“This is what Tim Burton is GOOD at!”
When I left the theater, I felt like Burton had returned to his roots. I was a fan of Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow and Beetlejuice… but in recent years I was underwhelmed with the Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd, and outright repelled by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
I had all but written off Burton’s films when Burt Shapiro reviewed Dark Shadows and inspired me to rent it on VOD. Both my husband and I enjoyed it for what it was: campy and weird (which WAS the original show!)
So when we were deciding on a movie recently, I hopefully picked Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. I didn’t know at the time, but this was a resurrection (yeah, I did that on purpose) of a 1984 short film by Burton that parodies the 1931 Frankenstein. He was literally returning to his roots!
Frankenweenie is the story of Victor Frankenstein and Sparky, an odd boy and his canine pal. Victor’s day-to-day life is going to school with children who look like they stepped out of period horror movies themselves and making home horror/monster movies starring his pooch. After Sparky is struck and killed by a car, young Victor’s life seems bleak until his new science teacher inadvertently inspires him to resurrect his dead dog.
Once his secret is discovered by the other classmates, they all set out to raise dead pets thinking Victor is poised to win the science fair. Comedy ensues! (Shelley the Turtle and Colossus face off in one of the funniest moments of the film.) There was plenty of movement and suspense in this film to keep fidgeters like myself engaged for the entire 87 minutes.
The stop-motion film is entirely in black and white, and has some pretty clever writing. The odd-ball characters add a layer of comedy that, along with a protagonist you care about and root for, make25s this movie a win all around.
And at the end, I really didn’t know how they were going to resolve the movie. That’s a well-written, well-developed story to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie and I will be buying it on DVD to re-watch each Halloween along side A Nightmare Before Christmas.
I am glad to say, Tim Burton has redeemed himself in my eyes with Frankenweenie. If you’ve been off-put by Burton’s latest offerings, give this one a try. I think you’ll like it too!
Here’s an interview with Tim Burton about his love of stop-motion, his first dog and how teachers inspired him.movies, Tim Burton