Frankenweenie (2012)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking with great voice actors

Gets a little long at the end and strange message

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Frankenweenie

Studio:  Tim Burton Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Horror/Family

Release Date(s):  September 20, 2012 (Fantastic Fest)/October 5, 2012 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


A boy and his dog…his dead dog

Victor Frankenstein lives in the odd town of New Holland with his mother and father and his best friend and loyal companion Sparky.  When Victor is inspired by his new science teacher Mr. Rzykruski and an upcoming science fair, everything seems perfect.  Tragedy strikes however when Sparky is killed, and Victor is left mourning his beloved pet.  Determined not to lose his dog, Victor finds a way to bring Sparky back but tries to hide it from his family and friends.  The secret of Sparky gets out and now Victor’s classmates are trying to bring the dead back also…but sometime the dead should stay dead.


Everyone’s getting into the 3D craze

Directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie was an adaptation of his early 1984 short of the same title.  The 3D stop-motion animated film was released by Disney in black-and-white and met with positive reviews.  It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Frankenweenie is an odd film.  The original short was a fun little story and when paired with Burton’s homage to Vincent Price in Vincent, a fun little grouping of odd stories (they are usually available on The Nightmare Before Christmas).  Here, Frankenweenie is of course extended out to a full length film and that has advantages and disadvantages.


I wish real Sea Monkeys were this cool

First, Frankenweenie looks fantastic.  Burton’s style does work with the story and it looks like Edward Gorey type characters combined with the wit of Charles Addams of The Addams Family.  The choice to make it black-and-white is a bold choice in a world of bright and happy children’s films (of course it couldn’t avoid the 3D craze).  The character designs are great and the visuals really enhance the story.  With the images, there are some great odes to classic horror with both imagery and characters, plus some nods to other classic Claymation specials (like Mr. Bergermeister).

Frankenweenie is also aided by great voice actors.  Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, and Winona Ryder all lend their talents to the movie, and though it may only be their voices, it does add depth to the film.  I know if Vincent Price or some of the classic horror film actors like Karloff or Lugosi were still alive, that they would have been included, but the film does a great job substituting for them.


So is reanimating the dead a good or bad thing?

The problem I have with Frankenweenie is a bit with the story.  It felt like it was going to be a nice story about letting go…kind of an introduction to death for kids, though it does follow the basic plotlines of the original short.  *****Spoiler Alert***** Victor brings back his dog, but it isn’t right.  Sparky was meant to be dead, and I thought that the movie was going to present a kid with a second chance to say goodbye to a loved one with Sparky dying again at the end, and Victor accepting it.  Instead, Sparky is continued to be charged…slowly rotting and kind of falling apart…gross.  Plus, it gets a little long at the end.

Frankenweenie is not a bad movie, but I wish it had gone in a different direction.  Instead of teaching kids one thing about death, it takes a bizarre turn and doesn’t teach the lesson it seemed to be headed toward.  It is worth checking out, but it could be a little too intense for some younger kids with the themes presented in the film.

Related Links:

The 85th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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