparkling beauty that made Edward Scissorhands so poignant. It is a very dynamic and atmospheric score indeed.

    It is a very well-written film as well. It is wickedly funny, already improving on Dark Shadows with some very clever nods to Godzilla movies and other B-movie horror films. But Frankenweenie doesn't rely on manic humour, fart jokes or slapstick to make itself funny. The humour here is actually very subtle and deadpan. What is further special about Frankenweenie was its story. Having seen and loving to death the short film I knew what to expect, but I found the telling of this story to be fresh and just with as much heart. While there are funny moments that don't jar with the focus of the story and generally the film is full of energy, the film is often very poignant. The ending in particular has genuine pathos to it.

    The characters are instantly engaging, oddball like with the best of Burton's films but engaging nonetheless. Aside from Sparky, the most memorable of them were Victor, Mr. Rzykruski- there is an intentional uncanny resemblance to Vincent Price- and the creepy girl with the cat. The voice work is really excellent, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short and Winona Ryder give wonderfully dry vocal performances but it was Martin Landau who stole the show, he was an inspired choice for Mr. Rzykruski, and he is deliciously eccentric yet does equally wonderfully in conveying the character's wisdom.

    All in all, a really delightful film, not Burton's best or quite one of my favourites, but I do consider it his best film in the past decade or so. 9/10 Bethany Cox
  • Frankenweenie (2012)

    *** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Tim Burton's excellent remake of his 1984 short about a young boy who suffers a heartbreaking loss when his dog is ran over and killed by a car. Inspired by a science experience, the young boy decides to use electricity to bring him back to life. FRANKENWEENIE was a pretty big disappointment at the box office but I guess this type of storyline would be a hard sell to certain parents plus the B&W might scare off a few as well. I can honestly say that this here is the best thing Burton has done in years as it really reminded me of his earlier days where the imagination was all over the place and it really delivered some fun, laughs and great emotion. I really, really loved the original movie and I really didn't think it would work when expanded to a longer running time but Burton and screenwriter John August has done a very good job with this. I think what makes this one so special are the various homages to earlier horror movies like BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN and there's no question that the scientist here is a homage to Vincent Price and we even got a great way to show off Christopher Lee. The entire look of the film is excellent as well because you really do feel as if you're watching a horror movie from their Golden Age because the sets are incredible, the humans are wonderful and once the animals start to come back at the end you can't help but smile. I really liked the way the other kids started to copy our hero here and we're left with a monster mash at the end including a giant turtle, which is obviously a wink to the Godzilla films. Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Martin Short and Winona Ryder are all extremely good in their vocal work as is Charlie Tahan as the young boy. FRANKENWEENIE is certainly a terrific little gem that I think will play extremely well with the right child and of course the parents are really going to enjoy not only the charm but also the respect towards the films that came before it.
  • This is pretty good, if you like the subject matter and animation style. It's Tim Burton's film version of one of the early shorts he did in his career; a tribute to Universal's FRANKENSTEIN, in which an imaginative young boy brings his dead dog back to life in the time-honoured tradition.

    I'm sure that FRANKENWEENIE worked very well as a short but as a feature-length movie it shows some evidence of padding. There are many extraneous sub-plots involving other kids and their own creations so the subsequent journey can feel episodic at times and slightly unfocused. Still, the calibre of the animation is top notch - was this really stop motion? - and I liked the decision to film in black and white to give it that classic look.

    A lot of the fun arises from seeing all the tributes to classic horror films - Burton even manages to get Christopher Lee in this, via an old TV clip playing from Hammer's Dracula. I particularly loved the inclusion of a Japanese kid and the reference to various kaiju (particularly Gamera and Rodan). Sparky is a lovable character and the voice acting isn't quite as irritating as it could have been, so over all this is my favourite of the various dark stop motion films made over the years.
  • Young Victor Frankenstien's pet dog Sparky is hit by a car. He decides to bring him back to life. When Sparky returns and wreck havoc, he enlists his friends Edgar 'E' Gore and Elsa Van Helsing to help.

    This is Tim Burton's style through and through. It's a black and white stop motion animation film. He has set this in a nice suburbia populated with weirdly vanilla characters from classic horrors. It's not only the style but the material. If you're a fan, you won't be disappointed. Even if you're not, you'll probably like it.
  • Kirpianuscus26 December 2016
    all is known. the atmosphere, the animation, the story. maybe, the different sides of the action, the boy with a dog becoming part of a B horror with the each ingredient of classics of genre. short, Tim Burton. without the desire to demonstrate something new, using old tools for a form of copy of yourself. result - maybe the comparison with ParaNorman, new adaptation of Mary Shelley novel and the dark atmosphere who is better used in other animations of Burton. it is far to be a bad movie. only one out of surprises. because the evolution of the story, the pledge for life and the portrait of small hero who, after a mistake, has the mission to put in order everything are good points but, in same measure, pieces of demonstration of the mark of its director.
  • Prismark1020 November 2016
    Tim Burton returns to stop-motion animation in Frankenweenie. Shot in black and white and inspired by the Universal Frankenstein films.

    Young Victor Frankenstein is intelligent but a loner and he loves his energetic dog Sparky so is downhearted when Sparky is run over. Although buried in the cemetery after some science experiments at school where they discharge electrical charges to dead frogs which makes their legs twitch, Victor digs up Sparky, smuggles him into his attic where after patching him up with a few stitches he reanimates him with bolts of lightning. The newly revitalised dog is as good as ever although sometimes bits drop off and he needs to be recharged at times.

    However once it comes to be known that Sparky is alive, pretty soon Victor's school mates are trying to bring their own dead animals to life but these experiments go awry and wreak havoc in town.

    Burton has crafted a homage to the old horror films of his youth, the science teacher Mr Rzykruski looks like Vincent Price. It is energetic but also low key and rather sterile.
  • In New Holland, the boy Victor Frankenstien is a bright but outcast student without any friend but his dog Sparky. When the newcomer science teacher Mr. Rzykruski challenges the students to participate in the science fair, Victor's father forces him to play baseball otherwise he would not sign the necessary authorization for his son.

    During the game, Sparky chases the ball and is hit by a car. Victor recalls Mr. Rzykruski's class about the effects of electricity and successfully resuscitates Sparky using lightning. Victor hides Sparky in the attic but the weird Edgar sees the dog on the garden and blackmails Victor to learn how to bring the dead to life. Edgar does not keep the secret and soon Victor's envious schoolmates revive several creatures to win the science fair contest. When the town is invaded by the monsters, Victor and Sparky are the last chance to rescue the girl Elsa van Helsing from the claws of Mr. Whiskers.

    "Frankenweenie" is another stop-motion animation by Tim Burton in black and white with a great tribute to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a happy ending. The story is actually an adorable tale of loyalty and friendship and it is delightful to see the frolic of Sparky. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Frankenweenie"
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wow! This is what kids want: A black and white claymation-like story set in the 1950's based on a 1940's film they never saw. I enjoyed it more than the kids who were too busy taking pictures of their privates and posting on Facebook to care about the movie.

    What was with the cat poop the girl was holding? Why did all the bad kids have French accents?

    What was with dead Sparky rotting like a zombie? Frankenstein never did that. I thought the names were a bit cliche for adults, and the kids who could enjoy the film wouldn't understand them. All the kids looked spooky and like their pets, which I liked. The girl with Mr. Whiskers was my favorite.

    This is a film the kids will watch once and enjoy and grow out of real fast.
  • kosmasp30 May 2013
    6/10
    Fetch
    Tim Burton returning to his roots. Or at least to one of his first projects. One that he made for Disney, who surely didn't mind him making a feature length movie out of his original short story. Of course back when he first made it, they weren't that fond of Mr. Burton. But time heals all wounds I guess and it's good if you can forgive and forget in this business.

    At least the forgetting part is kinda hard to come by in this movie. The cover does suggest it, even for those who didn't hear what the movie is about, plus the name is a big hint too. Names in general (character names that is) are fine and might provoke a laugh or at least a chuckle with old school horror fans. Also nice the addition of Vincent Price once again. Not only in a film snippet, but also as a voice actor and a crucial part of the story.

    All in all it's a nice and scary movie. If that is possible. While I didn't feel it was better than say Paranorman, I do understand that quite a lot of people are fond of the short movie and will just love the usual Burton quirkiness. So depending on your taste, you will either like it more than me or less. One thing is for sure: It does have a few scary scenes in it, so it might not be entirely suitable for really young ones.
  • Young Victor (Charlie Tahan) conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky (Frank Welker) back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

    As I like to do, let me respond to another (better?) critic. Roger Ebert says "the whole story benefits from the absence of color, because this is a stark world without many soothing tones." Whether or not I agree with the second half of this is undetermined -- is it a stark world? Not sure I felt that way. But the lack of color certainly does enhance the film -- because it is a Tim Burton creation.

    Burton works best in black and white, because he is an artist first and director second. His best films worked not so much because of his direction, but because of his vision. "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands" could have been done by no one else. Even the "Batman" films are incredible because of Burton's view of the world. He may not be Christopher Nolan, but that makes his Batman no less great.

    We can tell that this was a trip down memory lane for Burton, too, back to his glory days. And I do not mean simply because he made a new version of something he made almost thirty years ago. Also notice his choice of voice actors -- we have neither Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, who have (for better or worse) dominated his films for over a decade. We have Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara, two of his best actresses. Seeing them back together and with Burton -- even in cartoon form -- was a real treat.

    What made this film especially meaningful was the science teacher's speech. Sure, I loved the references to classic monsters (and the turtle named Shelley was a touching nod to Frankenstein's creator). But the farewell speech wherein science is held to be a neutral field with only its uses truly good or bad... that was a key moment. Not only did it show the difference between Victor and his classmates (he was not only brilliant, but pure-hearted), it pointed out an important truth about the world: science can be a weapon or a salvation, depending on whose hands we wish to put it.
  • Some years ago I saw Tim Burton's short film "Frankenweenie", about a suburban boy named Victor Frankenstein who reanimates his dead dog and turns his neighborhood upside down when the pooch escapes his control. Naturally it intrigued me when I learned that Burton was doing a feature-length version. Well, the feature-length "Frankenweenie" is even better than the original! This stop motion movie is mostly an homage to the classic horror flicks (does the name Elsa Van Helsing ring a bell?), but also takes the time to poke fun at the oh-so squeaky clean world of 1960s suburbia (at least everything has that look). The setting is the fictional town of New Holland, which is preparing for a Dutch festival. Everything seems really wholesome, but Victor's little project ends up unleashing a litany of wackiness unseen in our era.

    I should identify that this is not a movie for little children. There ARE some mildly scary scenes, and the weird look of some of the characters might unnerve tykes. But the good thing is that film buffs will like all the references. The science teacher looks like Vincent Price (whom Burton cast as the narrator in "Vincent" and the scientist in "Edward Scissorhands"). Victor's friend Edgar (hmm, now who was named Edgar?) looks like Peter Lorre. One of the other students has a hairdo like Boris Karloff's most famous role.

    It's just a really fun movie. I don't know if it's Tim Burton's best, but it shows him at his best. Above all, "Frankenweenie" shows that animation does NOT need to be all cutesy; after all, it's just another type of filmmaking. I'd call this the perfect Halloween movie (excluding full-fledged horror movies, obviously).

    In conclusion, you really AIN'T nothing but a hound dog!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film started out as a short film in 1984 from director Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), a parody and homage of Frankenstein (1931), based on the classic Mary Shelley novel, 28 years later Burton turned into a full length cartoon feature. Basically young Victor Frankenstein (I Am Legend's Charlie Tahan) lives in the quiet town of New Holland, with his parents Edward (Martin Short) and Susan Frankenstein (Catherine O'Hara), and his beloved dog Sparky. At school Victor is recognised for his intelligence by his classmates, gloomy neighbour Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder), mischievous Igor-like Edgar "E" Gore (Atticus Shaffer), obese and gullible Bob (Robert Capron), overconfident Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao), creepy Nassor (Short), and the eccentric Weird Girl (O'Hara), but Victor hardly communicates with them because of his relationship with Sparky. Victor's father encourages him to take up baseball, to get out of isolation, and make achievements outside of science, at his first baseball game Victor hits a home run, Sparky runs for the ball, like a game of catch, pursuing the ball the dog runs into the road and is hit by a car and killed, Victor is heartbroken. In a science lesson, teacher Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau) demonstrates electrical impulses in the muscles of a dead frog, a depressed Victor has the idea to dig up Sparky, builds himself a makeshift laboratory, stitches his dog back together, and uses the power of lightning to reanimate him, this is successful. Undead Sparky hides in the attic, but he escapes and explores the neighbourhood, he is recognised by Edgar, who blackmails Victor into teaching him how to bring animals back to life. Meanwhile many students are preparing for the upcoming science fair, Edgar brags undead fish to Toshiaki and Bob, they are panicked they will lose the prize, making rockets out of soda bottles, this fails miserably with Bob breaking his arm, Mr. Rzykruski is blamed for influencing them, he is replaced by the Gym Teacher (O'Hara). Edgar is confronted by Toshiaki, Nassor and Bob, he accidentally reveals Victor's actions, inspiring them to reanimation themselves, meanwhile Victor's parents are frightened discovering Sparky in the attic, he flee, Victor and his parents go in search for the dog, while classmates invade the lab and discover the reanimation formula. Classmates separately perform experiments on dead animals, they go awry and the creatures are turned into undead monsters, Weird Girl's cat Mr. Whiskers is electrocuted biting on an undead bat, he fuses with it, becoming a bat-cat monster with wings and fangs, a rat becomes a wererat, a hamster becomes mummified, a turtle becomes a giant Gamera-like monster, and Sea-Monkeys grow into amphibious humanoids, all these creatures break out and cause havoc to the town. Victor finds Sparky in the town's pet cemetery, he then finds his classmates to help conquer the many monster creatures, during the chaos, Elsa's poodle Persephone is taken by Mr. Whiskers and carried to the town windmill, Victor and Elsa chase after them. The townspeople are blaming undead Sparky for the devastation to the town, Mayor Burgermeister (Short) accidentally ignites the windmill, Sparky and Victor enter the burning windmill, Elsa and Persephone are rescued, but Victor is trapped inside, Sparky rescues him, but Mr. Whiskers drags him back inside, before being killed by falling debris. The windmill finally collapses on Sparky, killing him again, but the townspeople work together to help Victor get his friend back again, using car batteries to reanimate him once again, Persephone, who now has a hairstyle like the Bride of Frankenstein, comes to Sparky, the two share their love and kiss. Also starring Conchata Ferrell as Bob's Mom , Tom Kenny as New Holland Townsfolk (voice) American Dad's Dee Bradley Baker as various characters and Frank Welker as the barks of Sparky. The voice casting is well chosen, the use of black-and-white colour keeps with the feel of a classic scary B-movie, the cast is full of suitably weird and grotesque looking characters, the story sticks with the concept of the original short, but leaves room for some new additional stuff, but best of all is the impeccable stop-motion animation, it is funny and spine- tingling in equal measure, a most worthwhile animated fantasy horror comedy. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, it was nominated the BAFTA for Best Animated Film, and it was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film. Very good!
  • Frankenweenie was a pleasant surprise: a very entertaining film that was fun for a number of reasons. The story featured drama, comedy, suspense, action and even a little romance.....it had everything. Plus, it had a terrific black-and-white palette. The stop-motion animated movie looks gorgeous.

    Anyone who is familiar with the original Frankenstein film and Bride of Frankenstein had to get laughs out of the references to those 1930s classics. I know I did, laughing out loud several times. There also were touches in here of other pretty famous movies such as Godzilla, Gremlins, Gremlins 2, The Mummy and probably a couple of others that don't immediately come to mind.

    All of that is involved in this story about a young "Victor Frankenstein," whose beloved dog "Sparky" is killed and then brought back to life by the young kid scientist (who went on to bigger things, as you know.) In this story, it's fairly mild until a bunch of weird schoolmates want to cash in on Victor's secret for re-animation. Then it gets tense/dark......probably a little too much for young viewers, so parents beware. However, for teens and up - particularly adult film buffs - this is a fun flick, start-to-finish.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Young Victor Frankenstein lives in the town of New Holland; he is a quiet boy whose only real friend is his dog Sparky and he has a love of science. When Sparky is run over and killed he is understandably upset but is later inspired by a science class to bring his beloved pet back to life. After stitching Sparky back together and harnessing one of the town's frequent electrical storms he successfully brings Sparky back to life. When he goes to school he leaves Sparky in the attic but he manages to escape and is spotted by Victor's classmate Edgar… Edgar wants Victor to work with him on the upcoming science fair so blackmails him into repeating the experiment with a dead goldfish. It isn't long before the secret is out and soon all the children are planning to reanimate animals. Their results somewhat disturbing and soon the town is in danger.

    I must say I really enjoyed this black and white treat from Tim Burton but am unsure how younger viewers will feel about it. There are some fun scares that might disturb young children as might the death of Sparky. There are some good laughs to be had; these are improved if you spot the movies that are frequently referenced. These references are to both classic horror films and earlier Tim Burton films. If you don't spot these references it won't spoilt the film though; they are just a bonus for those who do. The story contains plenty of other amusing moments as well as a good amount of excitement; this excitement increases as the story reaches its dramatic conclusion. The character designs are great I particularly liked the teacher who is clearly modelled on Vincent Price and Edward E Gore… he looks like an Igor! Overall I'd certainly recommend this to anybody wanting an animation that is darker than typical Disney fare.
  • When his dog Sparky is flattened by a car, young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) makes his dead pet the subject of his school science project, bringing the mangled mutt back to life with a massive electrical charge. But when Victor's schoolmates learn of his success, they also try to reanimate some deceased animals, unleashing several monstrous beasts on the community (including a giant tortoise that looks like Gamera and a group of mischievous mutated sea monkeys).

    Tim Burton expands his 1984 short movie of the same name into a full length feature, delivering impeccable black and white stop-motion animation but failing to connect on an emotional level. An homage to James Whale's Frankenstein, with references to other classic horror movies along the way, there is plenty to please the eye and appease the classic horror fan, but the storytelling is remarkably unengaging, with unappealing characters and a narrative that goes nowhere, the whole affair feeling very much like the drawn out short story that it is.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just watched this black-and-white Tim Burton stop-motion animated film with my movie theatre-working friend a few hours ago. Taking inspiration from the old-school horrors of the classic era from the '30s to the '50s-not to mention his own short version of this tale he did in 1984 that I have admittedly yet to watch, I and my friend were thoroughly entertained enough by some humor and many scares that permeated throughout the movie. And once again, Danny Elfman provides another perfect score for a Burton film. And the voices of veterans like Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Winona Rider, and Martin Landau as the science teacher who looks like Vincent Price contributed immensely to the whimsically suspenseful atmosphere. If there was one flaw, it was the end when Sparky the dog conveniently woke up instead of staying dead, thereby defeating the purpose of teaching the lesson of how final death is and should be. Still, me and my friend had a good enough time that I highly recommend this version of Frankenweenie.
  • I've always been a giant admirer of Tim Burton; particularly his imaginative script ideas and his fairy-tale filming style. But, somehow, my appreciation for him has gone down tremendously since "Alice in Wonderland". There were his greatest films ("Sleepy Hollow", "Edward Scissorhands", "Big Fish") used to be macabre, unique and melancholic, his newer efforts ("Dark Shadow", "Alice in Wonderland", "Big Eyes") are sentimental, childish and dull. Burton has become his own caricature, but I still had reasonably high hopes for this "Frankenweenie". After all, Burton's other two stop- motion/animation flicks ("Corpse Bride" and "The Nightmare before Christmas") belong to his finest efforts and I also really liked the 30-minutes short that our director made in 1984 for Disney and largely kick-started his career. But alas, the magic has faded away here as well

    Oh sure, "Frankenweenie" is undeniably a masterwork in terms of meticulous and professional stop-motion techniques and it still remains admirable how Tim Burton continuously pays tribute to so many older horror titles; famous classics as well as obscure foreign gems. Unfortunately, however, he also always reverts to the same old clichéd trademarks, daft character drawings and tiresome pacing. Young Victor Frankenstein loses his beloved dog Sparky when a car runs over it, but he paid close attention during the classes of his eccentric teacher Mr. Rzykruski and uses the next electrical thunderstorm to bring it back to life. Victor's creepy classmates also have deceased pets they want to give the same science-project treatment as Sparky, but these critters aren't as cute and raise a little hell during the town's annual Dutch festival. Fellow horror fans can moderately amuse themselves by spotting all the references and tributes to legendary films, characters, and actors/actresses, but "Frankenweenie" on itself is a feeble story without any highlights or even remotely memorable parts. I watched this with my 8-year-old son and even he was disappointed, and more particularly frustrated about how infantile and tame this was!
  • grantss17 September 2020
    Sweet family movie. Directed by Tim Burton and based on his first movie, a short. Original, quirky plot (which you would expect from Mr Burton). Has some funny moments and some emotional moments too.

    Does degenerate into creature-horror-action towards the end but ends well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    FRANKENWEENIE (2012) *** (VOICES OF: Charlie Tahan, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, James Hiroyuki Liao, Tom Kenny) Tim Burton remakes his live-action short into an animated feature valentine to his beloved Universal monsters with young Victor Frankenstein (Tahan) resurrecting his recently deceased pet pooch Sparky and causing a ruckus in the midst of his middle-class neighborhood. Fantastically beautiful black and white cinematography by Peter Sorg and a lively score by long-time collaborator Danny Elfman keeps things in the spirit of the mood of the genre with equally keen stop-motion-animation ala Rankin-Bass. Spooky fun for the entire family.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When young Victor Frankenstein's dog Sparky is killed by a car, Victor is inspired by science teacher Mr Rzykruski to try to reanimate his pet using lightning.

    There is a history to this Tim Burton animated movie which I haven't gone into: I am considering it solely on its own merits. It is a black and white movie using puppets (and possibly CGI) to tell a story which is a variation on the original movie Frankenstein story, moving it solidly into an Edward Scissorhands location, and cross-pollinate it with a bay and his dog.

    It is full of the customary Tim Burton visual flair, and I guess that is my main complaint about it, for two reasons. One, the character design is just plain ugly - none of the characters is visually appealing. And, two (and following on from one), the look of the piece overpowers the content: at times when I should have been touched by what was going on, I was thinking, instead, of how ugly the boy and his dog were, or how carefully they had modelled the lightning sequence of the James Whale movie, or how obviously Mr Rzykruski's appearance had been based on Vincent Price. I think I would have enjoyed the film more had it been made in non-Tim Burton mode.

    And I respect black and white as a stylistic choice, but I didn't like it here.

    The 3D was good, but not essential.
  • This is really Tim Burton at his best, and you'd probably enjoy it even if you came to it without any background in Burton's work or Universal classic horror. But it helps if you know about both. After all, who isn't moved by a boy and dog's pure immovable unconditional love for one another? When this love is interrupted by death, as it is in the case of young Victor Frankenstein and his dog Sparky, young Victor takes what he has learned about science to bring Sparky back to life, albeit with a bunch of stitches and a couple of bolts in his neck. When Sparky escapes the attic where he is kept while Victor is at school all day, that is when the trouble starts.

    You see elements of "Edward Scissorhands" including the clueless although well meaning parents with the 60s decor, characters inspired by Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff, and you just really need to have seen Bride of Frankenstein - and might I add Jurassic Park? - to get a few of the jokes. The score is trademark eerie Burton, and the scenes in the pet cemetery are spooky or heart rending, depending on the situation.

    Most poignant scene? Reanimated Sparky - still the friendly little dog he was in life - is discovered alive by people who know he died and they shriek in terror. The bewildered little dog makes for the safety of the Pet Cemetery and curls up next to his headstone.

    This one made me shed a tear at a few points as well as laugh out loud at other times. I'd highly recommend this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Greetings again from the darkness. Being a huge fan of Tim Burton's 1984 short of the same title, news of a feature length feature was very exciting. It's obvious from both films that director Tim Burton holds the story and project close to his heart. The obvious guess is that young Victor Frankenstein has much in common with the enigmatic director's childhood experience ... a social misfit who finds joy in less than popular outlets (science, sci-fi, filmmaking).

    The story begins simply enough, Victor - a socially inept boy, whose only friend is his loyal dog Sparky, quickly connects with the new science teacher, Mr. Rzykroski (who bears a striking resemblance to the late, great Vincent Price). Victor's parents try to get him more engaged and that leads to a tragic accident that kills Sparky. Victor is heart-broken but his scientific mind leads to a shocking development thanks to a local lightning storm. Soon enough, Sparky is back! Of course, the secret gets out and the Science Fair takes on quite a competitive nature.

    Burton really treats the film as an homage to old monster, horror and sci-fi films. We get tributes to Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula (complete with Christopher Lee), Godzilla, Bride of Frankenstein, Gremlins, Jurrassic Park and others I certainly missed on first viewing. But this is so much more. Mr. Rzykroski gives a less than PC speech to the local townspeople, and though it is straight to the point, that point is lost on these fine folks. The importance of science and learning and accepting the differences of others is all touched upon, but not in a preachy way.

    The voice work is stellar thanks to Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau and Atticus Shaffer (Brick on "The Middle"). The style and texture of the film is extraordinary. The shadows and lighting provide an atmosphere that adds just enough creepiness. The detail involved with the characters and setting is remarkable for stop-motion animation. Not just that, but how many movies have you seen recently that include a cat-bat, sea monkeys, and a giant turtle? The suburban setting is almost identical to the neighborhood seen in Burton's Edward Scissorhands, just without the 1960's color palette.

    This is excellent movie entertainment for adults and children alike. Unfortunately, the black and white presentation has meant a lack of interest from today's kids. Sure it has some darkness to it, but the PG rating means nothing too heavy. This is Tim Burton at his finest ... and without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter! Also, Danny Elfman's score perfectly compliments the story and characters, and stay for the credits to hear a very odd Karen O song.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how.

    But when the monster wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbours, he has to convince them that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been....

    having never liked The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride, I had no interest in seeing this movie.

    But wow, how wrong was I for not wanting to see this.

    It's easily the best animated film of the year, and really quite funny too.

    It has all the Burton Quirks you would expect, from the Danny Elfman score, right to the Beetlejuice references.

    Depp and Bonham Carter are absent for the first time in so many years (joke), but this is Burtons baby, and it's like watching a home video featuring him as a kid.

    a brilliant family movie, maybe a little bit dark for younger viewers, but anyone over the age of five will love it.

    Highly recommended
  • Director Tim Burton returns to his visceral dark roots with Frankenweenie, a animated film that features all the dark, brooding themes he is famous for, in what would seem like an opportunity for the story teller to deal with all his favourite, classical horror elements all in one fall swoop. With Disney's backing, Burton crafts a somewhat charming little film inspired primarily by Frankenstein, dealing with the artificial creation of life and how this whacks nature out of balance, although one can almost feel that his direction probably got superseded in the final moments to toe the line, given that mass market merchandising, or the lack thereof, is probably the compromise reached.

    Face it, the characters here aren't really plush toy material, even though they are grotesquely beautiful to look at, with physical flaws that seem perfect. As usual, like the animated films that feature his involvement, the characters here aren't designed to be anatomically correct with their longer than usual limbs. Being in black, white and grey, it provides that old school look and hopefully elevated this film to that nostalgic status of old, ringing with the air of familiarity for elements that you've probably experienced especially if you're a classic horror movie fan.

    As the story would have already been suggested by its trailer, it centers around a boy, Vincent Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) whose dog Sparky had passed away, only for Vincent, a smart boy with scientist potential, emulating his namesake to resurrect his pet dog, and succeeding. He tries to keep this undead version of Sparky under wraps, only for the antics of the dog to be discovered, and from there, having his peers, who are all vying for best science project, trying to emulate what he had done, with vastly different results.

    Here's when you can see what had inspired Burton, or had been his favourites, as the story took on homage paying moments especially when the story went on its own little spree to have loads of fun. Tributes got paid to the likes of a Godzilla-wannabe, critters, and characters that were amongst the same level of recognition as Frankenstein, in addition to a whole slew of name dropping. Even the science teacher Mr Rzykruski (Martin Landau), looked very much and unmistakably like Burton's tip of the hat to one of his heroes, Vincent Price, who is straight talking, and providing a stinging criticism against those who are closed minded, and superstitious, clinging on to values of the old without the guts for exploration and scientific adventure. Those who follow blindly, or copying without full understanding, are also put under the spotlight, and it's little wonder how the chief reverse engineer happens to be Asian.

    But it's not all formula, facts and numbers. Frankenweenie, like most of Burton's films, no matter how dark they may look and feel, contains plenty of heart. While the hinted at love story between Vincent and Elsa (Winona Ryder) was almost non-existent, being but neighbours who communicate through a hole in the picket fence, it is the bond between boy and dog, and the extent one will go for the other, that moved, even if, like Frankenstein's tale, the whole world goes after them, being some bastardized by product of nature. But outside of these two characters, the support cast was woefully one-noted, and largely wallpaper.

    While this film marks the umpteenth time that Burton has had Danny Elfman score his film, it is with a heavy heart, as a fan of their partnership, to listen to moments that seem lifted from their Batman score, and being repeated so obviously during the film's finale that you'd wonder if Elfman had finally run out of steam with the lack of inspiration in coming up with new tunes that dance around similar themes. I guess one can only recycle to a certain degree, before being dangerously left exposed.

    I had enjoyed the quirky tales and characters that Tim Burton had the knack to conjure in his mind, but Frankenweenie, despite being nice to look at with moments that will touch your heart, as a whole still felt as an unfulfilled potential. One can only hope Burton's next effort will be as inspirational as his earlier ones.
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