Monday, October 8, 2012

Frankenweenie Review - 3 Stars

Tim Burton pays tribute to the great horror movies of the 1930’s, particularly the 1931 “Frankenstein” in this comic black and white stop animated cartoon.  Victor Frankenstein has few friends but showers his love and attention on his dog “Sparky.”  When Sparky runs in front of a car, the boy grows despondent.  But in a science class taught by a strange Eastern European fellow voiced by the great Martin Landau, Victor discovers reanimation—bringing the dead back to life with electricity.  Just as in the original, Victor rigs up a chain and pulley system to raise Sparky above his roof during a violent thunderstorm.  Soon Spark returns to life, and once work leaks out, the neighborhood kids use the technique to bring back their dead pets, with disastrous results that include a Godzilla turtle, little gremlin type fish figures, and flying rat/bat and other creepy creatures made more creepy in the stark black and white photography.  Parents who take their youngest children might wish they had rethought that plan once the dead pets turn into monsters.  Fans of Tim Burton will smile as they enjoy this unique filmmaker’s latest in a long line of tributes to oddballs—films including “Edward Scissorhands” “Beetlejuice” “Ed Wood” and even this year’s “Dark Shadows.”   Just remember that a knowledge of the classics of horror cinema will make this one a lot more enjoyable.  Voice work include Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, and the great Martin Landau.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Cartoon Frankenstein.  Is it entertaining?  Especially for film buffs, but maybe not for the youngest.