Movie Review: Frankenweenie
[media-credit name="Courtesy of Creative Commons" align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]Question: Have you noticed the past few Tim Burton films are missing that quintessential essence we have grown to love over the last few decades? I can’t quite put my finger as to why or what’s gone awry, but I really haven’t enjoyed his last few films until Frankenweenie! Yep, I saw this one and felt Tim Burton finally got back to his roots. Actually, I found out, after the fact, that this is a remake of a short film Burton did in 1984. Coincidence? Maybe.
Perhaps I was able to connect to the story line in Burton’s latest stop motion film. I am a huge dog lover and have unfortunately lost a couple of pets throughout my life. Actually my first dog, Auggie, died similarly to Sparky in Frankenweenie. Being the same age as Victor, I could feel his extreme pain over the loss of his best friend. Now I did not try to revive Auggie like Frankenstein’s monster, but I completely empathized with the boy trying to fill the void by any means possible.
This film is actually listed as horror (plus comedy and animation), and I will say for young children it would be wise for parents to heed that genre listing. Yes, it is rated PG, but for those young children who might scare easily this story is a bit on the dark side and quite intense at times. In fact, a girl and her father left during the film never to return. I noticed the stuffed animal in her hands and she was holding on to it for dear life as she briskly walked out of the theatre. My guess she was about 8 years-old. Now, my nearly 11-year old daughter had no qualms or fear of the story line and was delighted with the entire film.
For the parents who see this film I imagine you will revel in some nostalgic memories that Frankenweenie will evoke. I don’t want to give away too much but one character in this movie was based on and looks nearly identical to another character from one of the stop motion films from our youth. I will let you figure out which one. Also, there are others who were obviously based on classic horror film characters. I counted at least three but have a feeling there might be more. And I would probably know if their more if I knew a lot more about horror films, but sadly, I was not unlike the little 8 year-old who skedaddled out of the theatre when I was her age.
All-in-all, Frankenweenie is the classic Frankenstein tale, no pun intended, so it won’t win any originality awards, but there was a good message about loss, science and trying to obtain things for the wrong reasons. A good message for the youngsters out there – and perhaps for a few adults as well.
My favorite part: The one character that reminded me of another character from my youth.
My least favorite: That it reminded me of the loss of my first dog.
Directed (original story) by Tim Burton, Walt Disney Pictures, 2012
Screenplay: Leonard Ripps, John August and Tim Burton.
Starring: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Landau.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Horror and Sci-fi.
Length: 87 minutes
Review: 7 out of 10
Tags: 2012, animation, Catherine O'Hara, comedy, dealing with loss, Frankenstein, Frankenweenie, horror, love of a pet, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Stop motion animation, Tim Burton, Walt Disney Pictures, Winona Ryder