After Victor’s pet canine Sparky is killed by a car, the young scientist (Charlie Tahan) decides to bring him back to life with an unnatural electrical experiment. But after the bolt-necked creature shocks and terrorizes Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince everyone, including his parents, that despite Sparky’s appearance, he’s still man’s best friend.
Director: Tim Burton (“Dark Shadows,” “Alice in Wonderland”)
Writer: John August (“Dark Shadows,” “Corpse Bride”)
Based On: Burton’s 1984 short by the same name
Notable Voice Actors: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder
MY TAKE: “Frankenweenie” isn’t Tim Burton’s best movie by any means; however it’s not his worst either. It’s a very average animated tale geared toward kids. There are no serious consequences for the misbehavior of children in the film and no major lessons other than to stay true to oneself.
All of the characters in the flick are obvious stereotypes: tall, skinny, fat, foreign, old, and creepy. These pigeonholes are meant to evoke a lot of humor, although they really just come off cliché. The one good thing about the characters is that they’re all unapologetic about who they are. They don’t really care about what others think about their personalities and appearance. When it comes to voice acting, accents really come and go which is annoying, but less so once you realize those are the voices done by child actors.
There are two redeeming aspects to this film: a fluffy triangular-mouthed cat named Mr. Whiskers and the gorgeous style of animation. For some reason I couldn’t help laughing every time Mr. Whiskers came on screen, even though he didn’t actually do much. Burton’s methods of animation also lend themselves nicely to 3D. I was really impressed by all the textures presented in the movie; things like grass and hair had surprising depth. Certain dissolves really popped in 3D as well. Burton clearly labors to give this film a B monster movie look in homage to old cinema, something he’s quite successful in doing.
My Grade: C+