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It's hard not to like this film. You'll especially enjoy it if you've seen
(a) James Whale's "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein," and (b) Tim
Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas."
The plot is basically the Frankenstein legend. The variation is that it's about a little boy whose dog has been hit by a car. The boy raises the dog from the dead a la Frankenstein. Charming complications ensue.
This was Tim Burton's first film, and it's a great harbinger of things to come. Burton was an animator at Disney, but the company thought he was a little too weird and let him go as an animator. This film shows how he would treat children's films, and it's delightful. You'll recognize the art direction, especially in the graveyard, from "Nightmare."
The film does a wonderful job of including nuances from the Whale flicks, from the electrodes on the dog's neck to the resuscitation lab to the brief parody of "Bride."
There's enough scary-ish stuff (slightly more gentle than meeting the Almighty Oz) to keep kids going, and enough recognizable movie riffs and humor to keep adults going. What's not to like?
Frankenweenie is ironic because it was banned for being too out there for kids yet crap like Pokemon and Power Rangers is ok for them. The kid from Neverending Story stars as a kid who loves his dog and one day when his dog is killed he resurrects him from the dead, ala Frankenstein and lets his dog live again. This is a cute film and is noteworthy as being a creative concept by Tim Burton. If it wasnt for this movie, Pee wee's big adventure would have never existed.***1/2
Saw this on the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD and thought it was
pretty good. Apparently Disney thought it was too dark but with the
exception of one shot of the dead dog it was actually pretty cute.
Some of the performances were over the top (neighbors) but I am pretty sure that was supposed to happen - I mean come on we're talking about resurrecting a dog people. The ending is a little sappy but that's because it's a family film I suppose. I really did enjoy seeing Frankenstein replayed in the tale of a dog as well as references to Bride of Frankenstein etc. What is particularly weird is seeing Daniel Stern & Shelly Duval play parent roles, as well as the kid who played the older brother on The Wonder Years. For the most part the pacing is good since I almost never checked my watch.
Good camera work for a young Tim Burton and overall decent movie which shows the latent talent of Mr. Burton before he got really famous.
I can't believe that Disney wouldn't let Tim Burton release this! They thought that it was too scary for kids?! Puh-leeze! "Frankenweenie" is a really cool movie! Basically a spoof of Mary Shelley's classic novel, the movie features suburban American boy Victor Frankenstein (Barret Oliver) resurrecting his dog Sparky, who got run over by a car. Needless to say, the reanimated dog creates some chaos once the neighbors meet him! I would imagine that they probably had a lot of fun filming this. Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern play Victor's parents Susan and Ben, respectively. Paul Bartel also stars, and there's even a very young Sofia Coppola. "Frankenweenie" is a real treat for everyone!
Ah, Tim Burton. One of the greatest and strangest directors in the
world. I was lucky enough to have seen "Frankenweenie". It was one of
the many wonderful extra features on "Nightmare before Christmas". I
would highly recommend this to any Tim Burton fan. It is in fact
probably a must. You get to see his early work. It is very interesting
on his take of "Frankenstein". The story has some laughs. I think it
was meant that way. So if you enjoy any of Tim Burton's stories, I
think you will definitely enjoy this one. "Frankenweenie" is a great
story. Tim Burton. He has come a long way from these days.
Though this is one of Burton's earlier, shorter, and less popular films, it is perhaps one of his most creative and early "spoofs" (though I would not truly call it a spoof.) Burton created a wonderful, childish look at the classic horror film on which this was based. The greatest scene of the movie is the pet cemetery, with the small tombstones displaying the types of pets buried there (a fishbowl for fish, a cat with X's as eyes, etc.) And the putt putt golf course that serves as the famous windmill scene. I must also commend Burton for choosing to make this film in black and white. During the first few minutes I was not sure if it was going to work, but after most of the film, I realized that it was perfect. Original, cute, and obviously Tim Burton, this film is good for everyone, regardless of what Disney thinks (I guess they were afraid that kids would start digging up the graves of their old dead pets and end of shocking themselves.)
This short story is a flat out classic. It's funny and unique. And who
better to direct than Tim Burton. The story is about the Frankensteins, a
normal suburban family in modern times. Victor, the young son, is
crestfallen when his dog Sparky dies.
The movie is very funny and original, and I'm glad that Tim Burton decided to do this movie in black and white, as he did 10 years later with his masterpiece Ed Wood. Frankenweenie is just a fun and original idea that is glad to be a short and mostly unknown movie. A great film.
I just love this A classic, immortal story enriched with personal ingeniousness! That's exactly what Tim Burton did here! His jolly little film introduces us to the 10-year-old Victor Frankenstein who can't bear the loss of his beloved dog. A car hit Sparky and Victor doesn't want any other dog to replace him. So, he sews him back in one piece and reanimates him electrically! This short only lasts a good half hour but that's more than enough time for Burton to inject memorable sequences, black humor and a healthy dose of social criticism. Burton mocks the life in small American villages, like he'd do it again later in his classic `Edward Scissorhands'. The director also knows the classic Frankenstein version by heart and terrifically reuses the settings and atmosphere here. Just look at that adorable scene with the miniature windmill near the end! An outstanding short with humor, a bit of tension and even good acting! Frankenweenie stars Daniel Stern (C.H.U.D) and Shelley Duvall (The Shining). It can be found as an extra feature on the Nightmare Before Christmas Special Edition DVD, for example.
Along with Vincent, this short is featured on the DVD of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Since I first read about it here on IMDb, I've wanted to watch it. It's a delightful little film version of Frankenstein, seen from a child's perspective, and with charm and a sweet sense of humor. You'd be hard pressed to find a film that, whilst remaining somewhat dark, still manages to appeal to the kid in all of us so well. Most anyone can enjoy this. The fact that Burton was fired from Disney for making this kind of film is quite sad. This short displays beyond any doubt that Tim could easily have handled great children's films. The plot is well-written and moves along nicely. The scene of Sparky's demise is almost painful to watch, as it is so easy to see where it's going, how it'll end. But Burton holds us there, keeps us in a position where we can only watch, anticipating what will happen but do nothing. The way the story develops and ends works very well. I shouldn't write it out in detail, as it is far too great to spoil. The acting is solid, with few, if any, performances lacking. The characters are credible, if slightly grotesque at times(a trait Burton brings to most of his projects, be they about the living or otherwise). The writing is very good all-round. The humor is neither cruel nor juvenile... just about everyone can laugh at it. It is at times somewhat dark, though. Not much left to say... I enjoyed this simply shot, fun little movie, a sign of great things to come for Tim Burton. I recommend this to any fans of him and anyone looking to watch alternate re-tellings of the great novel. 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After I saw Tim Burton's full feature 'Frankenweenie' (2012) I
discovered that I'd not yet seen 'Frankenweenie' (1984). I didn't know
it was 'real-life' as opposed to the animated 2012 version, but that
doesn't have to be a problem. But even though this one has its charms,
it wasn't all that great.
The premise is a funny one, but the developments are rather lame, particularly when in the end those annoying neighbors have a sudden change of heart. Then there is the lead who plays Victor, he fails to earn my sympathy. Actually, there isn't any character that is sympathetic, which also has to do with the lame story and the fact that Burton doesn't seem to know what to do with this short story other than hauling in cliché after cliché - pretty much the only original thing here is the premise, but that is simply not enough.
I can sense Burton's enthusiasm here and there though, like when the boy goes to work in the attic in order to spark Sparky back to life. But all in all, this makes for a world of difference with Burton's wonderful (animated) short that preceded this, 'Vincent' (1982), and of course with other, later feature length masterpieces.
5 out of 10.
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