Review: Frankenweenie

Ellie Price 13 November 2012


Josh Radnor (PG) 97 mins

Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ has a long history. In 1982, Burton made a short animation entitled ‘Vincent’, about a young boy who experiments on his pet dog, which was followed in 1984 by the 30 minute live-action short, ‘Frankenweenie’, on which the 2012 stop-motion film is based. After the death of his dog, the 10-year-old, introverted Vincent, inspired by his science teacher’s class experiments involving electricity and a dead frog, brings his dog, Sparky, back to life. However, when his classmates discover Sparky alive and rummaging around the bins of the school cafeteria, they attempt experiments of their own in a bid to win the school science fair, which leads to calamitous consequences for the town.

Although it’s another dark yet quirky film about a social outcast living in American suburbia, ‘Frankenweenie’ doesn’t feel like a boring repeat of something Burton has made before. The use of stop-motion gives it a handcrafted, personal touch. As well as being a wonderfully moving film about the love of a boy for his dog, it’s also very funny (Mr Whiskers the cat, who has psychic bowel movements, being just one example). Burton has filled ‘Frankenweenie’ with homages to his cultural influences (one of Victor’s classmates looks like something out of ‘Village of the Damned’ and another has a pet tortoise aptly named Shelley), so whilst being classified as a PG, it should in no way be seen only as a film for kids. ‘Frankenweenie’ shows a true return to form for Burton.

Ellie Price