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They've gotta learn sooner or later...
Rich Wright15 August 2013
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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Entertaining trifle
Judged as a comedy, Frankenweenie isn't really that great. The humor is rarely more than mild. But the movie actually did a pretty good job with the story, which is well paced and has moments of genuine - if mild - suspense.

It's also - and this is to be expected from any Tim Burton movie - really good looking, with stylish black and white animation and a cast of creepy looking kids.

As someone familiar with the original movies, I appreciate the way it pays tribute to its source material. It is also wonderfully imaginative, most notably in the first resuscitation scene.

One criticism; even by the standards of kids cartoons or old horror movies, this thing makes zero sense. The lack of any sort of logic is, however, so in-your-face that I accept it as purposeful and thus just accept that this is a movie that's not supposed to make any sense.
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Burton's horror sketchbooks
chaos-rampant25 December 2012
Burton is a cartoonist. I don't mean this as a putdown. He is at his best in short sketches, and his main talents flow from that: imaginative as a toymaker and has a knack for comedy, both short-term effects, both a matter of tinkering in the small, but he puts his heart to it.

I pass on his big 'storybooks' like Big Fish because layered long-term narrative is another thing altogether. In Burton's case, it is something he stumbled over as the only financially viable format to convey his sketches, so he treats narrative as only the canvas instead of as itself the sculpting matter.

Some of his other cartoons fail to reach me pure, because they are still big and polished studio-work and that all but defeats the intention. This is just the right size, an appendix of sorts to Ed Wood. It is a sketch, his first ever, this time reworked into a feature. And naked enough (no Depp, no Hollywood excess) to see the wirings and so appreciate what he loves about his work.

As you flip through this sketchbook, you will find the following:

The film opens with footage of a young Ed Wood's homemovie shot in his backyard—a giant monster movie, the kind that a kid (who we can presume is Burton) growing up in the 1950's can be expected to admire.

A teacher who looks like Vincent Price and inspires him to perfect his 'science', in the film it is supposed to be real science, but is actually viewed in the context of 1930's horror and Shelley before, a kind of cinematic magic.

This kicks off the Frankenstein story proper with the dog, which includes additional references to both Bride and Son, Mummy and Invisible Man, and the fiery windmill conclusion of the Karloff original. (also reused in Sleepy Hollows)

Eventually, this leads to an actual giant monster movie, where different classmates, essentially using the same 'science' of cinematic magic, bring to life different monsters: one is a Godzilla-type creature (kaiju fans will know it is really Gamera), there are Gremlin- type critters, and a cat-bat creature that I couldn't pinpoint.

So, there you have it: 1930's Universal horror, 1950's sci-fi, 1980's pop Hollywood, all of it sketched here that influenced the man's career.

Typical for Burton: the story goes nowhere, the ending is Disneyfied like the first time, it is fun in short spurts, and he has nicely sketched the world of his childhood, which is my favorite bit here—a clean and modernistic 1950's suburbia as was advertised to housewives of the time, it is amazing some of the textures and light they managed to capture. Stop-motion trumps cg animation in my mind, physical presence carries energy into the eye—this looks so real, it feels like it is taking place down the street from Ed Wood.

Overall, I don't know if releasing this confirms the nagging suspicion that Burton is over and done with as a creative voice and is really scrapping for material, but it is nice to watch, and reminds why he was at one time an interesting guy. What will it take for him to bounce back?
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An "Electrifying" Tale Of A Boy and His Dog.... Arf! Arf! Arf!
Dalbert Pringle14 June 2013
With its cute, yet, decidedly creepy-looking characters, and all, I thought that Frankenweenie was a pretty darn good "Mad Scientist" story that's sure to be a hit with audiences of all ages.

Containing some very nice touches of warped humor, grotesque horror and several arousing moments of pathos (cleverly injected into its weird, but oddly wonderful, little tale), Frankenweenie has proved, once again, that director Tim Burton still has the master's touch when it comes to making stop-motion, animated films that seem to emerge from the very depths of the dark-side.

If nothing else, Frankenweenie certainly turned out to be a lovingly-charged homage to a variety of classic horror, monster, and Sci-Fi pictures from those glorious days of yesteryear.

All-in-all, Frankenweenie certainly had its share of flaws, but, just the same, I certainly hadn't expected to enjoy this film as much as I did.

Appropriately filmed in b&w, thank goodness that it didn't contain any musical numbers.
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Wonderfully Shocking
David Ferguson14 October 2012
Greetings again from the darkness. Being a huge fan of Tim Burton's 1984 short of the same title, news of a feature length feature was very exciting. It's obvious from both films that director Tim Burton holds the story and project close to his heart. The obvious guess is that young Victor Frankenstein has much in common with the enigmatic director's childhood experience ... a social misfit who finds joy in less than popular outlets (science, sci-fi, filmmaking).

The story begins simply enough, Victor - a socially inept boy, whose only friend is his loyal dog Sparky, quickly connects with the new science teacher, Mr. Rzykroski (who bears a striking resemblance to the late, great Vincent Price). Victor's parents try to get him more engaged and that leads to a tragic accident that kills Sparky. Victor is heart-broken but his scientific mind leads to a shocking development thanks to a local lightning storm. Soon enough, Sparky is back! Of course, the secret gets out and the Science Fair takes on quite a competitive nature.

Burton really treats the film as an homage to old monster, horror and sci-fi films. We get tributes to Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula (complete with Christopher Lee), Godzilla, Bride of Frankenstein, Gremlins, Jurrassic Park and others I certainly missed on first viewing. But this is so much more. Mr. Rzykroski gives a less than PC speech to the local townspeople, and though it is straight to the point, that point is lost on these fine folks. The importance of science and learning and accepting the differences of others is all touched upon, but not in a preachy way.

The voice work is stellar thanks to Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau and Atticus Shaffer (Brick on "The Middle"). The style and texture of the film is extraordinary. The shadows and lighting provide an atmosphere that adds just enough creepiness. The detail involved with the characters and setting is remarkable for stop-motion animation. Not just that, but how many movies have you seen recently that include a cat-bat, sea monkeys, and a giant turtle? The suburban setting is almost identical to the neighborhood seen in Burton's Edward Scissorhands, just without the 1960's color palette.

This is excellent movie entertainment for adults and children alike. Unfortunately, the black and white presentation has meant a lack of interest from today's kids. Sure it has some darkness to it, but the PG rating means nothing too heavy. This is Tim Burton at his finest ... and without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter! Also, Danny Elfman's score perfectly compliments the story and characters, and stay for the credits to hear a very odd Karen O song.
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Adorable Tale of Loyalty and Friendship
Claudio Carvalho28 January 2013
In New Holland, the boy Victor Frankenstien is a bright but outcast student without any friend but his dog Sparky. When the newcomer science teacher Mr. Rzykruski challenges the students to participate in the science fair, Victor's father forces him to play baseball otherwise he would not sign the necessary authorization for his son.

During the game, Sparky chases the ball and is hit by a car. Victor recalls Mr. Rzykruski's class about the effects of electricity and successfully resuscitates Sparky using lightning. Victor hides Sparky in the attic but the weird Edgar sees the dog on the garden and blackmails Victor to learn how to bring the dead to life. Edgar does not keep the secret and soon Victor's envious schoolmates revive several creatures to win the science fair contest. When the town is invaded by the monsters, Victor and Sparky are the last chance to rescue the girl Elsa van Helsing from the claws of Mr. Whiskers.

"Frankenweenie" is another stop-motion animation by Tim Burton in black and white with a great tribute to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a happy ending. The story is actually an adorable tale of loyalty and friendship and it is delightful to see the frolic of Sparky. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Frankenweenie"
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Pure Tim Burton
Mek Torres19 October 2012
Tim Burton hasn't been making any of his original ideas since 2005. His recent films are adaptations that most of them are not outstanding nor creative like his own stories. Tim Burton's returns to his original roots with this. Frankenweenie is based on a short he made decades ago. He remade it into a full length animated feature film with sheer campiness. It's great when it goes there but when it tries to be emotional, it works in a short while but it is more interested to its craziness and the storyline doesn't know where to go. The director may return to his style but he still has his old flaws.

The concept is fascinating. It sounds like it's going to be a heartwarming family fun film. It obviously tries to capture the old horror movies with black and white. Most of the characters are based on iconic horror movie characters. Tim Burton is always highly imaginative but somehow he's lacking something. In family films, he creates a charming innovation but he couldn't bring enough depth to it. There are things that could have been interesting. This is about a kid who brings his beloved pet back to life. There could have been more genuine cherishing moments of Victor and resurrected Sparky. There are times like that but it immediately skims to the comedy. The storyline doesn't quite know what to do until it hits to the big climax.

The voice performances were good. Martin Landau's is probably the best among them who gratifies and delights his character with his campy accent that reminds you of his role in Ed Wood. The stop-motion animation is simply majestic. The black and white effect makes it a lot more fascinating. The character and monster designs are magnificent. It's wonderful enough as a Tim Burton animated film.

Frankenweenie suffers with the same problem of Edward Scissorhands. Don't get me wrong, Edward Scissorhands is a beautiful film but there is a little depth to its concept and serves an awkward climax leads to an underdeveloped romance. At least there's an endearing performance by Johnny Depp. Frankenweenie is fun but it's kind of empty in the end. It's not bad, it just could have been better. The darkness of the film could have been something affecting instead of an impaled cat. The sad parts seem contrived for the idea's sake. The film messes around the rest of the runtime. I guess the throwbacks and the filmmaking are the only merits of the film. Fans of Tim Burton's dark and crazy vision would enjoy. Since we don't see a lot of stop-motion animation these days, I guess that what makes this appealing. To think about the story, still not satisfying.
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Tim Burton has come back from the dead
annsla3 October 2012
There was a time when Tim Burton was systematically churning out great, original, quirky movies that endeared him to the general public and earned him a large amount of die-hard followers who hung on to every last idiosyncratic trademark. These followers have had a particularly hard time these last few years, ever since Tim Burton started to spoil. True, he was still using all of the unique little devices that made us love him, but his heart was not in the movies, and they all turned out commercialized and soulless, the cool "Tim Burton-ambiance" mocking us by hinting at how good he used to be.

I'm glad to say now that has all changed.

"Frankenweenie" starts by showing the audience the ordinary life of an extraordinary kid called Victor, a young boy with no friends, but a burning passion for his specialist subjects (horror movies, film making and science), a childhood that will surely resonate with both Tim Burton and the majority of his fans. Then, to the surprise of no-one who has seen the poster for the movie or heard the title, his beloved dog dies, and Victor conducts an experiment to bring him back to life, á la Frankenstein. From that moment, everything gets deliciously out of hand and grows into a classic "there is an imminent problem at hand that we need someone to deal with before this all goes down the toilet"-movie that we all love.

While the movie does not really develop its characters deeply and sometimes drops certain plot lines we would have liked to see more of, it makes up for it tenfold with the thing that Tim Burton has more of than anybody else: imagination. So many moments in this movie are truly original, clever and, best of all, funny. "Frankenweenie" is a giant tribute to old horror flicks, set against a sweet story of a kid and his dog. It will find its way into the great list of "Must see childhood movies" and will remain there for the ages, much like his previous hits "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Edward Scissorhands". I'm giving it a very high rating, not just because it is a great movie, but because it is proof of that Tim Burton still has great things inside of him, that might well be brought back to life one dark and stormy night.
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Stop-motion at its best
Firas Haidar2 February 2013

After 26 years of the short movie, Tim Burton brings us a movie with his name written all over it. Creative and original, Frankeweenie illustrates its writer's original roots.

The concept is fascinating. Most of the characters are based on iconic horror movie characters, like Frankenstein and Van Helsing. In addition, the movie is set in black and white, trying to capture the old look of horror movies. And yes, I don't think this film is suitable for children, more like teenagers and adults, containing some scenes that may disturb children.

It's the story of Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), who, after losing his beloved dog Sparky, tries to revive him using lightning. The experiment is a success, but no one should know about what happened. Things start to get messed up when Edgar (voiced by Atticus Shaffer) discovers Sparky.

The animation is great. Tim Burton brings us a stop-motion masterpiece, paying attention to every detail from the movie's beginning to its end. The decent overall voice performance does the job just fine, giving us spooky character, Atticus Shaffer's voice gave me the chills. Tim Burton's fine job and the voice actors' performance give us the horror atmosphere necessary for the movie.

Burton is always highly imaginative and creative, but he's somehow missing something. Don't get me wrong, the movie's great, but something would've made it better. Frankenweenie will entertain a good percentage of its watchers, making it a must see 2012 movie.
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Nothing exceptional
Marijan Nikic25 January 2013
I understand that many, even most, Tim Burton fans liked this movie very much. Some go as far as claiming that this is his best work, or that this is a refreshment to his work.

I see nothing special about this movie. This is just an average Tim Burton piece. Don't get me wrong, I love Tim Burton, but compared to his other two animated flicks ("The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Corpse Bride"), this one can't be called anything better than average. It has all the classic Tim Burton qualities - the extraordinarily weird characters (which are just plainly weird, with no extra explanation), some black humor, dark atmosphere, great music (courtesy of Danny Elfman) and artistic touch; yet it lacks of that certain something that makes movies out-stand.

I must additionally comment on the fact that the movie is filmed in black and white technique - although I understand the reasons behind this, and generally approve of such ideas, I don't think this was as essential to this movie; in fact perhaps it would have been better if it were in color. Although I say this from an utterly subjective perspective.

All in all, a nice movie to watch, but nothing to enjoy much about. I'd say this one is for the die-hard Tim Burton fans, if you are not one of them, you can easily skip this movie, you won't have missed much.
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Tim Burton's best since "Big Fish"
Drew St. Pierre5 October 2012
Personally, I really like Tim Burton; I think he's a great filmmaker; he has made some great movies (Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish) and he also has done some not-so-great movies (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and his most recent, Dark Shadows).

I haven't seen the original short film back in 1984; so, when I saw the first trailer for Frankenweenie back in March, I was really excited for Burton to bring back the Gothic tone that made his other movies great achievements. Not only that, however, this movie is also in black and white, which is rather unusual, but different than other animated movies. Sometimes, different can be good. That's what I sort of like in some movies.

I went into Frankenweenie with high expectations, and came out satisfied. I think Frankenweenie is not only one of the best animated films of the year, but it's Tim Burton's best film since Big Fish.

STORY: Frankenweenie tells the story of Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), a boy who has a passion for filmmaking and science, has lost his beloved dog, Sparky. One day, at school, he learns about electricity, and he comes up with a bright idea to make a science experiment to bring Sparky back to life. When Sparky comes back to life, people are so surprised about this experiment, and all this causes mayhem around the town.

MY THOUGHTS: The voice casting in this is great. Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, and Charlie Tahan do great jobs. But, I think Martin Landau stole the show as the science teacher; I think I can describe him as the "Vincent Price of science teachers."

The animation in this is fantastic; not only the movie looked gorgeous in black and white; it set the Gothic tone extremely well. I just love how strange the movie looked, and I think Tim Burton did a fantastic job with this movie. The story to this is well-written. It had really good themes involving love, loss and science; the climax is very entertaining and exciting.

IN CONCLUSION: Frankenweenie is an enjoyable animated film, and Tim Burton's best since Big Fish.

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OK movie, not terribly exciting
WatchedAllMovies29 January 2013
Warning: 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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It was decent, but nothing to rave about
chrisntimg6 October 2012
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.
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A mixed bag of bones
DarthVoorhees9 February 2013
Warning: 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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Burton what were you thinking?
Dee DoubleU3 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The entire movie is a stop motion film. Each frame was filmed in a very well done black and white style. Great picture - although the animation had serious defects. They dropped the number of key frames enough for the viewer to see non-fluid movement .. skips and twitches. I thought it may be the style, but its not consistent throughout the film so I'll chalk it up as a fail in the animation department.

The movie starts out with a child showing his parents a stop motion film he made. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but Burton was telling the audience exactly what they are going to be watching - a poorly animated stop motion movie that has absolutely no story but is nonetheless cute and heartwarming to watch.

The story failed due to an incoherent story structure. A number of arcs are started, not developed, and left hanging. The main sequence in the film has no place in it and was essentially just done to showcase the special effects. The movie finishes with the majestic music sequence symbolizing a great finish, but you are left scratching your head and wondering what the point was.

Burton actually filmed cat feces. Yes: Defecate on a plate, complete with bits of hair. And how could Burton actually go beyond that? He animated it. Wow. Just wow.

I brought my three boys with me to watch the movie. I kind of regret doing it. The movie had the tones of a classic horror movie. You can call it Burton art - but I wouldn't show my young kids the original Frankenstein so why would I show this?

I'm glad it was a screening I was watching - because I hate having to ask for my money back.
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Burton's Best in Years
Michael_Elliott11 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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If I had seen it as a kid I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot more.
Hellmant18 October 2012
'FRANKENWEENIE': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Tim Burton's feature film adaptation of his 1984 short film of the same name, which is an homage to the 1931 classic creature film 'FRANKENSTEIN' (which is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic book). The film was directed by Burton and written by John August (who works with Burton frequently). It features a voice cast including Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder (which marks a reunion of Burton, O'Hara and Ryder who previously all worked together on 'BEETLEJUICE'). The film is a black and white 3D stop motion horror-comedy about a boy who resurrects his beloved dog using science. The movie is charming and a good children's creature film but it lacks the energy and cinematic style that made Burton's previous film efforts so memorable.

The story revolves around a boy named Victor Frankenstein (Tahan) and his dog Sparky. The two live in New Holland where Victor pursues his interests in film and science with great passion. Victor's father (Short) encourages Victor to try out for sports as well and at his first baseball game Sparky is struck by a car (and killed) while chasing after a home run ball Victor hit in to the parking lot. Unable to move on and forget his fallen best friend Victor decides to use science, and the lessons taught to him by his teacher Mr. Rzykruski (Landau), to bring his dog back to life. When he succeeds (using the electricity from lightning) all seems right in the world again until his friend, Edgar 'E' Gore (Atticus Shaffer), starts snooping around and Sparky starts disturbing his parents and their neighbors. Victor then has to prove to his family and the town that Sparky is not a monster in order to save his resurrected dog once again.

The film is an effective kids movie and if I had seen it as a kid I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot more. It's a good homage to classic monster films (including one of my all time favorites 'GREMLINS') and it is a good Halloween film (for the whole family). It just didn't live up to my expectations and continued my disappointment in Tim Burton and his films as of late. I had no real problems with the film though, I just found it a little dull at times and nothing to get too excited about. Under a different mindset I can see why others might enjoy the film a lot more though. It's definitely not a bad film in any way. Fans of the original (which I am) or Burton (which I also am) might be thrilled with it, I was just a little disappointed.

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A spine-tingling delight, quite possibly Burton's best since Big Fish
TheLittleSongbird20 October 2012
This 2012 film of Frankenweenie I don't think is as good as Edward Scissorhands(my personal favourite), Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, Batman and Big Fish. If Nightmare Before Christmas counts, I'd include that as well. Sleepy Hollow was also excellent, as was Sweeney Todd. As a matter of fact I was dithering whether to say that this was Burton's best since Sweeney Todd, but I felt Big Fish had more heart. And I consider the 1984 short film superior. This in mind, it is vastly superior to Planet of the Apes(his worst), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows.

Frankenweenie(2012) is not quite perfect. The story wavers slightly in pace and focus when Victor's classmates plot to uncover his secret. That said, I was hugely impressed with it, one of my personal favourites of the year so far actually. The visuals are simply gorgeous. The black and white shadings fit with the Gothic atmosphere, and the deliberately grotesque characters are vivid in their design. The music score by Danny Elfman has this haunting undercurrent that Sleepy Hollow had as well as the sparkling beauty that made Edward Scissorhands so poignant. It is a very dynamic and atmospheric score indeed.

It is a very well-written film as well. It is wickedly funny, already improving on Dark Shadows with some very clever nods to Godzilla movies and other B-movie horror films. But Frankenweenie doesn't rely on manic humour, fart jokes or slapstick to make itself funny. The humour here is actually very subtle and deadpan. What is further special about Frankenweenie was its story. Having seen and loving to death the short film I knew what to expect, but I found the telling of this story to be fresh and just with as much heart. While there are funny moments that don't jar with the focus of the story and generally the film is full of energy, the film is often very poignant. The ending in particular has genuine pathos to it.

The characters are instantly engaging, oddball like with the best of Burton's films but engaging nonetheless. Aside from Sparky, the most memorable of them were Victor, Mr. Rzykruski- there is an intentional uncanny resemblance to Vincent Price- and the creepy girl with the cat. The voice work is really excellent, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short and Winona Ryder give wonderfully dry vocal performances but it was Martin Landau who stole the show, he was an inspired choice for Mr. Rzykruski, and he is deliciously eccentric yet does equally wonderfully in conveying the character's wisdom.

All in all, a really delightful film, not Burton's best or quite one of my favourites, but I do consider it his best film in the past decade or so. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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bad script, somewhat lacking design, not much originality
cthulhulurks6 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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Oh my gosh, is this dull
Jo Cassidy15 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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Almost there
rivertam2613 October 2012
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.
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The entire movie was a misfire
info-502-44220114 October 2012
Apparently this movie was developed out of a short that Burton made some time ago. Should have stayed a short. Unfunny, manipulative, definitely Disney hands on the story and ending, the entire thing was a huge mistake - which is why it is doing so badly at the box office. It is supposed to be a comedy, but there is little to laugh at. The lack of character development is astounding. The main character, the dog Sparky, has no character development, so the entire movie suffers. It moves in fits and starts, and is alternately boring and insensitive and cruel. The kid goes now where, and the pseudo science is inconsistent. Very manipulative in terms of action and structure. What a waste of time.
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A Return to the Glory Days of Tim Burton?
gavin694213 January 2013
Young Victor (Charlie Tahan) conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky (Frank Welker) back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

As I like to do, let me respond to another (better?) critic. Roger Ebert says "the whole story benefits from the absence of color, because this is a stark world without many soothing tones." Whether or not I agree with the second half of this is undetermined -- is it a stark world? Not sure I felt that way. But the lack of color certainly does enhance the film -- because it is a Tim Burton creation.

Burton works best in black and white, because he is an artist first and director second. His best films worked not so much because of his direction, but because of his vision. "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands" could have been done by no one else. Even the "Batman" films are incredible because of Burton's view of the world. He may not be Christopher Nolan, but that makes his Batman no less great.

We can tell that this was a trip down memory lane for Burton, too, back to his glory days. And I do not mean simply because he made a new version of something he made almost thirty years ago. Also notice his choice of voice actors -- we have neither Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, who have (for better or worse) dominated his films for over a decade. We have Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara, two of his best actresses. Seeing them back together and with Burton -- even in cartoon form -- was a real treat.

What made this film especially meaningful was the science teacher's speech. Sure, I loved the references to classic monsters (and the turtle named Shelley was a touching nod to Frankenstein's creator). But the farewell speech wherein science is held to be a neutral field with only its uses truly good or bad... that was a key moment. Not only did it show the difference between Victor and his classmates (he was not only brilliant, but pure-hearted), it pointed out an important truth about the world: science can be a weapon or a salvation, depending on whose hands we wish to put it.
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No, this one didn't work.
ryan mcdaniel14 October 2012
Got to tell you. Most of what I saw in the movie was more marketing. I have many Nightmane before Christmas figurines, so I guess they want to sell me something new. Tim Burton is a great director, but he has not made a "blockbuster" in my opinion since Big Fish. I was excited to see this movie because I know its an older short film of his with new animation. Sounded like a cant miss. Well, there is a reason this wasn't a hit in 1984 and has been panned for almost 30 years! The story is weak at best. Most of the elements are borrowed and predictable. There are a few scenes as well where my kids felt a bit squeamish in the theaters. The part were the girl shows her cat turds to a very zoomed in camera was not pleasant to a person who was eating popcorn at the moment, me! And the part where the boy was "re-animating" the dog was a bit disturbing to anyone who has had a pet die. Its one thing for a mad scientist to bring Fankenstien back to life, most people will accept that. But a nice, well mannered kid? It just came across as disturbing. The ending might have been the worst of all the Burton movies I have seen. It was completely devoid of any type of moral lesson. Im not saying that a movie has to have morals, but the entire movie was set up (even the ending) to show some kind of message to all of it. None. Everyone has had a pet die and the growth we obtain by learning about life and death are lifelong and special to all of us. Yet this movie says, "the heck with that"! I know Burton lives in a world of his own and I love him for that. But somehow it seems he has crossed some kind of line he shouldn't have crossed with this movie.
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Frankenweenie brings Burton back from the brink of darkness
rgblakey4 October 2012
Tim Burton has had numerous tumbles over the last few years, making hardcore fans wonder if we would ever see him return to greatness like when he delivered films like Big Fish, Ed Wood, and Edward Scissorhands. His latest Frankenweenie returns him to his own creative world remaking his live action 1984 feature of the same name, but this time in stop motion form. Could his return to his own material get him back to doing what made fans love him or will it just be more of the same over used style he seems to feel the need to slap on every film?

Frankenweenie follows a young boy whose dog is hit by a car. After learning about the effects of electricity in science he uses it to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life. When his secret is discovered he will have to try and convince his parents as well as the town's people that Sparky is not the monster that he appears to be. Fans will be happy to know that this is a welcomed return to form for the Tim Burton we all loved. The film is beautifully creepy in both visual and story. Fans of the original classic will be happy to know that while they obviously expand and change the story up a bit, they still manage to include just about every aspect of the original in this new format. The voice acting is well done, with the real scene stealer being Martin Landau as a science teacher with a strong resemblance to the late great Vincent Price. It is an amazing visual experience on top of a clever execution of storytelling of the tale of Frankenstein. There are some truly strange and fun characters that have Tim Burton's imagination all over them and create a world like only he can. Of the stop motion films he has been involved with previously, this is easily the best one as a whole delivering one of the most unique experiences in some time for both Burton's work and just something different in theaters. There are some aspects in the middle of the film that some might find a bit slow, but in a way that seems more necessary than not. The 3D works really well when utilized, but for the most part didn't seem like there was any focus on using it much at all.

While this is a Disney movie and animated, it undertakes a pretty dark tone at times, but it's necessary to really make this movie accomplish what it sets out to do. Fans of the 1993 series Family Dog, will notice that Burton used his own designs from that series to design Sparky here. Could this film prove that Burton still has what it takes to deliver? Let's hope so, because here he knocks it out of the park and has easily re-established any lost faith as a brilliant filmmaker. Who knows, maybe eventually we will get a film for Stain Boy and a whole new world to enjoy. Either way Burton is back better than ever let's just hope he latches on and keeps the spark alive.
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