Movie Review: Frankenweenie is nothing to bark at

October 8th, 2012 at 4:40 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

 Click HERE to watch the trailer!

Frankenweenie is the brainchild of Tim Burton.  It’s the story of 10-year-old Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan of I Am Legend and Charlie St. Cloud) who lives in the picture perfect suburban town of New Holland.  Only things aren’t so perfect.  Victor’s parents (Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short) want him to be normal and encourage him to try baseball.  This foray leads to his beloved dog Sparky’s demise after being hit by a car.

Victor is devastated, but soon finds hope when his science teacher (Martin Landau in his best Bella Lugosi) demonstrates muscle reaction to electricity.  He soon digs Sparky up and hoists him through the roof of his attic laboratory during a lightning storm, and then, well, you can guess what happens.

Soon a classmate — Edgar Gore (whom they just call “E”… Played by Atticus Shaffer from TV’s The Middle)– learns the secret and then blabs it to other classmates.  That sends a slew of kids to the pet cemetery with the hopes of winning the upcoming science fair.  Things go horribly wrong and terror soon befalls New Holland.  And Victor’s next door neighbor, Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder) looks on through the eyes of a character that seems like a tribute to her character in Burton’s Beetlejuice.

As scenes play out adults will recognize lots of flashes from classic scary movies.  From The Birds to The Blob, King Kong to Gremlins and many more… Adults will smile at the realization and older kids will be content to see them for the first time.

Frankenweenie is Tim Burton at his best.  In black and white and 3D, the stop-motion animation is fantastic. I really enjoyed the story (despite a drag in story about half way through), and the visuals that accompany it were spot on.  It was clever and different. It was heartwarming and tragic.

Originally a live-action short in 1984 to accompany a Pinocchio release, but shelved by Disney.  Apparently It was never far from Burton’s mind and John August’s screenplay helped play out Burton’s characters…

Despite it’s PG rating… Parents of young children are strongly cautioned.  The morbid subject and Many parents left my screening with their young children. It will be interesting to see this film find an audience, especially with the Disney moniker on it.  It’s always weird for me going to Disney World and seeing the Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise in Disney’s Main Street stores. But Frankenweenie is sure to join it.


Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images and action.

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2 Responses to “Movie Review: Frankenweenie is nothing to bark at”

  1. Helen says:

    I love Tim Burton movies! The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies of all time. Some of my officemates at DISH are going to see Frankenweenie with their kids and invited my family, but that many kids at a movie theatre is too much for me so I’m going to wait. I put the movie in my Blockbuster @Home queue so I can watch it with my family when it comes out on DVD. That way it will be mailed to me when it’s released and I can just send it back after we watch it. The little dog in this one looks so cute, and I can’t wait to watch it with my kids.

    1. Stephanie Cooke says:

      Thanks for the comment. I love Tim Burton, too! I’m right there with you on the ton of kids in the theater. You will enjoy it either way as a Burton fan. It’s a little scary and sad depending on the ages of the kids. :-)

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