Starring: Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend), Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice), Martin Short (Three Amigos), Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Director: Tim Burton (Batman)
Writer: John August (Big Fish)
Runtime: 1 hour 27 minutes
Release Date: October 5th (US), October 17th (UK)
Tim Burton certainly has had a mixed career, hasn’t he? He’s made amazing films such as Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands, but then he does Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes. So when something new from Burton’s warped mind comes along, I always have hope but must remain sceptical. But put down your torches and pitchforks, because his latest creation Frankenweenie is alive and here to stay.
If you know the basics of the original Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein, then you know the basics of this. But it’s the unique spin Burton puts on the tale that makes it great. The connection the film makes between Victor (Tahan) and his dog Sparky is tremendous and sucks you in almost immediately. The film is full of horror references as obvious as Dracula and as obscure as Gamera; classic horror fans will find this a treat. The film is very short, so the movie does go by quickly but rightly so considering its fast pace.
The cast is made up of Burton regulars, but surprisingly absent are his super-regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (guess they were off doing The Lone Ranger without their precious master). But the cast here is perfectly fine. Charlie Tahan does well as the lead, but he didn’t blow my socks off. Ryder and Short also do commendable work, particular Short’s character of Nassor (who uses a great Boris Karloff voice). But the standout amongst the cast is Martin Landau as the science teacher; not only is the design of his character unique, but Landau gives this character so much life that you can’t take your eyes off him. Pity he’s only in a handful of scenes.
The stop-motion here is classic Burton. If you’re familiar with The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride, you know what his style is and it continues to work here. Like with most recent stop-motion, CG is used to enhance certain scenes, but it doesn’t detract from the countless hours of work the animators put into creating this world. As usual, Danny Elfman provides the score and, while very familiar, is as eerie and awesome as ever.
Like how Victor Frankenstein repaired his beloved dog, Frankenweenie has repaired my faith in Tim Burton. This is his best film in over a decade and should be seen by anyone who loves a good time at the movies. I know every time this year I’ve reviewed an animated movie, I said it was the best one, but this time I mean it. Go see this movie!
FINAL VERDICT: 8.5/10