Frankenweenie (3D) (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byMatthew Turner19/10/2012

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Beautifully animated and brilliantly written, this is a joyous return to form for Tim Burton that's a treat for both adults and children alike.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tim Burton (and expanded from his 1984 short of the same name), Frankenweenie is set in the town of New Holland and centres on lonely outcast Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), whose only friend is his faithful dog Sparky. Encouraged to join the baseball team, Victor is thrilled to hit the ball out of the park, but his joy is short-lived when Sparky is killed while running to retrieve the ball.

Inspired by Mr Rzykruski's (Martin Landau) science lessons, a distraught Victor experiments with electricity and succeeds in bringing his beloved dog back to life, albeit in need of a quick patchwork job. However, when creepy classmate Edgar 'E' Gore (Atticus Shaffer) blackmails Victor's secret out of him and passes it on, it isn't long before all manner of scarily re-animated pets are running around, putting the town in great danger.

The Good
Gorgeously animated (using character designs taken from Burton's own illustrations) and shot in beautiful black and white, this is a welcome and joyous return to form for Tim Burton that harks back to the glory days of Edward Scissorhands. Indeed, Frankenweenie shares many of the traits of Burton's most personal films, such as the focus on outsiders in suburbia (Edward Scissorhands), fascinations with amateur filmmaking (Ed Wood) and the undead (Beetle Juice), as well as exhibiting the same sort of surreal, childhood weirdness that runs through his poetry (The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories). It should also be pointed out Frankenweenie represents the perfect marriage of form and content, given that it uses stop-motion animation for a story about bringing a dead object to life.

The voice cast are superb throughout (particularly Landau and Tahan, with long-standing Burton collaborators Catherine O'Hara and Martin Short both doing three voices each), though there's actually relatively little dialogue, with the gags coming as much from the visuals as from the one-liners. Similarly, unlike other recent horror-themed animated features (ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania), the pacing of Frankenweenie is refreshingly gentle and is content to spend a happy extra few seconds just watching a recently re-animated dog chase its tail round and round.

The Great
The delightful script is packed with witty references to various classic horror films (there's a priceless Bride of Frankenstein-inspired gag that you've probably seen in the trailer) and monster movies that are frequently laugh-out-loud funny, particularly the numerous Godzilla-inspired moments. In addition Burton pulls off a genuinely thrilling, brilliantly-staged windmill-based climax, essentially perfecting a similar sequence from Frankenstein that he's previously used in both the short and Sleepy Hollow.

Worth seeing?
Frankenweenie is a hugely entertaining and beautifully animated horror comedy that's both a welcome return to form for Tim Burton and a ghoulish treat for adults and children alike. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

Frankenweenie (3D) (PG)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 06:38

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