Sunday, January 13, 2013

Frankenweenie Review

            Released this past weekend was Tim Burton’s latest animated film, Frankenweenie.  This new stop-motion film features the voice talents of Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and Tom Kenny.  Fresh and fun, Frankenweenie makes a tribute to the old-styles of film making by revamping it through its animation.  A family-friendly re-telling of the 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein¸ Frankenweenie is absolutely delightful.

The film follows a young Victor Frankenstein’s mission to pick a science project to display in his school’s annual science fair. In the midst of choosing, his dog Sparky dies.  He then becomes inspired to bring his pup back to life.  With the help of some household appliances, lightning, and a whole lotta love, Victor experiments and brings his beloved pup back to life.  With science at his side, the resurrection is successful and Sparky is able to do as he did before.  But, as all Frankensteins learn, with every little experiment comes big trouble.

Characteristics of a Tim Burton-esque film are seen, such as lack of color, stop-motion animation, and dead people.  All it was missing was Johnny Depp, although one can argue the Victor Frankenstein puppet did have a striking resemblance to the actor…

This film is actually the first film since Big Fish in 2003 that Johnny Depp hasn’t been a part of that Tim Burton directed. 

Making this movie in black-and-white as opposed to color was done as homage to the old film versions of Frankenstein.  It was much better off monochromatically filmed, as it enhanced the overall effect of a Frankensteinistic mood.  Burton has made several films with darker, drearier lighting before, such as Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

The Frankenweenie that was released this year is actually a remake of a short film about thirty minutes long Burton did in 1984 under the same title.  It included the talents of Barrett Oliver, Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern.  However, the original Frankenweenie never made it to the big screen, as Walt Disney Pictures fired Burton for making something “too scary for younger audiences.”  The project was then abandoned until 2005.  It didn’t get on its feet up until January 2009, when a script was written.  Numerous animators and artists of Corpse Bride teamed up again for Frankenweenie.    
As opposed to how critics originally viewed Burton’s first Frankenweenie, the animated remake proves to be wonderful, the perfect film to get you in a Halloween mood.  This movie is funny and cute the whole way through, while still retaining its Frankenstein flair.  Anyone who has read Frankenstein or have seen the movie versions will be pleased with how it follows along with Shelley’s original storyline.  A creature produced by unusual science experiments comes from the result of a man (or boy) by the name of Frankenstein. Complete with an angry mob scene and little nuances of other creature-feature films, Frankenweenie will send audiences home satisfied and infatuated with such a witty retelling of a classic story.