Frankenweenie is a family-horror film by Tim Burton. A (not-so) simple story about a boy’s love for his loyal pet dog. Pets are a part of the family and losing a family member is a profound sadness. I am pet owner and I relate to this wonderful, funny, yet heart tugging film! I am a fan of Tim Burton and I had seen his Frankenweenie live action short that had been previously released in the 80s. I already knew what to expect and seriously, there aren’t too many films that I walk into knowing that I’m already going to love it. This adaptation is presented in black and white, 3-D, has stop motion puppets and offers a terrific cast of voice actors. Frankenweenie is a personal tribute to Burton’s childhood dog, Pepe.
Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) and his dog Sparky are best friends. Victor is a bit of a gentle loner and his best moments are spent with Sparky. One unfortunate day, Sparky dies in a tragic accident and Victor grieves for his best friend. It’s not until Mr. Rzykruski’s (Martin Landau channeling Vincent Price) science class where Victor has an idea that could bring Sparky back. “Sparky you’re alive!!!” Sparky indeed comes back to life with a few minor malfunctions with Victor claiming, “I can fix that”. It’s not long before Victor’s secret gets out! All of Victor’s classmates are competing for the best science fair project and they make a visit to the pet cemetery and bring back their own pets to life. A science experiment with good intentions has monstrous consequences!
Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short show their versatility by voicing a few of the characters in this film. Mrs. Frankenstien, Weird Girl, Gym Teacher are done by O’Hara while Mr. Frankenstein, Mr. Burgemeister, NassorAll are done by Short. Edgar “E” Gore (Atticus Shaffer) definitely got a great response from the crowd. There are many classic horror references in this film that adults will pick up on: the Bride Of Frankenstein’s trademark hairstyle, The Mummy, Gremlins, Godzilla’s Turtle Gamera, etc. I’m sure most of these references will go over children’s heads but their parents will appreciate it!
I do have to mention that the subject matter might be touchy for families who have lost a pet. There are some compassionate scenes and obviously bringing your pet back to life isn’t an option. This could be confusing or scary for young children. I have to admit that I did not take my 5 year old daughter to see Frankenweenie. She’s very sensitive and the movie does have a few scary scenes. Plus, black and white does add a dramatic dimension to the movie. There is a lot of texture and emotion in classic B&W films and Frankenweenie follows suit. This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t share the movie with her so I will wait until she is a little older. The movie is rated PG so parental guidance is suggested. I truly feel that Frankenweenie is a work of art and I think kids 7 and up will really enjoy this movie. I did happen to observe more boys than girls in the audience. Hopefully this film will ignite children’s creativity, interest in science and will open up a peculiar conversation at the dinner table!
I see awards in this film’s future.
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* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Tee attended a screening of Frankenweenie from Disney free of charge to facilitate this review. Giveaway item will be provided by sponsor. Sponsor has the right to refuse filling prize for duplicate winners from other blogs. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.