Frankenweenie (Full Version)

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Empire Admin -> Frankenweenie (25/9/2012 10:17:33 AM)

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J_BUltimatum -> (25/9/2012 10:17:33 AM)

Have to strongly disagree with this review. Was very boring and had no "magic" which made me want to take interest in the story. Tim Burton's work has taken a serious nose dive since his Batman/ Beetlejuice days. Would definetly recommend catching any other film when this is released.




ChudMonkey -> RE: (14/10/2012 10:59:11 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: J_BUltimatum

Have to strongly disagree with this review. Was very boring and had no "magic" which made me want to take interest in the story. Tim Burton's work has taken a serious nose dive since his Batman/ Beetlejuice days. Would definetly recommend catching any other film when this is released.


and I have to strongly disagree with you...saw this today and I was utterly blown away. Stunningly designed, beautifully shot and brilliantly written. A simple, old fashioned movie with heart, humour and warmth. Haven't seen a "kids" movie I've enjoyed this much in ages. Realised I'd been grinning almost constantly for the first hour, turned to my girlfriend and could see a dumb grin plastered across her face as well.

You could really tell that this was a labour of love for Burton which has been distinctly missing in his movies in recent years. Up there with Beetlejuice and Ed Wood as one of Burton's best




Fozola -> NOSEDIVE??? (15/10/2012 1:26:24 PM)

Sorry to disagree but I am struggling to see how Ed Scissors, Sleepy Hollow, Alice, Corpse Bride, Charlie, Big Fish for fucks sake are a 'nosedive'. Yeah Sweeney and Dark Shadows were missteps and I'll give you Apes and Mars Attacks but come on!!! For good old fashioned storytelling only Del Toro comes close for me. Looking forward to Weenie, Burton very rarely disappoints in my opinion even if we have become a little too accustomed to what to expect, if it ain't broke...




sinaplenty -> (15/10/2012 6:43:08 PM)

Have to say my interest in this is severely dented by it looking identical to every non-live-action Burton movie, just as Dark Shadows looked just like Alice, Charlie, etc. I'm all for director's having a recognisable style, but I would really like to seem him try a different tone and set of themes (I think Big Fish was the last Burton movie I enjoyed because it was a bit of a departure, and didn't have Depp in it).




lilzz -> Best Burton Film TO Date (17/10/2012 8:31:42 PM)

This has to be Tim Burton's best film for me, the animation was beautiful, the story was heartfelt and it all just came together to create a stop-motion masterpiece. I loved all the little classic horror references and the black and white kept in tone with the original film. Just wish so many more people would see it to understand its beauty




cerebusboy -> RE: (17/10/2012 11:56:29 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: J_BUltimatum

Have to strongly disagree with this review. Was very boring and had no "magic" which made me want to take interest in the story. Tim Burton's work has taken a serious nose dive since his Batman/ Beetlejuice days. Would definetly recommend catching any other film when this is released.



Come on, the original Batman (unlike Batman Returns, which is v. Burton-y) hardly has much magic! Edward Scissorhands is surely Burton's best. I saw Frankenweenie today and I'd say it's Burton's best since Ed Wood. Pretty scary (the cat/bat monster) for young kids, funny, touching. I've never seen the original short, and wondered where the story would go after Sparky's brought back to life (narrative never having been Burton's strong point!) but the monsters created by other kids tied in with themes, and even the happy ending worked well.




R W -> RE: Frankenweenie (18/10/2012 6:58:54 PM)

The origins of Tim Burton’s return to stop-motion, following his critical and commercial disappointment Dark Shadows earlier this year, goes back to 1984 when the auteur director worked for Walt Disney Pictures. Whilst Disney is one for the more cuddly works like The Fox and the Hound, Burton’s short parody/homage to James Whale’s Frankenstein was considered too scary for children, causing the studio to fire its helmer. Twenty-eight years later, Burton and Disney are work together on a feature-length stop-motion remake of that same short film, how ironic!

In the quiet town of New Holland, the lonely Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) loses his only friend, which was his pet dog Sparky. Inspired by a demonstration of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, the young scientist digs up Sparky's corpse, creates a makeshift laboratory in the attic and successfully reanimates Sparky with lightning. Despite his happy reunion with his dead dog, Sparky becomes the centre of trouble for New Holland.

Just as its source material, Frankenweenie is taking its cue from the Boris Korloff version of Frankenstein, in terms of capturing certain imagery and set-pieces, as well as shooting in black and white, which is quite impressive nowadays. There are clever nods and winks to the 1931 classic as well as other horror flicks, such as Sparky’s love interest being a Bride of Frankenstein-style poodle, which is owned by Victor’s own love interest named Elsa van Helsing (referencing the iconic vampire hunter from Dracula). If you have seen the previews to this film, there are mentions of other experimental dead pets, without actually clarifying what they are. This occurs in the climatic third act, when the real horror kicks in and strangely becomes “Cabin in the Woods for children”.

Despite its initial inspiration and other references to various horrors from around the world, this is Tim Burton going back to his old school antics prior to his billion-dollar success of Alice in Wonderland. Reuniting with actors like Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara (along with stock footage of Christopher Lee as Count Dracula), and having an oddball sentimentality similar to Edward Scissorhands, the true strength of Burton’s film lies in its simple story about a boy and his dog, which is more touching than a hundred Marley & Me’s. Despite Winona Ryder voicing a character reminiscent of her gothic performance from Beetlejuice, the romantic subplot is thinly explored, but there is a highly comedic town meeting featuring the eccentric but wise science teacher (voiced by Martin “Bela Lugosi” Landau).

Following his successful journey into Wonderland, the latest Burton-Disney collaboration is one for pure fans of the director’s finest work, as Frankenweenie is a wonderfully-animated comedy-horror that both children and adults will enjoy.




Wild about Wilder -> RE: Frankenweenie (19/10/2012 5:04:22 PM)

Loved this film as anyone who's had a pet die when they were young would know it's one the most traumatic things next to a relative passing that can happen to you & the film just goes to show the love & bond between a child & his or her's pet & was done from what feels like a very personel point of view. And I also thought the Black & White with Gothic slightly Horror tones added to it nicely yet not so much as to frighten children too much.
After a few average? last features it's nice to see Burton back on form.
A solid 4/5




Dr Lenera -> RE: Frankenweenie (20/10/2012 11:09:30 PM)



Young filmmaker and scientist Victor Frankenstein lives with his parents and his dog Sparky [who stars in Victor's homemade movies] in the quiet town of New Holland.Victor’s father is very concerned about his son’s isolation and encourages him to take up baseball and make achievements outside of science. At his first game, Victor hits a home run, and Sparky, pursuing the ball, is subsequently killed by a car. Inspired by a demonstration of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, a depressed Victor digs up Sparky’s corpse, creates a makeshift laboratory in the attic and successfully reanimates Sparky with lightning……


I think it’s fair to say that Tim Burton has lost his touch somewhat with his last two efforts being considerable disappointments, so I was awaiting his return to the world of stop motion animation with some trepidation. The Nightmare Before Christmas [which of course was actually directed by Henry Selick though is still a Burton film through and through] and The Corpse Bride are wonderful films and Frankenweenie actually had a previous incarnation which was very good indeed. That previous incarnation was of course Burton’s 1984 live action short film of the same title which he made for Disney [he started off as an animator there and actually did some animation on The Fox And The Hound] only for it to be roundly rejected. Well, the new Frankenweenie is definitely a return to form for Burton. It’s not a total success, and certainly not up there with his masterpieces like Edward Scisssorhands and Big Fish, but a huge leap in the right direction and it’s a shame that it seems to be disappointing at the box office when vastly inferior fare like Hotel Transylvania are cleaning up.

Then again, Burton was maybe asking for trouble by filming it in black and white. Kids might, though it sadly seems to be less and less these days, check out a black and white movie on TV or on a DVD owned by their parents, but as a trip to the cinema with friends? Of course you could say that Frankenweenie is not really a kid’s film at all. I have a feeling that it will be partially doomed by being stuck in the middle between ‘being for children’ and ‘being for adults’. Burton’s decision to make the picture in black and white shows considerable artistic integrity and it’s funny how Disney now seem to let him do what he wants when in the 80’s they couldn’t stand his stuff. Less pleasing to me is his [or maybe Disney’s] decision to shoot the film in the big con known as 3D. It even opens with people watching a home movie wearing the old-style 3D glasses and them being told it’s in 3D. It seems sneaky to me and starts the film off on a sour note.

Fortunately it quickly gets very good. It basically closely remakes the older Frankenweenie, to the point of recreating scenes exactly, but adds some characters and subplots including a spot of monster rampaging near the end. Of course it’s all a riff on the Frankenstein story and a tribute to old horror movies, especially the 1931 Frankenstein [with a bit of Bride], from which both versions of Frankenweenie borrow a great deal including a cemetery [ though it’s now of course a pet cemetery] and a windmill climax. I reckon fans of old horror films will love spotting the many references to older pictures in the new version, many of them very brief and even subtle. You’ll see the original versions of Nosferatu and The Raven, The Birds, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage [one which certainly surprised me but seemed obvious], and even a gut who looks like Peter Lorre, while the whole film has a dark, Gothic mood despite its look actually being a lot simpler than one would expect from Burton, with less elaborate detail than usual. Amongst Burton’s own features it seems closest to Edward Scisssorhands, with its skewed version of suburbia and hill at the end of the main street, plus the way elements of the story pan out, though of course all that was there in the original Frankenweenie made years before the Johnny Depp picture.

Despite overall the film looking less visually striking than you would think, there is still some great detail to enjoy such as Victor’s laboratory, which is basically a Universal Frankenstein film-style set but done with everyday objects like heaters, bicycle wheels and tins, and what with characters usually sporting long spindly arms, stretched faces and big eyes [Victor looks just like his namesake in Corpse Bride], we are still definitely in Burtonland. The plot progresses very quickly and we are soon treated to a great set piece with Victor bringing his dog to life in his attic, with sparks flying and Danny Elfman’s music soaring at its bombastic best. Sparky’s revival is done beautifully, with the dog under a blanket and us seeing first the end of his tail wag, then his tongue emerge to lick Victor’s hand. It’s a lovely contrast to the usual ‘monster awakening’ scene you see in Frankenstein movies which are generally done with the emphasis on the horror. I also enjoyed seeing a scientist who was actually a positive character, in fact science in general is presented fairly sympathetically rather than as a Big Scary Thing; it’s just that it can be misused.

That misuse comes in the action-packed final third where others try their hand at reviving animals and it all goes pear shaped, resulting in such sights as a cat with bat wings and a huge turtle stomping about like he’s escaped from a Japanese Kaiju flick. This will seem like heaven to monster movie fans and I loved all this stuff, but I could have done with a couple of extra scenes between boy and dog to help give the film the emotional dimension it only occasionally has and which movies like the ’31 Boris Karloff classic have in spades. It almost seems like such scenes may have been in the film but were cut out, though I doubt it considering how time consuming stop motion is. I watched the original Frankenweenie before I set off for the cinema to watch the remake, and found it more affecting in its low-key way. This one is funnier though, especially a transformed hamster which is built up to be a huge H.P.Lovecraft-type creature but emerges as one of the most pathetic monsters you’ll ever see. Both versions still suffer from an out-of-place happy ending which just doesn’t work.

The voice cast all do fine work and especially an unrecognisable Martin Landau, though I kept asking myself “where’s Christopher Lee”? Elfman’s score makes cool use of the organ and the theramin though is very much Elfman-by-numbers and even sneaks in part of his Batman theme! Frankenweenie just falls short of the greatness it should have and, truth be told, I think Paranorman is a slightly better film. Nonetheless Mr Burton, the real Mr Burton, it’s good to have you back.

Rating: 8/10




chris kilby -> RE: Frankenweenie (31/10/2012 4:54:14 PM)

Frankenweenie is Tim Burton’s latest love letter to the “horrors” of his childhood. He’s sentimental is old Tim. For a goth, like.

A stop-motion animation remake of Burton’s quirky live action short of the same name about a boy and his dog. His, um, re-animated dead dog. Called Sparky. What else? Yup, this is a strange one even for Tim Burton. A kids’ film about death, loss and bereavement. No, wait. Come back!

It gets better. In a bold, if not commercially suicidal move, Frankenweenie is black and white. Proof, if it was needed, of just how much clout Hollywood’s perennial “outsider” has – could you imagine anyone else getting a Hollywood studio, let alone Disney, to cough up for a black and white kids’ film?

Stylistically Frankenweenie is The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Vincent, Burton’s animated Disney short. And like Vincent, this too pays affectionate tribute to Burton’s childhood hero - Martin Landau’s Mr Rzykruzki IS Vincent Price!

Burton inevitably pays tribute to his other childhood hero and frequent recent collaborator as well – Christopher Leeeeeeee’s Dracula appears on TV and it’s something you snuggle up to not cower from in terror. Burton’s horrors are always cosy and reassuring although it’s funny to think that lurid Hammer Horror which caused so much outrage back in the 50s is now the stuff of children’s entertainment.

Frankenweenie is more Universal monster mash than Hammer high camp, though. Burton’s most overtly expressionistic film since Batman Returns, the whole thing inevitably is an affectionate homage of James Whale’s Frankenstein from “You’re alive!” to The Bride of Frankenweenie!

But it doesn’t stop there. Frankenweenie is positively homage-tastic, riffing on everything from 30s Universal horror to 50s creature features, Jurassic Park and beyond. Gremlins, zombies and mummies, oh my! Not mention The Terror-pin From 20,000 Fathoms! A neat Harryhausen tribute. There are plenty of references to Burton’s own back catalogue too, including a sly wee nod to Batman.

It really doesn’t miss a trick. One of the creepy kids is even called “Shelly.” All the kids, apart from Victor, are creepy if not downright grotesque. With names like “Edgar E Gore” they are all Mini-Me Peter Lorres and Boris Karloffs to a boy. Then there’s the sombre little girl whose apparently psychic cat leaves “little messages” for people – eeeew!

There is something unmistakably Roald Dahl about all this as well. Especially the frankly shocking irreverence and downright disrespect shown towards parental authority throughout. “Sometimes adults don’t know what they’re talking about.” Sometimes?

Victor’s a science nerd, you see. But his well-meaning, if clueless, dad wishes he was “normal.” A jock. Vaguely autobiographical? It’s significant that Sparky dies cos Victor acquiesces to his dad’s wishes to play baseball instead of going to the science fare like he wanted to. Like that’s a bad thing. To thine own self be true is the message here. Unless you’re, like, a serial killer or a studio executive or something…

“There’s nothing wrong with Victor. He’s just in his own world.” Like all Burton’s films, at its heart Frankenweenie is a joyous celebration of individuality. Of being different. Of being the funny-looking kid with weird hair and kitchen implements for hands. Er…

It’s a celebration too of invention, imagination and intelligence – Victor’s Heath Robinson meets Strickfaden contraptions. As well as proudly, defiantly pro-science. Not to mention unapologetically pro-immigration even! Frankenweenie is subversive stuff. If you’re a reactionary moron who thinks evolution is something which happens to other people, of course. (It is, BTW.)

It’s ironic that Frankenweenie is a celebration of science and reason in the shape of a gothic horror pastiche. And it’s ironic that the film’s voice of reason should be a grotesque caricature one of THE gothic horror icons.

Crucially though, Frankenweenie doesn’t blindly worship at the altar of science. It pointedly isn’t an article of faith. “Science is not good or bad,” Mr Rzykruzki solemnly intones. “But it can be used both ways. That is why you must be careful.” Wise words indeed and a welcome refinement of the ultimately anti-intellectual message of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein - that there are things man was not meant to know. Bull. Shit. It is unfortunate as well as ironic that what is widely regarded as the first science fiction novel should also have established one of the founding clichés of the genre. And one which so spectacularly misses the point too. It’s a tradition which, it must be said, a lot of science fiction fans proudly uphold to this day.

It’s not just science fiction fans. For Frankenweenie is also The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Edward Scissorhands’ suburbia and the stifling, oppressive and self-limiting conformity that implies – the stuff of Burton’s real nightmares! “Ignorant, stupid, unenlightened,” as Mr Rzykruzki puts it in a wonderfully tactless put down of the entire town. Indeed, of Americans generally who “like the things science gives them [movies, for instance] but not the questions.”

Which makes Frankenweenie an unlikely if welcome salvo in America’s neverending “Culture Wars.” Religion, specifically creationism, isn’t mentioned once. But it’s there. The reanimated zombie elephant in the room. And it casts a longer shadow over Frankenweenie than Boris Karloff!

Refreshingly there are no real villains as such, just idiots. Often well-meaning idiots at that. Like Victor’s dad. Ignorance and superstition are the real enemy here, especially wilful ignorance. “Sometimes knowing too much is the problem,” proclaims one idiot - only a fool is ever that certain about anything. Which is suspiciously reminiscent of the ignoramus’ mantra: “too clever by half.” How can you be too clever? And surely being “too clever” is preferable the alternative? But ultimately the forces of wilful ignorance in the town are won over, reasoned with and persuaded to change their ways. If only real life was like that.

So no real baddies as such. But it’s interesting that the closest Burton comes to a villain - an ignorant, rabble-rousing mayor and respectable pillock-of-the-establishment – is called Bob Van Helsing. Which shows you precisely where his loyalties lie!

The town’s called New Holland, incidentally. A sly piss-take of the Hollywood sign and America’s puritanical protestant heritage alike, as well as a convenient excuse for an American town to have something as European as a windmill. Where better to stage a climactic homage of Frankenstein’s iconic ending – angry, torch-wielding mob and all? Tellingly, while the kids earlier used battery operated torches, their parents automatically reach for the traditional flaming variety. They do like a good old-fashioned witch hunt, our American cousins.

I just can’t help wondering how all this will go down back home. Tim Burton, the eternal goth outsider and now ex-pat Anglophile having a very pointed pop at the old country from across the pond…

What would Uncle Walt say? Now there’s a thing. That Frankenweenie is a Disney film must be sweet revenge for Burton. The sweetest. Was it not the original, live-action short version of this story which got him fired from Disney back in the 80s?

I can’t help wondering if turning Burton’s short into an animated feature was John Lassetter’s idea. There’s that (apocryphal?) story that when Lassetter took over at Disney, he called a meeting of all the suits and said “Hands up who can’t draw.” And fired everyone who put their hand up on the grounds that only creative people should be making creative decisions at the studio. I like that story. I don’t know if it’s true or not. But it should be. And can you even begin to imagine how satisfying that must have felt when Lassetter too got fired by The House of Mouse in the 80s for having the vision to see that computer animation was the future? Revenge is a dish which is best served… eventually. And Frankenweenie is the ultimate Revenge of the Nerds. The geek may not have inherited the earth, but they’ve certainly usurped the Magic Kingdom!

The ending does suggest an unintentional Ted-like scenario with a grown-up Victor still accompanied by his zombie mutt into adulthood whether he likes it or not. Night of the Living Ted? Be careful what you wish for…

Some critics have accused Frankenweenie of being “too scary for children.” Please! Some people clearly don’t remember what it’s like to be a kid. Like A Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie is spooky not scary. There’s a difference. But don’t take my word for it. My five-year old told me. He loved it!

So did I. Frankenweenie is a delightful film for kids of all ages - children, Goths and film geeks alike!




TheMightyBlackout -> RE: Frankenweenie (4/11/2012 7:45:34 PM)

As an insult to the ticket-buying public, Frankenweenie has been made in black and white, of all things! If only someone had spent more money and gotten the likes of Adam Sandler and Kevin James on board; they could have injected to much needed humour into the proceedings.
One thing's for sure: It's no Hotel Transylvania.




ajm1991 -> Frankenweenie (6/11/2012 7:58:02 AM)

FRANKENWEENIE by Tim Burton (2012): A nostalgic ride to the old school horror films and yesteryear silver screen techniques. It is no Tim Burton Classic but a masterpiece resulted from deep his deep devotion and passion towards quirky themes. This stop motion, black and white animated film is definitely the most personal film of Burton since Edward Scissor-hands. 'Frankenwennie' is encircled with his soul. Something that must be missed by those Burton Fans :)





Phubbs -> RE: Frankenweenie (7/1/2013 2:55:57 AM)

Frankenweenie (2012)

I'm not too sure what I think with this remake. On one hand Mr Burton is back on form with some classic Burton visuals and atmosphere yet on the other hand it feels like a rehash of all of his films quashed together. I do find myself thinking the same thing everytime I see a new Burton film.

Now don't get me wrong I'm a HUGE Burton fan and have been since 'Beetlejuice', but I can't deny that Burton has lost his touch recently and his last few films have failed to inspire. The reason for this being his unique quirky imagination has become somewhat stale and over used.

The original short film of 'Frankenweenie' was pretty neat because it was a curious cutesy homage to the classic monster film but wasn't dripping in Burton's typical trademarks. This new remake is gorgeous to look at and is indeed a wet dream for all gothic fans such as myself but as I review this I just can't help but think there is nothing new here.

OK its a remake so of course its not original but everything in this film has been hijacked from all his previous work. The suburban setting for the 'Frankenstein' family is the same typical Californian identikit urban sprawl that we've seen in many of Burton's films like 'Edward Scissorhands'. Some of the creatures in this film are literately ripped from his other films, the cat/bat creature and the werewolf-like rodent creature are both virtually the same creatures used in 'The Nightmare Before Christmas', and whilst watching the film you can see many little ideas dotted throughout from his other films.

The sequence where 'Victor' (Burton loves the names Victor and Vincent doesn't he) tries to bring 'Sparky' back to life has many little nods to previous films. Well I say nods but are they? I get the idea Burton simply can't resist putting these little kooky creations in his films ever since most of them appeared in 'Nightmare'.

The main character of 'Victor' is pretty much the same guy from 'Corpse Bride' with a dash of 'Vincent' and many of the child characters look familiar to Burton's 'Oyster Boy' stories. Now I'm not complaining because this is a lovely film which has a good heart and its fabulous to see Burton championing stop motion claymation in this day and age. You can appreciate the skill and craftsmanship involved creating these films, Burton and his team certainly deserve much credit and kudos for that.

There are some really nice touches throughout the film. The few characters that have a certain resemblance to classic character or actors of the horror genre, the 'Godzilla' homage was nice and this whole movie concept does work much better in this format. The old live action film felt a bit too silly but the whole idea fits the animation world just fine.

Anyway all I'm saying is despite the film being a nice return to 'classic Burton' of the 90's when his style (dare I say kink) was fresh and new. At the same time it is still a large rerun of his dark imagination all over again. I really can't help but wonder how long he can keep regurgitating his own ideas.

A beautiful visual halloween feast with lots of soul that will definitely warm the cockles of your heart. I just think Mr Burton really needs to broaden his horizons a tad as the constant use of certain styles, designs and cast is really getting thin. Other than that it is pleasing to see the digging up of that classic retro Burton of yore, just don't rely on that for your next projects Mr Burton. You can only make so many claymation films like this.




dseys -> DVD-BluRay star rating (6/2/2013 10:16:50 PM)

Just read the Re-view section in the latest Empire issue, was surprised to see how the ratings of the FOUR animation movies out this month were changed from 2, 3, 4, 4 (cinema reviews) to... 3, 3, 3, 3 (dvd reviews).

Why did you do that? There are huge and clear quality differences between these four movies. Putting "Hotel Transylvania" and "Frankenweenie" at the same level seems a little weird to me...




themanfromunkle -> not as good as ParaNorman (22/2/2013 12:52:09 PM)

Henry Sellick has outdone Tim Burton with Paranorman-Frankenweenie only has a solid gold last half hour-the story to this point is pretty dull and the story only gets going when the other kids visit the graveyard-(Shelly-an especially nice touch!)




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