Cast: Cahrlie Tahan, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short,
Martin Landau, Atticus Shaffer, Winona Ryder
Director: Tim Burton
is a remake of Tim
Burton's 1984 short film which really kick started his film-making
In black and white and using stop animation, it's the tale of young Victor (Tahan) and his friendship with his dog, Sparky. Victor Frankenstein lives a quiet life in New Holland. It's a life isolated from people (by choice) and whose only real friend is his dog Sparky.
The pair are inseparable - as is so often the
case with youngsters and their pets - so, when Sparky is run over
and killed in an accident, Victor's inconsolable.
However, after being inspired by high school teacher Mr Rzykruski (Landau), Victor decides to harness the power of electricity to bring his beloved pooch back to life.
Surprisingly, the attempt is successful - and with a state science fair looming and competition hotting up to win the fair, the pressure from Victor's fellow students to do something similar to their various animals has terrifying consequences for the inhabitants of New Holland.
Frankenweenie is an affectionate paean to the world of horror and the Hollywood horror films of yore - it's a tribute piece and one which cinephiles will adore.
From its start which resembles the lo-fi
quality of the 1960s B Movies to the ending which is a parody of
Godzilla attacking via Reanimator for animals, there's much love on
show here from Burton. It's also horrendously self referential
(which is no criticism by any stretch of the imagination) - the
prefab townships of New Holland resemble those of the streets of
Edward Scissorhands, the lead character Victor practically looks
like Johnny Depp, one character's called E Gore, Bride of
Frankenstein references - the list goes on. Throw in some great
visual gags as well and you've got enough to keep the family
But yet, all of that's secondary to the wonderful whimsy on display with the story.
In many ways, Frankenweenie is early Burton through and through - a childlike innocence and slightly macabre view of the world which is washed through with an emotional resonance.While some may feel it occasionally lacks a bit of punch, the charm on display is more than enough to carry it through its 85 minutes run time.