Tim Burton is back!
After a string of rather average movies, it seems that this quirky
director has found his groove again and Frankenweenie is one of
the most bizarre and fun films of the year. Although this is not the
first time Frankenweenie has seen the light of day, Burton helped bring
this story to life in 1984 which was a live action incarnation of the
story of Victor Frankenstein who used science to bring his dog back from
the dead. Unlike the original film, this film has a considerable bigger
budget and uses stop-motion animation to bring this comedy-horror to
life. Who would have thought that a story about a boy and his dog could
be so emotional?
The star of Frankenweenie is Victor
Frankenstein (Carlie Tahan), a young boy who happens to love science and
movie making. However his dog and best friend in the world, Sparky,
comes first and when he is accidentally killed by a car while chasing a
ball, Victor is left heart broken.
With his life crushed by this incident, his
favourite teacher, Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau) inspires him to use
science to bring back his best friend. As he sneaks past his parents
(Catherine O'Hara & Martin Short) on the even of a huge storm in the
city of New Holland, he does the unthinkable and digs up his dog. Upon
returning home, he creates the ultimate science experiment and just like
the original Frankenstein, Sparky is brought to life thanks to the power
In order to keep his dog safe, he hides
Sparky from his parents, however one of his school colleagues, the
hunchback Edgar Gore (Atticus Shaffer) discovers Victor's secret and
blackmails him into revealing the mysteries of life and death. However
our sneaky hunchback cannot keep the secret to himself which leads his
other classmates in discovering this power.
As a result, the Weird Girl (Catherine
O'Hara) of the school merges her cat Mr. Whiskers with a dead bat to
become a Vampire batcat, Nassor brings back his mummified hamster
Colossus, Edgar resurrects a dead rat that in turn becomes a Were-rat,
Bob amplifies the size of Sea Monkeys which becomes these Gremlin-like
creatures and Toshiaki's turtle Shelley turns into a giant Godzilla-like
With chaos is unleashed in the small town
of New Holland thanks to these students, it is up to Victor and his
knowledge of science to eliminate these threats in some very
unpredictable ways. Just like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Frankenweenie
has some strong parallels that really tug at your heartstrings.
It is hard to believe that a stop motion
film is crammed with so much emotion and Burton should be commended in
making the inanimate animate. To compliment Victor's character, there
are some great moments with the other characters thanks to the voice
acting behind the characters.
Martin Landau is perfect as the creepy
Eastern European science teacher Mr. Rzykruski as is Catherine O'Hara
who not only plays Susan Frankenstein but also the Weird Girl who
believes her cat is psychic, especially as she interprets his droppings
as psychic messages. It's truly a classic moment in the film.
Another great character is Edgar who is
played delightfully by Atticus Shaffer with this amazing cheeky
personality that you cannot help but smile when his character comes onto
the screen. Winona Ryder also plays Elsa Van Helsing, a neighbour of
Victor who also attends his school and becomes embroiled in the night of
the living dead in New Holland.
All in all, Frankenweenie is a fun family
movie that will not only tug at your heart strings but will leave you
walking out of the cinema feeling great. The only drawback in the film
is the use of 3D which is unfortunately is a little flat and there are
only a few standout moments. Nonetheless, Frankenweenie is a movie that
will be enjoyed by everyone.
Check it out!