Movie Review: Frankenweenie
We check out Tim Burton’s tribute to classic movie monsters and the love of a boy for his dog
By: Lynn Barker
Sometimes you just can’t let go. When you are a mega-smart science nerd like young Victor Frankenstein, you just don’t settle for losing your best friend.
A Boy and His Dog
Young Victor Frankenstein (voice of Charlie Tahan) is a smart loner kid who tinkers with gadgets in his attic workshop and makes his own 3-D films starring his beloved pup Sparky. Victor is so devoted to Sparky and his films that his parents advise him to get outdoors and play some sports.
Victor actually does hit a baseball with real power but the happy moment is ruined when Sparky is hit by a car while chasing Victor’s homerun ball. Super sad, Victor remains depressed about losing Sparky. Nothing he used to love interests him. His parents tell him “If we could bring him back, we would”.
Amping up for the school science fair, all the kids are determined to win. Victor’s creepy/cool science teacher Mr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau) shows his class how to use electric current to make a dead frog’s legs still move. Victor rushes out, brings Sparky home, hooks him up to some metal whizbangs and draws lightning down with a kite. It works! Sparky, a little worse for wear, springs back to life!
Nosy Friend Spills the Beans
Victor tries to hide the “new” Sparky (we can now call him Frankenweenie), from his parents and friends but weird, jealous pal Edgar E. Gore (voiced by Atticus Shaffer) finds out and tells other rival science fair competitors who all decide to copycat by bringing various critters to life in original ways.
All Heck Breaks Loose
The kids reanimate, bring life to or transform a bag of “Sea-Monkeys”, a dead hamster/mummy, a fish, a turtle, a bat/cat and more animals that become larger or more threatening by the minute, putting the entire town in danger. Sparky gets loose and runs all over the city.
Can Victor and Sparky put things right and save the day? Will Sparky return to the afterlife or stay with Victor?
Years ago director Tim Burton made a live action Frankenweenie short film that I loved. If you are fond of old, classic monster movies and would love to have a beloved, past-away pet alive and back in your life, you will simply love this quirky, well-made, 3-D, stop motion, animated movie.
Horror fan or not, you’ll get into the fun, creative characters and re-animated critters in the film. What is more non-threatening but Halloween-time cute than a tiny hamster mummy named Colossus? What is more heart-warming than puppy love between Sparky and the poodle next door who, with a flirty nose-rub from the electrified dog, becomes “Bride of Frankenweenie”?
Although the idea of a pet dying is very sad and we need to realize and accept that we almost always will outlive our pets, Tim Burton’s fantasy “what-if” tale of a boy who uses his scientific smarts to fight those facts, makes a very entertaining film. Voice actors do a great job and classic horror film fans will pick out countless tributes to old movie monsters. This one will entertain you, your kid bro and parents alike. Go!
Victor Courtesy of Disney
Sparky Courtesy of Disney
Edgar "E" Gore Courtesy of Disney
Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein Courtesy of Disney
Elsa Van Helsing Courtesy of Disney
Persephone Courtesy of Disney
Nassor Courtesy of Disney
Mr. Rzykruski Courtesy of Disney
Toshiaki Courtesy of Disney
Bob Courtesy of Disney
Bob's Mom Courtesy of Disney
Weird Girl Courtesy of Disney