Frankenweenie (2012)

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-

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About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on October 20, 2012, in 2012 Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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