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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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Frankenweenie" is a brilliant short. I don't even particularly enjoy
Tim Burton's movies, but this one is really good. This is his greatest
achievement. It's a bit difficult to describe this mini-film. It is
genial, plain, simple, macabre, dark, dramatic, touching, disturbing,
cute, comical and fun at times... It's a tribute to the Gothic horror
genre, yet there's practically nothing scary about it. It isn't one of
those commercial terror/horror films from recent years or nowadays.
This is a classic.
One of the most distinguish things about this movie is that it is entirely in black and white, despite being a production from the 1980's. Perhaps they did it to make the story feel more heavy and darker. Or maybe they did it to accent the spirit of Frankenstein. It also accents the nostalgic feeling/spirit. You know something? It actually works! Considering I don't say the same thing about "Schindler's List", some folks might wonder how can I possibly feel the opposite about "Frankenweenie". All I can say is that some things just can't be explained - one simply feels them.
This is a very well done short film and its plot is equally interesting. The story's about Victor Frankenstein and his friendship with his beloved dog, Sparky (a Bull Terrier). Although it's sad to see the dog dying twice, it is happy to see that the dog is brought back to life. For example, Victor makes use of electrical impulses in muscles learned at school and even creates genial machines which resuscitate his pet by bringing a bolt of lightning.
At one point, Victor correctly says that «People are weird» because his neighbors fear his dog with no reason. In the meantime, a mess caused by their anger makes Sparky run away and Victor goes after him. They end up finding themselves in a miniature golf course and use its flagship windmill as their hiding place. However, they are soon found and an accident lits the windmill on fire. Victor nearly dies, but Sparky saves him just in time. Sparky dies again, but this time people recognize him as a hero and bring him back to life. Our story has a happy ending.
The friendship between Victor and Sparky together with the fact that Sparky rescues Victor makes me understand why Bull Terriers are considered such good dogs for children and also that they have a natural instinct of protection towards children. These «canine gladiators» are lovable dogs with a jolly character and their peculiar appearance is unique, being their egg-shaped head their most distinctive feature.
Generally speaking, the actors are good in their roles. Shelley Duvall is good as Susan Frankenstein. Daniel Stern, best known for playing Marv in the first two "Home Alone" films, portrays here Ben Frankenstein and he's good too. Barret Oliver, a familiar actor from "The Neverending Story" and "D.A.R.Y.L" (both awesome movies), as well as one of the best and cutest child actors of all time, is excellent in the role of Victor Frankenstein. And last, but not least, there is Sparky (his name was really Sparky), as formidable and as intelligent as a dog can be in the acting business.
I am surprised that this motion picture is from Disney studios. This is perfect to watch anytime of the year, not just on Halloween.
Some elements in this small film remind me of "Back to the Future", particularly when Victor uses the elaborate machines to revive the dog, as well as the clocks seen in that room and the use of a bolt of lightning. Some of the sceneries, sequences and dark elements create this resemblance too. There is a bit of a "Back to the Future" atmosphere in this live-action short.
I've read that Tim Burton will make a "remake" of this, but as a full-length movie. It is more than good the way it is, why bothering to remake it? They can't use the same cast. Plus, Barret Oliver is an adult now and I think no one but him could do Victor Frankenstein. I also wonder: will they use a Bull Terrier to be Sparky this time? Or will they use a different dog breed?
This should definitely be on Top 250.
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