Frankenweenie tells the tale of a young boy named Victor who brings his perished dog Sparky back to life. Little does he know the consequences of his scientific breakthrough as it creates mayhem in his small town of New Holland.
I have been excited for Frankenweenie since early this year. I saw the first trailer and I was immediately pumped. I loved Tim Burton's original 1984 Frankenweenie film with Daniel Stern and I wasn't sure if this new one would top it. I must say that I honestly and truly think this is the best Tim Burton film we have received in the past 15 years. It is much better than Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which are both crap imo. I thought it was still more enjoyable than Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, and even Corpse Bride.
The animation is fantastic! I love that he returned to the stop animation and that it was in black & white. It added to the atmosphere of the story and it worked really well with how the town was designed. I also loved the voice talent used. Catherine O'Hara was fantastic as was Martin Short and Winona Ryder. I was really excited to have them a part of this movie. The kids were also well voiced and the dialogue had its funny moments which helped lighten the mood a bit.
What I loved was Tim Burton kind of returning to his roots both with the cast and the style. It was very much like his short film "Vincent" and had a lot of elements from the 1984 Frankenweenie short. It is the first film since Big Fish to not have Johnny Depp and the first since Sleepy Hollow to not have Helena Bonham Carter and I think that was a wise move. I love both of them but there comes a time where enough is enough. They were paired together for Corpse Bride and I think it would have been redundant to pair them again for Frankenweenie. I have no doubt if they were cast they would have voiced Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein. He used this opportunity to reunite himself with Winona Ryder, who hasn't worked with him since Edward Scissorhands, and Catherine O'Hara.
In terms of the plot it is very simple but it is played out very nicely. Nothing feels too rushed or too slow. I thought it was the perfect pace and there is a lot to touch someone who has ever been a pet owner. I will admit that my eyes got a bit misty when Sparky passes away because it reminded me of when I lost my first dog. You understand how Victor feels in just wanting his dog back.
One thing I loved was the amount of adults laughing throughout the movie. Yes, it is a kids movie but I love it when as an adult you are able to enjoy it just as much as the children. The dialogue had funny moments and the characters were priceless. The "weird girl" was probably the best character in the whole movie for me. She was hilarious and her cat Mr. Whiskers was just as funny. Catherine O'Hara did a fantastic job voicing her.
Another thing I want to mention is the tie into previous Burton films. The general feel of the town, New Holland, made me think of Edward Scissorhands. The general family structure of the working father with the homemaker mother sitting at home was similar along with the design of the neighborhood. The houses seemed very old-fashioned, like they were in Scissorhands, with perfect yards and gardens. You also can notice the similarities between characters. The Mayor especially reminded me of Mr. Everglot from Corpse Bride. You also notice a striking similarity between Victor Frankenstein and Corpse Bride's main character Victor Van Dort. Also the mutant sea monkeys looking like the swamp monster from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Overall I would give Frankenweenie an easy A rating. It was truly a joy and I am very happy to say that I finally have the Tim Burton I love back. I hope it stays this way from now on and he stops making ridiculous movies like Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes.
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