Tim Burton’s stop-motion remake of his own 30-minute short is a cute movie, even with the creepy subject matter. It’s the story of a boy and his dog and coming to terms with loss, although that seems to get stalled since the kid brings his dog back to life. Frankenweenie is, as my pal Eric said, Burton’s love letter to the Universal monsters of old, as other kids resurrect their pets into mummies, vampires, werewolves, etc. As a story, it’s pretty plain and seems thin and padded out. The animation is fun to watch but I couldn’t shake my questions about the character design. It feels like the only parts that move on these bulky faces are their tiny mouths. It’s a strange design that undercuts the animators’ efforts, and I couldn’t help comparing it to the superior and expressive animation from ParaNorman. I’d say this is the weakest stop-motion film with Burton’s name attached to it, but by no means is Frankenweenie a bad film. It’s got some fun jokes and any story about the loss of a beloved pet is going to have plenty of heart. There are some pretty solid jokes but they all seem to pool in the first act. I enjoyed Sparky the dog’s romance with the neighboring poodle, more so than any of the human relationships. Beyond the kid/dog aspect, I found it hard to engage with the movie. If you have to see one stop-motion animated film about the supernatural, check out ParaNorman instead.
Nate’s Grade: B-