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Frankenweenie More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A mixed bag of bones

Author: DarthVoorhees from United States
9 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tim Burton has made a quintessential Tim Burton movie and the problem is that it is a Tim Burton movie in the worst possible way. 'Frankenweenie' is a cute little movie but being cute isn't enough to sustain it. Once the viewer has gotten past saying 'awww' at the cute little doggie 'Frankenweenie' becomes a very boring and predictable movie. It's gorgeous to look at but in the end Burton populates his film with soulless characters(which for all of Burton's strengths is his Achilles' heal).

'Frankenweenie' is a cute character and film. The dog is utterly adorable and anyone who loves dogs will love 'Frankenweenie' to a certain degree. I think the story of a boy and his dog is so classic and tugs at so many hearts that it kind of blinds people to when it is done badly as it is here. The dog is cute but the boy is boring. 'Frankenweenie' does not understand adolescence and thus it kind of fails at developing a rapport with it's audience in my opinion. Victor Frankenstein doesn't act like a real kid, he merely goes through the motions with hyper intensified trappings of childhood surrounding him. Burton loves archetypes and so instead of building characters he goes for crazy archetypes to substitute for character development. The sports vs. science fiction conflict is what is on Victor's plate for a good chunk of 'Frankenweenie' and I'm sorry but this is boring and predictable. 'Frankenweenie' doesn't have a single character in it. Burton has taken molded characters and sets them free on rigid paths. I just find this all the more disappointing in a children's movie because children's movies should give children's intelligence credit.

But at least the dog is cute.

The animation is of course stellar and Burton stages brilliant effects sequences that really showcase the quirkiness of everything. I was really hoping for something in the line of 'Beetlejuice' and while 'Beetlejuice' had a much better script visually 'Frankenweenie' does have moments that match the high points of that film. The film is at it's best when it acknowledges it's inspiration. I loved seeing scenes that hearken back to the Universal Monsters. By far my favorite sequence is the ending in the burning windmill which seems like James Whale's 'Frankenstein' on some tripped out hallucinogen right down to Victor being designed as the spitting image of Colin Clive.

Is 'Frankenweenie' worth the time? It's a Tim Burton movie and it's one of his weaker ones but I think kids ultimately will get some enjoyment out of it. The boy and his dog still has weight even if the actual story doesn't it.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

OK movie, not terribly exciting

Author: WatchedAllMovies from United States
29 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The plot is simple and not very interesting, the characters are not all very likable, and not all necessary. They can delete some of the classmates without affecting the movie much.

I hope no kids tried to duplicate the electrical experiments on their dead pet. They might end up with a charred dead pet, or a tripped circuit breaker.

Kids would enjoy this movie more than adults. I wonder why they couldn't spend a little more effort on the script/plot to make something enjoyable for adults as well. An earlier movie by Tim Burton -- Corpse Bride, is one of my favorite. That's a movie that can be enjoyed by all.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Status quo Burton

Author: plex from United States
20 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With the relatively recent injection of animated movies that cater to both parents and kids, I see no reason to offer films that are strictly for a child mentality WHEN the director has consistently offered-up projects that were clearly targeted for both. In this instance, Tim Burton has focused on, whether intentional or not, a strictly children's fare. I say this because only a child would find this film even remotely entertaining. IMO, it fails on nearly all fronts: from story line, to voice-over talent, to pacing, music ( even bland by Elfman's standards, which is saying something), and dynamics. Martin Landeau gives the only interesting voice over performance. The story is on the weak side as it fails to ever elevate in suspense or conflict. I never got the real connection between the boy and his dog. When the dog dies, the parents are seemingly despondent, not offering any concerns or care the next day. The attic of the house is about twice as tall as the main floor. We see our protagonist spend as much time digging up his dead pet and bringing it back home as he does to create the experiment to bring it back alive. The film looks like a cross between Edward Scissor hands and Ed Wood. Burton steals ideas from his other films and his MO(primarily his art-direction) is getting as tired as M. Night Shyamalan's. The only thing that made me react in a positive was the poodle being shocked into looking like the poodle version of the Bride of Frankenstein. Of course, there were some things taken from the original classic, Frankenstein, and that was to be expected; there was a semi-cute take on the laboratory, the villagers outcry, and mirrored characters ( like the Burgermiester, and more subtle Van Helsing exemplified by Ryder's VO ) We are led to believe that Victor is a genius, by conceiving/creating ( seemingly in only a couple of hours) this elaborate lab to pursue his experiment, but all of the other kids get the same result as him by simply hooking up charger cables and supplying electricity. It seem details like that were abandoned on purpose, but they need not be in a full length film, especially when so much detail was given in so many other visual ways. Burton has obviously mastered this format of animation and its a real pleasure to look at ( the only reason I gave it 4 stars) But this film conjures up no depth, is terribly paced, and is boringly bland. IMO, Tim's best works have been Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Ed Wood. All of them are different, yet subtly the same but that is his biggest problem, hiding the subtlety. I cant help but feel he lacks the ability to step back and take a look at the bigger picture ( no pun intended) to see the inappropriate commonality between most of his work: Same production team, same actors, same composer, same look! I hope he is not so arrogant or insecure to assume they all should be the same. If you ever want to change Tim, contact me to compose music, it would be a small start, and I'd do it for free.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

bad script, somewhat lacking design, not much originality

Author: cthulhulurks
6 February 2013

The beginning of the film was quite entertaining, especially the resurrection scene. It was all quite promising till the point where the kids decide to steal Victor's technology, disappointingly followed by an impressive pile of clichés. Would this be an example of lazy writing? The visual design was somewhat lacking too. The best elements are the resurrection, the design of Sparky, Mr. Whiskas and his SHITTY PROFECIES. BRUTON (sic!) of course could have done much better. One of the problems is that Bruton tries to cater to kids of any age filming material that clashes with any form of puritan upbringing. 6/10 because it's a 3D film, otherwise its a strong 4/10.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Oh my gosh, is this dull

Author: Jo Cassidy
15 January 2013

For a video review of 'Frankenweenie'(C)2012, try the link below!

Ah yes, the Clay-Mation remake of a much better, charming, early work of Tim Burton... That should have stayed that way. For those of you who love and enjoy the original 1984 film, this is not that film. This is a cash-in, plain and simple. If Burton was really trying with this one, either he's really gone mad or it's a lie since Disney fingerprints are all over it. OK, so the premise: Boy loves dog, boy loses dog, boy revives dog... and then an hour of drag, drag, drag. How could you make a story so freaking boring! Victor is boring, his parents are boring, the classmates are boring, and what the @#%$ is with the cat-poop omen!? Why am I watching this!?! Oh, and not to mention every single reference to Ed Wood, and monster movies, and horror literature. It brow-beats you over the head again and again, like it's trying to remind you that Tim Burton likes Ed Wood, monster movies, and horror literature: NO KIDDING!? Also, the animation in the classic Burton style is... unnecessary. A ploy to bring in the 'Nightmare Before Christmas' in hopes that a glimpse of something nostalgic comes back to life. Honestly, 'Paranorman' looks like art compared to this movie. In fact, go watch that movie. It doesn't treat you like an idiot and actually has a target audience.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining movie spoiled by a monumentally immature ending

Author: jodro from UK
27 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frankenweenie is a beautifully realized movie, funny and poignant in places, with some deeper points about the nature of science, life and death, and people's herd mentality. As such it can be enjoyed by both adults and kids of, say, over 8 years old, despite the darker themes and images. It could have been quite a good movie, as the main character finds transcendence in the last few minutes, shifting his understanding of life, and with that of death, and having made many new friends in the process. Sadly, frustratingly, maddeningly, the movie throws all these achievements out of the window in the very last 30 seconds, by inserting the typical, cheap, sentimental, intelligence-insulting, Hollywood ending.

There's a deeper and very tragic point here, which is that the ending is the embodiment of the dark side of the USA. I say this as a fan of the county, and someone who has lived there, but the essence of this dark side is a world view that's epically immature in several major respects. One aspect is its total incapacity to come to terms with the reality if life, and with that of death. Another aspect is dividing the world into black and white, ie only pure evil and pure good, and Hollywood's movie heroes are, of course, always all-good, and the only credible storyline is invariably the obliteration of their all-evil adversaries. The good versus evil world view leads to sentimentality and an utter lack of depth, understanding, and genuine emotion.

In real life it means that Americans tend to see themselves as all-good and all-powerful, with a very sentimental view of the world, in denial of the facts of life, most importantly those of life and death, and whenever someone comes along to disturb this illusion, the typical response is to shoot 'm up, as happens in a murderous US foreign policy.

My apologies for dragging all this into a review of a kids' movie, but the fact is that the US entertainment industry is one important aspect of US culture in which the US world view is reflected, and which also in turns shapes that very world view. One would hope that the more intelligent directors, like Tim Burton, would have the courage to stand up to the pressure from studios and focus-group findings and make movies with at least some degree of depth and a realistic understanding of the human condition. But not so,apparently.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Works as a short film, but not as a feature length one

Author: bazmitch23 from Co, Derry, Northern Ireland
26 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was looking forward to this film because I loved the original short, but when I saw it, I was disappointed.

The kids who looked like horror movie characters were just distracting. The finale where the kids create giant monsters was just too far fetched. The original movie worked because of the focus on Sparky, and this movie is more focused on the filler characters.

Oh look, Catherine O'Hara is playing a mother........ AGAIN!

Also, what about the cat that gets killed at the end? That poor girl. She'll miss that cat.

When they did actually reinact moments from the original, that's when it worked. But the rest of the movie is unfunny and dull.

Oh, and we have a poo joke about ten minutes in. Shame on you, Tim.

Well, it's nice to see a Burton film without Depp and Carter in it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Disney Pixar movie!

Author: Conan Edogawa
11 September 2013

This is the movie about one boy and his dog. One day, his dog dead. He is really sad about it. He is genius of science. He decided he makes to revive of his dog. There are many characters. They are so unique.

This movie is made by Disney Pixar. I love Disney Pixar's movies. It is because their movies are so exciting. This movie is also exciting. This movie is white and black. White and black movie is difficult to explain feelings. However this movie's feeling is rich. The story is also funny. May be little children are also enjoy. The story is simple.

I recommend you this movie. Please watch this movie with your family. You will learn we should not make to revive who dead. It is not real them and it is not good thing. People feel so sad when someone dead you are still sadder if it is those whom he loves. However, it dies and must not carry out opposing.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fun, albeit dark children's modern fable

Author: julian-mumford from New Zealand
10 April 2013

Famously Tim Burton left Disney because his stories were too dark.

Skip forward to 2012. We have a Disney presentation by Tim Burton, where a much loved childhood pet is killed by a car, buried, later disinterred and then subsequently re-animated in a child's pastiche of Frankenstein.

Leaving irony trembling at the cemetery gates, we have a children's tale that is beautifully animated in black and white stop motion. A method which by now, everyone knows is perhaps the most time consuming, laborious and downright hardest way to make a movie.

The characters are exaggerated in a style similar to "Coraline" and Burton makes the most of his character actors. Martin Landau as the voice of disgraced scientist Mr Rzykruski, who inspires Viktor to take extreme measures when events go south.

Burton clearly undertaking another labour of love, has brought to life a story that maybe did not need telling. However, the film is clearly made with much care and passion, perhaps representing a childhood idea that just refused to die.

Victor Frankenstein (Tahan - Voice) is a lad who perhaps does not fit in that well, he has no friends apart from a vague and not always welcome acquaintance with Edgar E Gore (Shaffer). He does have his pet dog "Sparky" and his film making which reassures his parents, Mr & Mrs Frankenstein (Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara - voices) that maybe he is okay and happy in his own way.

Viktor does interact a little with his neighbour Elsa Van Hesling (Ryder) and her pet poodle which adds some emotional depth, especially between the pets before the trouble begins.

All is well in a slightly, "I am in the attic conducting weird experiments and making movies by myself" sort of way. Not in anyway related presumably, to the director's own life experiences. However when "Sparky" is involved in a pet dog/car interface, the film takes a darker tone.

The film does not shy away from the loss this creates. However instead of accepting the reality and engaging in the five steps of grief, Victor inserts re-animation straight in at number two. We are treated to a mini-me version of the creation of Frankenstein but with a much loved family pet, accepting the bolts and coarse sewing work instead.

There are some scenes to treasure, Viktor in his attic attired with goggles and lightning all around is worth the admission alone. There is a perception that like "Dark Shadows", this was a film that Burton wanted to make, irrespective of any discernible target audience. Box office suggests that re-animating the dead is not the draw it once was.

The film is relatively short and mostly enjoyable, although may be too scary for some youngsters. Some older viewers might bridle at the ending, something Burton perhaps fought over and lost.


Fun, albeit dark children's modern fable. Made with love and attention to detail, striving for but arguably missing out on capturing the true essence of the story.

Not as good as "Coraline" but in the somewhat limited market of stop motion re-animated children's horror movies, far better than average in every way.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Burton's Best in Years

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
11 February 2013

Frankenweenie (2012)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Tim Burton's excellent remake of his 1984 short about a young boy who suffers a heartbreaking loss when his dog is ran over and killed by a car. Inspired by a science experience, the young boy decides to use electricity to bring him back to life. FRANKENWEENIE was a pretty big disappointment at the box office but I guess this type of storyline would be a hard sell to certain parents plus the B&W might scare off a few as well. I can honestly say that this here is the best thing Burton has done in years as it really reminded me of his earlier days where the imagination was all over the place and it really delivered some fun, laughs and great emotion. I really, really loved the original movie and I really didn't think it would work when expanded to a longer running time but Burton and screenwriter John August has done a very good job with this. I think what makes this one so special are the various homages to earlier horror movies like BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN and there's no question that the scientist here is a homage to Vincent Price and we even got a great way to show off Christopher Lee. The entire look of the film is excellent as well because you really do feel as if you're watching a horror movie from their Golden Age because the sets are incredible, the humans are wonderful and once the animals start to come back at the end you can't help but smile. I really liked the way the other kids started to copy our hero here and we're left with a monster mash at the end including a giant turtle, which is obviously a wink to the Godzilla films. Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Martin Short and Winona Ryder are all extremely good in their vocal work as is Charlie Tahan as the young boy. FRANKENWEENIE is certainly a terrific little gem that I think will play extremely well with the right child and of course the parents are really going to enjoy not only the charm but also the respect towards the films that came before it.

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