Tim Burton tries to return to form by re-hashing an old project of his. Will it pay off and bring this fun director back to life? Or will the electric charge shock him and leave him done and in the dumps? My review of Frankenweenie.
Tim Burton has been struggling. When I say struggling I mean Dark Shadows bad. While Alice in Wonderland went on to make A LOT of money that doesn’t change the fact that it was a poorly written and poorly acted mess that looked more like someone doing a bad impression of Tim Burton rather than the actual man making that movie. As a fan of Tim Burton, I was highly intrigued once the promos of Frankenweenie started making the rounds because it looked like not only a return to animation like The Nightmare Before Christmas but it was also a return to form for Burton in regards to storytelling and interesting characters. It didn’t disappoint.
Frankenweenie is the story of a boy and his dog. Namely, Victor Frankenstein and his dog Sparky. The movie follows the inseparable two until the fateful day that little Sparky passes on. But that’s not the end of the movie because the science genius, Victor, finds a way to bring his beloved pooch back to life.
Burton’s great sense of storytelling and creating memorable characters is what makes this movie so good. It is a tough subject matter to address when you have a kid dealing with his dog dying and then reanimating the corpse to bring it back but Burton does it with such heart that you forget about the grim subject. He also does such a great job of creating that “Tim Burton” world for his characters to live in, one that resembles those in Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice.
Burton also creates such interesting and memorable characters. My personal favorite was the weird girl who looked like the prototypical horror weirdo with giant eyes and stroking a cat. Every time she came on screen she could command it because of how odd she was and the way she talked and went about things was so quirky and hilarious. While I thought the supporting characters were hilarious with each having their own specific quirk, one of the problems the film had was giving us a reason to fall for our main protagonist, Victor. There is nothing wrong with his character but when he is put up against some of the others, he seems boring and uninteresting, which might be the point to make us relate more with the character, made him not as interesting as Jack Skellington in Nightmare or Edward in Edward Scissorhands.
The most fun aspect of this movie though had to be its homage to classic horror movies. It kicks off this way with the family watching one but what makes this homage so fun is that Burton and screenwriter John August do such a great job of incorporating this into the storyline. By the climax of the movie, the audience should be able to pick up on the nods towards classic horror and this tribute made it a lot more enjoyable and made me love this movie more.
Frankenweenie is not a perfect film but it is a very fun ride and is a return to form by Tim Burton. The characters are fun and you get a heart warming tale between a boy and his dog. I hope Burton stays on the right course because this was easily one of his best movies in years.