WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)
OFFICIAL SILVER SCREENER REVIEW
– FRANKENWEENIE –
IMDB Rating: 7/10 (27,983 votes)
Director: Tim Burton
Tim Burton is one of my favourite all-time directors. He’s done countless movies that have seemed purely magical to me. And now we can add another one onto that list.
Frankenweenie blew me away with how powerful it turned out to be. From the moment Sparky (a pun on lightning by the way) died, I was ridiculously invested in the film. And it was a sign of Burton’s class, because it was only 14 minutes in. Normally in the first 15 minutes of a film you need to introduce characters, settings, atmosphere and lay down the basis of your plot. In the midst of this, Burton created an electric emotive field between the viewer and Victor.
All the kids have their own distinguishing features. Nassor looks like Frankenstein; Edgar is a somewhat disturbing hunchback; Toshiaki is the only foreigner; Bob is rounder then Violet Beauregarde after she chews the gum; and Weird Girl…well, the name basically says it all – she looks like a skeleton. The only normal ones are Victor and Elsa, who happen to also be the only ones with living pets.
Frankenweenie follows a basic theme most of the time – monsters. Which makes sense, seeing as it’s a zombie flick with a twist. The arguably main character is a previously dead animal. The children noticing this previously dead animal decide to make their own, so they create dangerous group of undead pets. The Mummy-Hamster, created by Nassor. I’m not sure why they wrapped up the little thing and gave it a huge tomb, though. The Were-Rat, who is the real problem, but ends up returning to his deceased state. So he became un-undead…I guess. The Giant Turtle, who looks strangely like Godzilla and was created by the only Asian kid in the movie…just sayin’. The pointless Sea-Monkeys, who were less mutants and more evolutionised frogs. The funny Vampire Cat. And finally Sparky – the heart and soul of this film.
I loved how this film was made in black and white. Not only was it a cool theme, but it really layed down the feel of this movie. The colour really reflected the mood of the story – sad and unfulfilled. Sure, Victor’s good at science. But his life wasn’t the same without Sparky there. And even when he did bring him back, you knew Sparky was going to die sooner or later. I thought black and white was a suitable choice for a film such as this.
The music was a real highlight. Danny Elfman always does a great job, whatever the case. Especially for Tim Burton films. Batman, Batman Returns, and Edward Scissorhands are all good examples. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a fantastic example, though. The songs in that film are incredible. So Elfman without a doubt kept up his reputation, keeping the viewer questioning what was to happen next, and creating a tense atmosphere.
I really like stop-motion animation. The Nightmare Before Christmas was expertly crafted. Chicken Run was a very good film. Wallace & Gromit, Mary & Max, and Fantastic Mr. Fox were all great. Frankenweenie was too a good example of how to do a good stop-motion film. The animals looked really good, as did all the kids. And Mr. Rzykruski was just fantastic.
Although this was a sad movie, it had humorous aspects to it. The chemistry between Sparky and Mr. Whiskers was fun to watch. The twisted characters were frightening yet smile-enducing. And Burton’s odd sense of humour was really put on show. His direction pulled through in this one and was backed up by a stellar script with witty dialogue.
In the end, Frankenweenie takes the shape rather of a “The Blob”-like flee from monsters. Of course there has to be one person willing to take them on, so Victor obliges. And when it looks like all hope is gone, Sparky, who was at first saved by Victor, returns the favour. It really is a gut-wrenching ending.
I’d recommend picking this one up at your local DVD store. A very good film. I’ll feel bad for you if you don’t see it.
MY RATING: 8.5 out of 10.
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