Saturday, September 17, 2016

Frankenweenie (2012)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When I looked to see if Frankenweenie was available to review on Epinions, I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t.  What I found was the original, 1984 version that Tim Burton also made.  Both movies are based on an idea of Burton’s.  The 1984 version was written by Leonard Ripps and ran for only 29 minutes.  In 2012, Burton decided to make a feature-length version, this time written by John August.  (Epinions has the 1984 version listed, which I think may have prevented the 2012 version from being automatically added.)  Anyway, I’ll be reviewing the 2012 version as I haven’t seen the original short yet.

The movie is about a boy named Victor Frankenstein.  He loves science, making movies and above all else, his dog, Sparky.  His father wants him to find new things to love, as most parents would.  Victor keeps to himself, mostly, so his father gets him on to a baseball team.  This leads to a tragic accident that takes the life of Sparky.  Victor is devastated.  However, without this accident, we wouldn’t have a movie.  You see, it isn’t long before Victor’s favorite teacher, Mr. Rzykruski, inspires him with a demonstration of how an electric shock can make a frog’s leg move.  Victor gets the idea to reanimate Sparky.

This is one of those movies where everything goes right, making everything else go wrong.  The reanimation works, but Victor has to keep it a secret, even from his own family.  What would everyone think?  After all, people named Frankenstein don’t have the best track record with reanimated corpses.  This goes well until Sparky gets out and is seen by Edgar “E” Gore.  Pretty soon, many of Victor’s classmates want in on the action.  There’s a science fair coming up and a reanimated corpse would make for a great project.  Each of the classmates wants to reanimate various animals like sea monkeys.  It‘s up to Victor and Sparky to save the day.

This movie is not for everyone.  Tim Burton is one of those directors that is a bit unusual.  He’s directed Dark Shadows, Corpse Bride, Mars Attacks! and Edward Scissorhands to give you an idea.  (There’s also Big Fish and the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes, which are a bit more mainstreamish.)  Also, the movie is stop motion.  This may turn off some people and interest others.  The movie is a bit dark for smaller children.  You don’t see Sparky killed, but there’s no doubt what happens.  It should be safe for teens and up.

I had gotten this movie through Redbox while my brother was in town.  We had both wanted to see it, so I took the opportunity to use a free code that I had gotten through Checkpoints.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I kind of knew what to expect.  I have no problem with animated features and I’ve liked a few of Tim Burton’s films.  I caught a few references to other pet- and horror-related things.  If you look in the pet cemetery, there’s a turtle named Shelly and a Goodbye Kitty, among other things.  (Not everyone will catch these, so pay attention.)  There are a few other characters, like an Elsa Van Helsing, as well.

The movie had been released in 3-D in theaters.  I would have liked to see the movie this way, but I don’t know if there’s any easy, convenient way of doing this for a video release.  I know you can get durable blue-red stereoscopic glasses for a few dollars, but I don’t know how many people are going to order them when relatively few movies are released in 3-D.  Maybe one day, I’ll get the chance.

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