Movie Review by Sheri White
I had absolutely no desire to see Tim Burton’s new animated film, FRANKENWEENIE. The commercials did nothing for me, and the Renfield-like boy character got on my nerves. It was a pain getting there, because there weren’t many showings in regular format; it was mostly IMAX and 3-D. And to top it off, it was cold and rainy when I finally was able to go. So I didn’t go in with a very open mind…
Victor Frankenstein is a weird kid who mostly keeps to himself. His best friend is his dog Sparky. But one day, Sparky is killed in an accident, and Victor is inconsolable. The next day in class, his science teacher demonstrates how electricity reanimates dead muscle and tissue.
You know where this is going.
Victor digs up his dog and brings the dog back to life. I swear, that accident must have dismembered the poor dog, because he is stitched up everywhere. Victor is overjoyed, but realizes he has to keep his reanimated dog a secret. Sparky gets out while Victor is in school, and his creepy classmate, Edgar, sees the dog. He blackmails Victor into helping him reanimate something so he’ll win the science fair. Then other creepy classmates find out, and they all decide to reanimate their dead pets for the science fair. Chaos ensues.
Like I said, I had low expectations for this movie. But when that dog got hit by the car in front of Victor—I almost cried. Victor’s grief was very well portrayed, because he broke my heart.
At the end, it looks like Sparky doesn’t get another chance. I found myself wishing and hoping that silly, stitched-up dead dog would be okay.
I didn’t take my girls, because I didn’t think they’d want to go. So I was there by myself, rooting for a zombie dog. I wish I had brought them along; I know they would’ve loved it. My youngest would’ve teared up, too.
I don’t think I’d recommend this for a child younger than seven or so. It’s very atmospheric, and there are some “jump” moments that would really scare a little kid. The characters are downright creepy; they are obviously drawn with old horror movie actors in mind.
And speaking of old movies, FRANKENWEENIE is chock-full of old horror movie references. Parents will get a kick out of the nods to such as movies as THE BIRDS (1963), THE MUMMY (1932), JURASSIC PARK (1993) and GREMLINS (1984), to name a few. The science teacher looks like Vincent Price.
When the science teacher is vilified by most of the parents for encouraging the science fair, he makes a great speech about ignorance, science and fear of questioning things. That was a great message.
In addition to being kind of creepy for little kids, it’s pretty traumatic when the dog dies. If you have a sensitive young child, you may want to wait for the DVD. And be prepared to answer questions about death, science, and bringing things back to life.
© Copyright 2012 by Sheri White
Sheri White gives FRANKENWEENIE ~ FOUR knives!