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|Index||151 reviews in total|
The first half of the movie is terrific fun. We have Victor Frankenstein who is precocious and loves Science. He has a dog called Sparky. His Science teacher tells him that there is a Science Fair to be held in town. One day while playing Baseball on the insistence of his father, Victor hits the ball out of bounds. Old Sparky rushes for it and has a fatal accident with a car. While listening to the talk of his Science teacher, Victor realizes that he can use electricity to reanimate his dog. He starts preparing for it. The second half of the movie is a sort of a letdown because of the shift in focus from Victor to others in the town who also start thinking about bringing dead animals alive. There is an interlude about ostracizing those who are different. The movie shifts the goal post in the middle of the game and for me that is going to hurt its chance at the Golden Globe and the Oscars where it should be nominated. The story is a clever take on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. There are settings and scenes which are homage to it. If only the pacing and the story of the latter part would have been better, this would have turned into a mini classic. This is a more than decent watch. 3/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm 48 years old, and I sobbed over this movie, several times :o) And I'm proud :o) It struck a chord, reminded me a lot of Edward Scissorhands, which I also sobbed over, when I was 24!! Believe me I'm not so soppy usually! What a shame, that person that rated this with one star because she didn't read the movie details which could have saved her getting upset about two 10 year old's crying over it, the DOG DIES!!! But........... I love all the little bits, Christopher Lee's Hammer Horror Dracula, obviously the ending had to be at the windmill, love the cat poo letters, just so much quirkiness & sentimentality all wrapped into one :oD Very happy I watched it, it was better than ParaNorman :ox
Before Tim Burton cemented his status in Hollywood with 'Peewee's Big
Adventure' and 'Beetlejuice', the well-known eccentric director made a
live-action black-and-white film called 'Frankenweenie' in 1984. That
short has been expanded to feature-length proportions here thanks to
frequent Burton collaborator/ screenwriter John August and this
classic love story between a boy and his dog loses none of its Burton-
esque charm in the process.
August retains the concept of Burton's earlier short in the first half of the movie, where we are introduced to Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), a shy, socially awkward but brilliant geek whose best friend is his faithful bull terrier named Sparky. The only child of Mr and Mrs Frankenstein (Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara respectively), Victor lives with his parents in the perfect American suburb of New Holland, where in his free time he makes Super 8 films with his toys, improvised props and of course Sparky.
His life is turned upside down one day when Sparky dies in an auto accident while chasing his baseball down a street - and just as in the short, Sparky is buried under a large tombstone at the top of the hill in a creepy cemetery. Nonetheless, Victor's grief turns out to be short- lived watching his Vincent Price-inspired science teacher Mr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau) apply an electric current to make a dead frog move its legs, Victor is inspired to do likewise to bring Sparky back to life by using lightning in the midst of a thunderstorm.
Needless to say, Victor's experiment is successful and after a scene that directly recalls 'Frankenstein', Sparky is back none the worse for the wear, save for a number of visible stitches and screws around his body. Before we get to the part where Victor's parents find out what he's done, August comes up with a whole new second act not in Burton's short. A science fair is coming up, and all the other local kids want to emulate Victor's breakthrough whether it is to their pet cat in the case of Victor's next-door neighbour simply named Weird Girl (O'Hara again) or to one of the other pets in the cemetery long buried in the case of Victor's loathsome schoolmate Edgar (Atticus Shaffer).
The reanimating game allows Burton's imagination to go wild, as all manner of monsters from the cinematic world of creature features descend upon the quiet town to terrorise its folk at a night fair. Burton's love for the genre is palpable, squeezing in multiple references to the classics of yesteryear besides the evil beasties from 'Gremlins', a 'Godzilla-like' monster also appears courtesy of Japanese-American kid Toshiaki's (James Hiroyuki Liao) late pet turtle. Nonetheless, their inclusion does make the climax more bloated than it probably should have been though fans aren't likely to mind the nostalgia.
Neither are followers of Burton-esque likely to mind as always, the characters are winsomely eccentric both in manner and more so in design. Moulded in the signature Burton style of 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and 'Corpse Bride', they have stick-thin limbs atop elongated egg-shaped faces with golf-ball like eyes, and in their uniquely weird and wonderful looks are not only differentiated from each other but given a unique personality.
But Burton's visual achievement here goes way beyond the character design for the first time, he has chosen to adopt a monochrome palette for the movie, a stylistic choice that might seem alienating at first for the modern-day audience so accustomed to stories told in rich dynamic colours but really an artistically inspired one that accentuates the very telling of the tale. The shadings and shadows are handled beautifully here, and kudos to Burton and his art directors Tim Browning and Alexander Walker for creating a visually stunning world just in black and white.
If Burton's eye for the macabre is just as sharp here as with most of his movies, what ultimately makes this stand out from the rest is genuine poignancy. Victor is no less a misfit than the lead protagonist from his other films, but the central bond here between a boy and his dog that goes to the heart of just how much one is willing to do for the other is a love story that is relatable to young and old alike. Sure, there will be some scenes that may scare younger audiences given its inclination as a homage to the creature horror subgenre, but this is also one of Burton's most moving films, and such an enthralling fantasy deserves to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Director Tim Burton returns to his visceral dark roots with
Frankenweenie, a animated film that features all the dark, brooding
themes he is famous for, in what would seem like an opportunity for the
story teller to deal with all his favourite, classical horror elements
all in one fall swoop. With Disney's backing, Burton crafts a somewhat
charming little film inspired primarily by Frankenstein, dealing with
the artificial creation of life and how this whacks nature out of
balance, although one can almost feel that his direction probably got
superseded in the final moments to toe the line, given that mass market
merchandising, or the lack thereof, is probably the compromise reached.
Face it, the characters here aren't really plush toy material, even though they are grotesquely beautiful to look at, with physical flaws that seem perfect. As usual, like the animated films that feature his involvement, the characters here aren't designed to be anatomically correct with their longer than usual limbs. Being in black, white and grey, it provides that old school look and hopefully elevated this film to that nostalgic status of old, ringing with the air of familiarity for elements that you've probably experienced especially if you're a classic horror movie fan.
As the story would have already been suggested by its trailer, it centers around a boy, Vincent Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) whose dog Sparky had passed away, only for Vincent, a smart boy with scientist potential, emulating his namesake to resurrect his pet dog, and succeeding. He tries to keep this undead version of Sparky under wraps, only for the antics of the dog to be discovered, and from there, having his peers, who are all vying for best science project, trying to emulate what he had done, with vastly different results.
Here's when you can see what had inspired Burton, or had been his favourites, as the story took on homage paying moments especially when the story went on its own little spree to have loads of fun. Tributes got paid to the likes of a Godzilla-wannabe, critters, and characters that were amongst the same level of recognition as Frankenstein, in addition to a whole slew of name dropping. Even the science teacher Mr Rzykruski (Martin Landau), looked very much and unmistakably like Burton's tip of the hat to one of his heroes, Vincent Price, who is straight talking, and providing a stinging criticism against those who are closed minded, and superstitious, clinging on to values of the old without the guts for exploration and scientific adventure. Those who follow blindly, or copying without full understanding, are also put under the spotlight, and it's little wonder how the chief reverse engineer happens to be Asian.
But it's not all formula, facts and numbers. Frankenweenie, like most of Burton's films, no matter how dark they may look and feel, contains plenty of heart. While the hinted at love story between Vincent and Elsa (Winona Ryder) was almost non-existent, being but neighbours who communicate through a hole in the picket fence, it is the bond between boy and dog, and the extent one will go for the other, that moved, even if, like Frankenstein's tale, the whole world goes after them, being some bastardized by product of nature. But outside of these two characters, the support cast was woefully one-noted, and largely wallpaper.
While this film marks the umpteenth time that Burton has had Danny Elfman score his film, it is with a heavy heart, as a fan of their partnership, to listen to moments that seem lifted from their Batman score, and being repeated so obviously during the film's finale that you'd wonder if Elfman had finally run out of steam with the lack of inspiration in coming up with new tunes that dance around similar themes. I guess one can only recycle to a certain degree, before being dangerously left exposed.
I had enjoyed the quirky tales and characters that Tim Burton had the knack to conjure in his mind, but Frankenweenie, despite being nice to look at with moments that will touch your heart, as a whole still felt as an unfulfilled potential. One can only hope Burton's next effort will be as inspirational as his earlier ones.
I feel a little biased perhaps in my opinion of this movie cause the dog reminded me of my dog Yoshi a lot. And in that sense I felt myself completely engaged by the material and it's effect on me was pretty solid. Tim Burton goes almost bad to his roots in this darkly comic and morbid tale of a young boy whose pet dies and he decides to try and bring him back to life. Lots of inspired gags ensure as well as a nifty trip to the pet cemetery and some freakish mutations. But the films real magic lies in it's two main characters although I really did love the creepy girl with cat. Although a little generic in places Frankenweenie is a really unique cinematic experience a film that doesn't really cater to a specific audience but is a thing all it's own much like in the vein of Burtons best work Bettlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Although not a complete success it's definitely a step in the right direction.
No spoilers here - just an honest review. I'm not going to write a
novel on the evolution of Tim Burton as others have. The movie is,
after all, what is being reviewed here.
In my opinion it's a "just scary enough" movie for kids for this Halloween season. My grandsons (ages 5 & 7)seemed to enjoy it, as did I. It has a little bit of everything - sad, happy, scary, funny moments. It doesn't focus too much on the "darkness" of the subject at hand before moving on to lighter moments, which kept the kids from either bawling their eyes out or hiding under my arm, and for that I am thankful.
I gave it 7 out of 10 - it was a good movie to take the kids to to kill an afternoon, but it wasn't one of the best movies I've ever seen, so it doesn't warrant a higher rating in my opinion.
Yes, Frankieweenie, is a black-and-white film that lacks originality
and story. Ill be very honest, people are just giving credibility to it
because it's Tim Burton, and people tend to think that whatever he does
is good. Burton really treats the film as an homage to old monster,
horror and sci-fi films. He has given tributes to Frankenstein, The
Mummy, Dracula (complete with Christopher Lee), Godzilla, Bride of
Frankenstein, Gremlins, Jurassic Park and others I certainly missed on
first viewing. But he is wrong, Tim Burton was great but recently he
has been showing that he doesn't live up to his own expectations.
COPIED? Remember the theme in "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" when the city goes bizarre and the machine overloads and causes havoc? The protagonist becomes a hero. Same in "Bolt" where the dog rescues the boy. I just think some parts suffered from a visual overload.
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BUT NO OFFENSE PLEASE!
It rings a bell for all of us when someone mentions Tim Burton's
universe. A bit dead-like, but very appealing characters, dark colors,
trees with crooked hands. And more recently, all this combined with a
disappointingly simple, tearjerker plot line and heart-warming endings.
I think this is what happened here as well, from an amazing core idea
something much less original came.
Talking about originality, it is only a matter of perspective if you call the director's recent art "self-repeating", "signature" or "self- ironic". As for me, I would go for the last one; with Tim Burton we are dealing with someone overtly aware of the way his style is seen, and as such, he happily exploits viewers' expectations. This kind of reflexivity should be highly appreciated, and with me, yes, I am pretty happy with that. However, it still does not help much with the Disney part.
Overall, it is a good 90-minute entertainment, with stunning visuals, just as always, definitely interesting, but I am afraid that although today I'll have semi-nightmares, I shall altogether forget the plot within a week.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are two things I despise when it comes to advertisements:
overkill and the ads themselves.
Yes, I know we "need" commercials to fund the "free" stuff we see/use, but they really are a chore to get through and when there are too many, I simply make mental notes to never, ever buy their product.
The other marketing ads I hate, and mentioned, is excess. My poppa always said, if the ad's too big, or if they over-advertise something, they have little faith in their product. Okay, I was paraphrasing there, but I 100% agree with him. Movies, these days, like the Star Wars, Harry Potter and even the Twilight series, don't even have to promote so much because they're brand names. Smaller films, or products, should advertise some, but let word-of-mouth take over.
Whoa, I digress In Frankenweenie's case, every single movie and I AM NOT Exaggerating, from the beginning of 2012 until the film's release in October, I saw a preview for this movie. Sometimes, even one of those stupid, Pre-Show-Countdown segments before the previews in the theatre, had behind-the-scenes clips of Frankenweenie, in addition to the inevitable preview following. It was so much overkill, so much advertising, that I vowed never to see this. Besides, it looked like an animated, though Black & White, remake of the 100x told story of Frankenstein.
Seriously, it was too much. With each over-used trailer, I wondered how bad this movie was that they had to show it to me a minimum of 4 times, per month, for 9 months. It's absolutely no wonder that it made such an incredibly low sting at the box office. (To date: $35 million domestically and overall, $66 million, worldwide. To most animated films, these days, that's about 10% or less of the normal gross.)
Now, that all said I did break this vow but then, I saw it at home, once you get through the first half's retread of the classic story the promos laid out, the movie actually gets better. I did find myself enjoying the "retelling/re-imagination" story Tim Burton presented. Although, I still have yet to figure out why it HAD to be in black and white. Sure, it's because, again, it's an old story, but I don't think it needed to be without color.
Young Victor brings his dog back to life after a tragic death scene and attempts to hide his secret and yapping dog. When other kids learn of this undead dog, they want in for the school science fair. Chaos ensues and it's a fun climax of corrections.
Overall, the movie isn't up to par, even on Director/Writer Tim Burton's standards, or other "fun" animated tales. But, if you can make it through the first half and you should, then you might be pleased with how Burton could turn his all-but boring (re-)introduction around.
Side Note: A lot of people have criticized this as not being "safe" for young kids, i.e. too dark. Maybe, I'm desensitized, but I will admit, it's not for too-young children for being somewhat violent.
Side Note II: Another example of way in excess, overkill advertising is this stupid horsey show I see billboards for up and down my work commute every morning and evening. There is a grand total of 7-8 billboards advertising some horse boutique ON EACH SIDE OF THE ROAD. I will not name it, because that's just fueling the fire I want extinguished. I mean, come on, I've heard this show is actually supposed to be good, but why do they have to over-advertise it, sometimes, every few feet with the same billboard advertisement? Even if it's good, I will never, ever, EVER see it because they've shoved it down my throat every day, up to 16 times. No need!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frankenweenie is a movie that features Tim Burton's style of characters, black and white colored, superbly directed and visually stunning at the right scenes. And it is made by puppets animated by stop motion technique and not by computer animation. This makes the realistic movements of characters impressive. Especially the movements of one of story protagonists, the dog Sparky. The dog moves and behaves just like a real dog of his size would. I would know because I had the almost exact same dog, small in size, a bit fat, but playful and intelligent. I lost my dog last year and watching this movie was almost a traumatic experience. Because in the movie the dog moves so realistically, even though it is a puppet, and his bond with the boy named Victor is heartfelt. But this is what artists do, they give life to lifeless objects and if they make you feel for their creation they are doing a fine job. Tim Burton is an artist. Not even 15 minutes into the movie the dog dies in the most heartbreaking way possible. I tried not to cry, but he resembled my own dog so much, right down to the mannerisms. I found a stream of tears start to flow down my left cheek and was properly embarrassed for myself, but there was no helping it. The way the dog dies would break anyone's heart. Because Tim Burton decided to play with the emotion in a cruel way. A boy Victor hits his first homerun playing baseball, he hits the ball with his bat and the ball flies out of the field. He is a hero at that point and feels good. But the dog flies off the chain and tries to catch the ball running across the street. He then succeeds to catch the ball and starts walking back proudly only to be hit by a car. This is such a cruel way to kill a dog, because it happens on the best day of Victor's life (hits a homerun) yet he is also responsible that his dog went after the ball and even the dog manages to get his paws on the ball and achieves his happiness before he is hit. So from that moment of happiness a steep descend into sadness and loss. Of course the boy manages to revive his dog, in a comical frankenstein fashion. But the movie will have many such moments of tossing you up and throwing you down. Expect to cry if you love dogs or if your own one passed away.
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