Frankenweenie (***) - AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

Frankenweenie (***)

Tim Burton and Danny Elfman shine with this newest animated film...

Tim Burton returns to his roots of classic and clever animation with his newest, Frankenweenie.  Showcasing some beautiful 3-D animation and encompassing a cute, clever, and homage banner to the monster genre, Burton delivers his most solid effort since Big Fish (2003).

Frankenweenie tells the story of Victor, a young boy with an aptitude for science, who’s dog Sparky is tragically killed.  When Victor’s feelings of remorse and grief overwhelm, an experiment to bring Sparky back to life has monstrous consequences. 

What makes the film succeed is the efficiency and stylized manner in which John August’s screenplay presents the narrative and its outstanding characters.  The film shows no obvious signs of gimmicks or cheap parlor tricks in animation.  August and Burton have respect for the genre and its abilities.  The voice talents of the young Charlie Tahan (Victor) and Atticus Schaffer (Edgar) are stand outs especially the latter, whose comedic timing and voice abilities is perhaps the best of the year.  The great Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Short, and Oscar-Winner Martin Landau lend their vocals to some pretty incredible supporting characters.  The film’s pace isn’t as fluid or engaging throughout as it could be.  There’s some uneven dialogue or disengaging scenes that feel unneeded.

Danny Elfman, the composer who’s impressive resume includes Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Good Will Hunting (1997), has really outdone himself this time who doesn’t just reinvent his own works like some musicians tend to do; he adapts and interprets the core theme of Frankenweenie and adds and elevates the atmosphere.  It’s an award-worthy composition by Elfman that Oscar should consider.

Burton’s film is an admirable and beautiful animated gem that stands as one of the year’s best in its genre.  It’s a great treat for anyone who loves movies and grew up with the monster world.  A must-see for families of all ages!

Comment and discuss!

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Clayton Davis

Editor-in-Chief & Owner at The Awards Circuit
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, TheWrap.com, AceShowbiz.com, SlashFilm.com, ScottFeinberg.com) and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.
  • http://www.awardscircuit.com Terence Johnson

    I’d give the film 2 1/2 stars. It was fun but nothing super special. That score by Elfman though was wonderful.

  • JamDenTel

    This has been a really good year for animation. Between this, The Secret World of Arrietty, Madagascar 3, ParaNorman, Brave, and, hopefully, Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians (oh, and Consuming Spirits, which I’m stoked for), this could be one of the best years for the Animated Film category.

    And watch, they’ll pick Ice Age, Hotel Transylvania, and The Lorax.

  • http://TheAwardsCircuit Joey Magidson

    Clay and I liked this movie about the same…solid 3 stars from me.

  • Chelsea DalPra

    good to hear..I’ve been very excited for this one!