By Robert Varga
Just in time for Halloween, Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” is a heartwarming movie about a boy and his dog, which follows the classic story of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
“Frankenweenie” is an expanded remake of Burton’s 1984 short film with the same title. The original was also released by Disney, but was live action, whereas this new feature-length film is done in stop-motion.
Burton has proved that he knows how to make captivating stop-motion films, with movies such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “James and the Giant Peach.” This is the first time Burton has done a black and white stop-motion film, which pays homage to classic “Frankenstein” movies.
“Frankenweenie” is the first feature-length black and white stop-motion film to be released in IMAX 3D. While the 3D effect can be a great addition in some films, the 3D in “Frankenweenie” does not seem necessary and could even be seen as detracting from the film’s classic style.
When Burton’s original “Frankenweenie” was introduced, Disney felt that it was too dark for children and considered the movie a complete waste of money.
Now that Burton is a successful director and producer, Disney has no problem spending millions of dollars promoting “Frankenweenie,” which is good, because it is definitely worth seeing.
Unlike other Burton films, “Frankenweenie” has a much less dark and creepy vibe, which is odd because it is marketed as a horror style movie. There was nothing especially scary, so taking small children to go see it should not be an issue.
The first half of the movie progresses much like you would expect if you have seen any of the adaptations of the Frankenstein story. A boy’s dog dies and he misses him, so he brings him back to life and hilarity ensues.
The relationship between a boy and his dog is a story element that has been in movies for decades and it is still as charming as ever, even when the dog has electrodes in its neck and its tail keeps falling off.
Near the end of the movie, the action really ramps up, and the story loses a little of its charm. Burton seems to have a habit of creating these ridiculous scenarios that do not really add anything to the movie, such as the ending scene in his last film, “Dark Shadows.”
The movie stays true to Burton’s original vision of “Frankenweenie” and the ending is almost identical to the scene in the live action original.
The music in the film was excellent, as Burton once again uses the talents of Danny Elfman.
The voice acting was also well done, with familiar Burton movie cast members such as Winona Rider and Martin Short.
Although “Frankenweenie” is a film that stands on its own, comparisons can not help but be made to the other stop-motion horror movie that came out this year, “ParaNorman.”
If you only want to watch one stop-motion horror film this Halloween, “ParaNorman” is the better choice. If you have the time, though, both films are definitely worth a watch.
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