(Pre)Holiday Season Movie Review: Frankenweenie

I would be surprised if there is anyone out there who is unaware of whom Tim Burton is. Or perhaps, they may not know his name, but I doubt there is anyone out there (Amish and Mennonites excluded, the Bushman tribes too) who haven’t either (a) seen one of this movies or (2) heard of one of his movies. With cult films such as Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007), and Alice in Wonderland (2010) among so many others, Burton has a wide array of fans. From live action to stop-motion animation, I honestly think there is something for everyone in Burton’s works. I find his mix of dark humor, light moments, and overall fantastic story telling captivating. And while I may not be a fan of some of his most popular works (i.e. The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, and James and the Giant Peach), I am a huge fan of his dedication (and his crew’s dedication) to the intricacies of stop-motion animation.

In his classic animation style, Burton brings to the big screen a story with a long history. In his original pitch to Disney years ago, Burton was turned away for his tale of a young boys eternal love for his dog (i.e. classic boy and his dog story) much too dark for it’s young audiences. But, with widespread macabre hits like Nightmare and Corpse Bride, Disney gave Burton’s Frankenweenie a second chance. And, LORD HAVE MERCY thank goodness they did.

Without giving much away, and how much can you give away with a modern take on the classic Victorian Gothic novel, Frankenstein, Frankenweenie takes it’s audience into the strange town of New Holland circa an era much like the 1950s/1960s, home to young Victor Frankenstein and his beloved dog, Sparky. But as all stories go when it comes to the Frankenstein theme, something must die in order to be brought to life. And in a way that made not only myself, but my sister Emily and her two best friends cry (ok..we were sobbing), Victor is suddenly thrust into a world without his best friend and ever-present canine. (Note: bring tissues friends, you won’t regret it…this sounds familiar..perhaps mentioned in a previous post).

But fear not loves, Sparky is not gone forever. Not with a brilliant, beyond brilliant idea developing in Victor’s head after his slight terrifying, but ultimately hilarious and loveable science teacher and the school’s science fair project. With dedication, science, and more gadgets, gizmos, and smarts than I have ever had, Victor does succeed in bringing back his friend.

But all good things must come with something bad. When local loner Igor discovers Victor’s secret he cannot but succumb to the temptation of spreading his new-found knowledge with all his classmates in the effort to boost his own popularity. And as we all know, nothing good comes from a bout of jealousy.

Frankenweeine will make you laugh, cry, gasp, and giggle. It will entertain the young (there were numerous younger kids in the theater with us, and I will just say, I didn’t hear a peep out of them which is always a good sign), the teens (my sister and her friends are all high school juniors and seniors), people like me (25 and living with Mom and Dad) and all other age/race/whatever groups. And as mentioned earlier, if you are at all emotional, or if you have ever experienced the loss of a most beloved pet, please bring tissues. Do not be like us and have to sniffle the whole movie. Not that you will cry the whole movie, but well, you may cry at multiple occasions.

*cough* I swear, I am not a baby like this in all movies (or maybe I am…)

My only complaint would be this, there comes a point when teasing the audience becomes too much. There is a scene in the final moments of the movie which had me crying even though I knew a different outcome would occur. No use in dragging out something we know isn’t true. But really that was the only thing.

Ten thumbs up for all the Godzilla references with the Asian character, maybe a touch racist, but oh so funny and appropriate for one of Burton’s movies.

My thoughts, definitely a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me. And don’t bother seeing Frankenweenie in 3D. I don’t ever recommend seeing a movie in such a style. It 3D is a must for you, please see it in it’s regular 2D form first. It’s more natural and you aren’t wasting your money on what ultimately becomes a blurry movie.

Do you think differently? Let me know, I always enjoy sharing thoughts of such things as movies.