When young Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked "monster" wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been. Written by
If anywhere there was a braver ending needed, it's here. Kids could have learned that life is but fleeting, we all suffer heartbreak sooner or later, say goodbye to the ones we love... This is an important lesson indeed. But, no. In the interest of a few mums and dads having to tolerate some waterworks on the way home from the cinema, Burton decides to go for what is essentially a cop out. Rather cowardly, if you ask me.
The whole film has the feel of an old B movie (but is set in the present day) as it is shot entirely in black and white and contains more than one horror reference. Spookiness pervades the atmosphere, as Danny Elfman's Gothic score meanders in the background like a funeral march. Poor Victor loses his dog, and his mourning and subsequent resurrection of his pet carries real emotion weight.
This doesn't last though, as the plot stretches to Victor's classmates experimenting on other deceased creatures, turning them into freaks of nature that invade the town. This is an arresting spectacle, but a betrayal of what transpired before... turning the movie from a personal tale about a boy and his half-dead canine, into an OTT monster movie. It feels like a different film, and not one that matched up to the poignant first half.
Not for one minute would I suggest I could tell Mr Burton how to do his job. But I think less action, and more storytelling would have improved the final reel no end... As well as a more courageous conclusion. Oh well, everyone's a critic (Most don't enunciate their thoughts as well as I do, though)... ;) 6/10
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