Dir. Tim Burton
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Tim Burton has become a genre of his own. Creating some of cinema’s most classic tales that fit so many categories that it’s hard to specify anything particular. Like many of his films (we’ll ignore ALICE IN WONDERLAND and PLANET OF THE APES) Burton is a man of unique talent. Making the darkest of subjects so enchanting and beautiful.
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, SLEEPY HOLLOW and even 2012’s DARK SHADOWS all follow unwelcome characters who we can’t help but fall in love with despite their most macabre origins. But it is with Burtons imagination and effortless devotion to his own ideas that makes him such a legend of our times. A man who isn’t afraid to show his influences with Frankenstein, Hammer Horror, and all things death in all of his work and paints his art all over his own work and his reimaginings of other successful franchises.
And with all of his magic, Burton’s most memorable art is when his imagination splatters the screen in all its glory without the blurred lines and comparisons to other incarnations and it’s the stop motion classics of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and THE CORPSE BRIDE that bring together the love of the macabre with family friendly fun.
And here we have the third instalment to Burton’s motion trilogy, FRANKENWEENIE. This might sound familiars as one of his earliest works featured on the bonus features of NIGHTMARE... but what this turn does for its inspiration is take the 29 minutes of the 1994 short and electrifies it to epic proportions. To those who haven’t seen it, young Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) loves science and his loyal dog, Sparky. When Victors parents turn him against science to baseball, the tragedy of Victors dreams diminishes and his only friend gets knocked over by a car.
Sure to say that Victor can’t rest and uses his interest in science to resurrect his dog and everything works out well until Victors rivals for the Science fair prize lead his creation to influence the resurrection of pet cemetery and chaos ensues until the movies biggest influence, ‘Frankenstein’ closes the film.
After the surprising success and return to form of DARK SHADOWS, FRANKENWEENIE proves once more that Burton is the master of the enchanting fairy tale for the macabre. While most children will be watching ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Cinderella’ there will be a small group watching Burton’s legacy and for years to come, like the twenty years that have held THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, this will long live the generic CGI animation that has become such a popular throwaway. Like the everlasting story of Frankenstein this is destined to fill the hearts of every child and adult alike.
Shot entirely in black and white, this only adds to the nostalgic feel of FRANKENWEENIE not only visually but also in its story telling and it's films like this that use an age old story but still feel magically fresh thanks to the passion and effort that has been input to make it.
Once again, the partnership between Burton, Danny Elfman and stop-motion animation has created a classic that will last as long as Sparky himself. Not just one for horror fans, but for big kids the world over.