Frankenweenie Review – Tim Burton’s Beautiful Passion Project
In Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion animated film, Frankenweenie, main protagonist, Victor (voice by Charlie Tahan) loses his best friend, his beloved dog Sparky, and decides to use the power of science to bring him back to life.
Loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenweenie takes the story most of us know and puts a twist on it. You see when Sparky comes back to life, Victor has to hide him from his parents and whole town, but when Sparky gets out, it could lead to some big and monstrous consequences.
I’ve always been a fan of Tim Burton and his movies and with Frankenweenie he brings us another classic to add to the collection. There are a few aspects of the movie that I want to talk about so let’s get into about it.
At the core of every film is the story and without it everything just falls flat. Using Burton’s original live-action short from 1984, John August penned a really beautiful, well-rounded and compelling script. You really do fall in love with little Sparky and are as broken-hearted as Victor is when he loses him. But what I enjoyed the most was how well defined the rest of the characters in Frankenweenie were. Every single one of them felt like a complete character with a backstory, even the ones that only had a few lines, which gave the world a sense of being whole.
Which leads me to talk about the characters in the film. You will notice that they each have a very unique look, which adds to the personalities I was talking about above. We previously shared some character photos, which will give you an idea of how neat they are, but it doesn’t compare to seeing them in action. My favorite has to be Weird Girl, just because she’s… well weird (see photo below). These peculiar characters animate the world of Frankenweenie and make it so much fun to watch.
Furthermore, I find it’s hard to provide the correct balance in a children’s story between being mushy positivity and truthfully heartfelt moments. Frankenweenie does not go the mushy road at all, instead it is full of heart that will touch children and adults alike.
Another aspect of the film that lifts it to the next level is the use of stop-motion animation. Some of you might not know this, but stop-motion uses puppets that an animator has to move into position for each frame of the film (there are 24 frames per second) in order to create the fluid and realistic movements you see on screen. And while I am not an expert, I have seen a few stop-motion animated films and I can say that Frankenweenie is honestly some of the best I have seen ever. Everything seemed just so real that I thought for sure computers had to be used at some point (which of course is not the fact as I mentioned in my other article on the film).
Adding to the feel of the film is Burton’s choice to film Frankenweenie in black and white. I know this might put off some people, however I promise you, not only does it not take anything away from the film, I think it creates the ambiance that makes the film what it is. In addition, I even tend to forget the movie was in black and white.
For those who like 3D, you will also be happy to know that Frankenweenie is shown in that format. Although I’m still not a huge fan of it, I didn’t mind it too much in this case.
So if you are looking for a sweet and heartfelt movie with a touch of Tim Burton, Frankenweenie is for you this. And did I mention how adorable Sparky is?
Frankenweenie is out in theaters today, October 5th. You can watch the trailer below.