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Frankenweenie

Nov 28, 2012
By Laurence Boyce

Frankenweenie

Director: Tim Burton

Beginning life as a short, Tim Burton has revisited a film he made in 1984 and (appropriately given the subject matter) resurrected it into a full length feature. Shot in black and white it’s full of the kind of dark weirdness that we’ve come to expect from Burton while also being homage to films of the past. One feels the film is also Burton looking back on his own past as both an animator and filmmaker.

The film concerns young Victor Frankenstein whose beloved dog Sparky finds himself on the worse end of a road accident. Unable to accept the death of his pet, Victor starts some experimenting and soon finds a way to bring the mutt back from the grave.

Burton’s preoccupation with death is given free reign here as he explores ideas of immortality and the fear of the unknown with the gleeful eye of a child. Burton has always understood that children are in fact fascinated with the dark, the weird and the strange and this film makes some great use of dark humor. But there’s also a warmth and tenderness here that is completely endearing. The animation is gorgeous with the black and white providing a nice contrast from the garishly colored films that we’ve become so used to though those who have seen the original might miss the homemade puppetry that made it so charming. A voice cast consisting of the usual Burton alumni – amongst them Martin Landau and Winona Ryder – do a great job and the whole affair is a wonderful evocation of childhood and a more innocent era. Albeit a more innocent era where they resurrected dogs…

A worthy and excellent addition to some of the great animations in 2012 and a return to form after some slight disappointments from Burton.

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