Monday, January 21, 2013


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Frankenweenie – 3 out of 5

It's disturbing to imagine the kid had to sow his dog
back together.
Years ago before Tim Burton met his true love; Johnny Depp, and before he made one of the only good films he ever made (A Nightmare Before Christmas) he worked for Disney and made a short film called Frankenweenie and despite it’s title, it was not a porn adaptation of Frankenstein. It was a tale about a heartbroken boy who lost his dog and decided to get all mad-scientist on the world and resurrect the best friend of man. Disney felt the film was too dark—and if you consider the awful deaths Disney gives their films’ villains and how relatively tame the short film is it’s obvious the company has a loose understanding about what constitutes “dark”—and ultimately Burton was fired. Not one to not make money on something, Disney later released the film on VHS when Burton became famous. Later, realizing that both Disney and Burton are out of ideas (of course, they made have realized that with Alice in Wonderland), the remade the short into a feature length stop-motion animated film.

Also the kid from The Never Ending Story is in it and it proves he does literally
everything possible to not attend school.

The story is absolutely the same as the original short film. Victor Frankenstein (because Burton is the master of subtlety) loses his pet dog Sparky. Overcome by grief and inspired by his science teacher; Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau), Victor (Charlie Tahan) uses electricity to bring Sparky back to life (once again; subtlety). He tries to keep this a secret but his mom (Catherine O’Hara), father (Martin Short) and the townspeople quickly discover the secret and they get all angry mob on them (once again…subtlety).

"Get me Vincent Price for this Vincent Price-looking guy," - Tim Burton
"Uh, sir, he died,"- Tim Burton's assistant

When you get down to it, this is Burton’s third time reimagining the story of Frankenstein: You have his original short, Edward Scissorhands and now the remake of Frankenweenie. I think it’s time you start to move on to a different story, Burton (or maybe that's the only book you've ever read)…and maybe a different cast.

Gamera is friend to children?  Check the sex offender list.

A lot of director’s like to reuse actors they’ve become friends with (or a potential case for man love as it is with Depp and Burton) but Burton’s obsession with the same actors is just become potential for an unfunny internet meme. For example, Catherine O’Hara is here and we remember her from Beetlejuice but do you also remember Winona Ryder from that one as Lydia Deetz? Well, Burton wants you to remember too so he casts her in the film and even has the character look EXACTLY LIKE LYDIA FUCKING DEETZ!!!

"I had a good idea once years back...let's just use it again." - Tim Burton

It gets even more Single White Female-ery as this is one of Burton’s few Johnny Depp-less films but that won’t stop him from putting Depp into his movie. He decides to have the model of Victor look like Depp. Yeah, nothing stalker-ish or serial killer-like about that. One can only imagine that Burton had a figure made of him and he sat on the set at night by himself making the two dolls make out. Actually, at this point it wouldn’t shock me.
One would imagine Burton writes "Depp + Burton 4 Ever" all over notebooks.
(Drink every time I make a joke about Depp and Burton's partnership)

I know I sound mean but Frankenweenie isn’t that bad. The voice acting is good—especially the great Igor impression that Atticus Shaffer does for the character of Edgar.


The animation is also very good however not as clean or crisp as Burton's other dives into stop-motion animation. In fact, when compared to A Nightmare Before Christmas and his other film that feels like it’s just a bunch of deleted scenes from A Nightmare Before Christmas edited together and called Corpse Bride, this film looks very dingy and dark—and I don’t mean dark as in tone but dark as in I started to wonder if my eyes were starting to fail me. However, this is done to go with Burton’s theme of ripping off paying homage to the classic Universal horror films of old.

Awwww, isn't that adorable?  The abomination against God wants to die and be
put out of its misery!

Frankenweenie has some elements working for it that makes it a mildly enjoyable movie to watch but, beneath it all, it’s still another example of Tim Burton doing as little as possible to be creative and, instead, just ride his name in order to make a movie. Everything from the overly familiar character design to the overused story to the fact that this is just another on the growing list of clichĂ©, Hot Topic-brand gothic stop-motion animated movies that Tim Burton will keep shitting out until the day we all finally realize he hasn’t done an original story in over a decade and a half.

1 comment:

  1. Thankfully, Burton comes back to form with this material and makes it a dark, yet heartfelt tale that never goes that extra-mile to pull on our heartstrings and tell the kiddies something new about life and death, but at least it’s pleasant enough. Hopefully, Burton can keep this winning-record going. Good review Ron.


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