Frankenweenie (***)


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!

  • 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.

  • 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!