As a fan of Tim Burton, I think it will come as no surprise to other fans that I’ve become a bit disillusioned with his work after a few mediocre, uninspired films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. His work seemed to have lost a bit of what makes the films special over the last few years but 2012 seems to be the year that Mr. Burton is getting back to basics, literally and figuratively.
First off came Dark Shadows which was by no means perfect but it was a lot of fun, and each and every actor chewed through their lines with so much enthusiasm that it really turned an otherwise mediocre film into something you can’t help but enjoy. Frankenweenie, on the other hand, is a horse of a different colour. It seems like Mr. Burton has shaken the proverbial etch-a-sketch and decided to go back to making the films that earned him all his very loyal (and patient) fans.
For the uninformed, Frankenweenie 3D is a remake of Tim Burton’s own 1984 short film of the same name, and is also a return to the glorious stop-motion animation that we’ve grown to love with other favourites like The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas and is definitely also a return to his now-familiar gothic style which, if I may add, is incredibly well done.
The plot revolves around young Victor Frankenstein, who likes nothing more than to make home movies and spend time with his beloved dog Sparky. After Sparky is run over by a car, Victor takes inspiration from his creepy science teacher’s lessons and manages to reanimate Sparky in a very typical Frankenstein fashion. Throw in a few creepy girls, a creepy cat, creepy asian kids, a creepy cat and a creepy wannabe Igor kid…you see where I am going with this. Okay, I’m going to stop using the word creepy…at least till my next Burton review.
Part family film, part horror parody, part monster film, Frankenweenie clearly pays homage to the horror classics. Besides Frankenstein, we are graced with a clip of Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, and the film also makes clear nods Godzilla and werewolves with even a little Stephen King thrown into the mix, with a particularly spooky pet cemetery.
Regarding the subject matter, slightly more sensitive kids (and possibly adults) might be a bit disturbed by the the dark humor and some of the content, but it really is a fantastically fun ride from start to finish. I was slightly nervous about it being too heartwarming for my liking, as some animation films tend to be, but the sentiment is handled admirably without having to compromise the main themes of the story. If you find the thought of a young kid digging up his dead dog’s grave to try and electrocute the corpse with lightning a bit too macabre, this might not be the film for you, though!
As you all know I have a lot to say about 3D films (and how much I despise it) but while I am ecstatic to see the film in glorious 2D, I found myself enjoying the way the 3D was approached. Honestly, I MIGHT even admit to enjoying it but shhh…don’t tell anyone! I think it might have to do with the fact that the film is in black and white, and it suits the stop-motion style of animation quite beautifully. I’m serious though…don’t tell anyone I said it.
What more is there to say? This is definitely a love letter from Tim Burton to all his fans, and hopefully the start of many more great films from a director who, like Tarantino, works best when they make films for their favourite audience…themselves. I loved it and I have a feeling you will love it too!
Last Updated: October 29, 2012