In Tim Burton’s latest animated movie Frankenweenie, the main character, Victor (Charlie Tahan), loses his dog, Sparky, when he is run over by a car. Much to his parents’ (Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short) and neighbors’ dismay, Victor brings the dog back to life. After his classmate Edgar ‘E’ Gore (Atticus Shaffer) tells the world of this feat, many of the neighborhood pets return to wreak havoc in New Holland.
The retro, Burton-esque animation is right on par with the copious amount of old horror film references scattered throughout the movie. The movie itself is a spoof of Frankenstein — even paying homage to Frankenstein’s bride in one scene.
The part of the movie that really stops the show isn’t the animation at all — it’s the characters. Whether it be wide-eyed ‘Weird Girl’ or deformed Edgar ‘E’ Gore, the characters never cease to amuse. Their interactions with each other and with their formerly-dead pets are filled with slapstick humor and tend to steal each scene. Even Burton’s typical main character (socially withdrawn and somewhat awkward) Victor is lovable.
Despite the fantastic, black-and-white, stop-motion animation and amusing characters, the strictly PG plot itself lacked sophistication. In fact, the animation, movie references and characters almost completely took away from the actual story. Even so, it wasn’t such a bad thing; the characters each possessed their own unique appeal, and their usurpation of the film doesn’t upset as much as one might think.
Tim Burton creeps everyone out with his haunting Halloween movies, but, in Frankenweenie, it’s likable. After his flop Dark Shadows, it seems fitting for his comeback to be in the form of a film based on one of his shorts from the eighties.
If you’re a horror movie buff, or if you’re seeking an hour-and-a-half of mindless fun, you should set your sights on Frankenweenie, a fitting flick for this time of year.