Published on July 22nd, 2013 | by Allan Brown3
Movie Review: Frankenweenie 3D (2012)
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan
Plot: When young outsider Victor Frankenstein’s treasured dog sparky is killed in an accident, the promising young scientist attempts to re-animate his pooch by harnessing lightning. Though Victor tries to keep his resurrected pet a secret, it doesn’t take long before his classmates discover and use his secrets resulting in panic and terror.
The Tim Burton of the 80s/90s who brought such fresh, bold, brave and exciting movies to the screen has often disappointed and fallen short when reinterpreting other peoples work. “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to name but a few. This stop-motion retool of his 1984 short film is on the other hand a valiant return to form.
It is clear this is a project that is very close to the director heart and while viewing you can’t help but feel many of the themes examined echo the directors own experiences as a young budding, strange, off-centred filmmaker. After all this was once the project that saw him dropped by Disney at the age of 26 for being too dark and scary for children. Ironic it is now Disney are the ones that have partnered, funded and backed its feature length return. The suburban town setting echoes the neighbourhood seen in Burton’s Edward Scissorhands and this is a theme that is seen throughout the film, with nods and tributes to many of the directors inspirations of Hollywood classic horror, Monster and Sci-Fi films including Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, Godzilla, Jurassic Park and Gremlins to name only a few.
The style and texture of the film is handled beautifully, with shadows and lighting providing an atmosphere that adds just enough eeriness. The detail in every character and the setting is remarkable for stop-motion animation, and in glorious 3D, used here as a tool and not a gimmick brings great depth to the picture and helps the characters to life. The voice cast provided by Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Charlie Tahan and Winona Ryder amongst others provide real depth and feeling to the characters as well as some genuine laugh out loud moments.
Summary: Behind its macabre exterior this is a warm, funny, genuine, heartfelt coming of age story about a boy and his love for his dog. With beautiful animation, a stellar voice cast and enough to satisfy both adults and children alike this is a gallant return for Director Tim Burton