0 10/18/2012 reviews Movies

Film Review: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie_(2012_film)_poster.jpgMuch to the chagrin of his father (Martin Short), young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is not a sporty kid. He’s a bookish ten year-old who rides around the town of New Holland on his bike. He prefers to spend his time making stop action movies which he screens for his family. His best friend is his dog, Sparky. But Victor is a bright kid and he enjoys his imaginative world.

One day however, his world is shaken when Sparky gets killed in an accident. Victor is distraught. Unable to accept the loss of his beloved pet, he finds hope and inspiration in his spooky science teacher – Mr.Rzykryski (Martin Landau). Victor harnesses lightning to bring Sparky to life in an animated version of a story we all know so well.
The story of Frankenweenie is based of course on Frankenstein, the Mary Shelley novel. But the black and white look of this stop action film draws its inspiration from the classic 1931 film by the same name.

frankenweenie-homage-blond girl.jpgFans of Tim Burton will recognize the classic dark/gothic look of this film as an extension of  his past films. There are few directors working today who can top Burton when it comes to creating a visually rich and unique world on film that totally sucks you in. Where else but in a Burton film can you find a cat which poops out predictions? Or an invisible goldfish?

The animation is striking and Victor’s school mates are an eccentric cast of creepy misfits Edgar.jpgwho are lovingly rendered and brimming with their own oddball personalities. There’s Edgar the hunchback (inspired by famous Igor) who discovers Victor’s secret, neighbour Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder) who helps Victor and Toshiaki, the Japanese student who wants to win the science fair at all costs. That’s just a few examples! The creepiness of these characters draws you into the magical world of New Holland and it’s a wonderful cinematic experience.
Best Quotes:
1. Edgar: “Your dog is ALIIIIIVE!”
2. Ben: “Victor brought an animal back to life. We can do better!”
Interesting Fact:
Burton first made this as a short film called Frankenweenie back in 1984 for Disney. But they deemed it too dark and shelved it. Of course once he became a famous director, they let him make the feature-length version.
Who to see it with:
You don’t have to like or be familiar with any of the previous Burton films to appreciate Frankenweenie. This comedy-horror homage to the classic black and white movie  is a joy to watch in IMAX-3D.  I screened this with my 9 year old son and his friend of the same age and both boys loved the movie. The dark humour appealed to both kids and us adults and the story’s familiar enough that the jokes and characters really resonate.
Frankeweenie is rated PG and is playing in theatres across the country.

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