Thursday, October 30, 2014

ANI-MOVIES, *Frankenweenie

Based on his live-action short movie from the 80s, Tim Burton spread this out into a full-length stop-motion black and white animated movie some two decades later. Whether this was something Burton himself wanted to do, or if he was urged by Disney to create as an the obligatory stop-motion animation film that seems to always come out sometime before Halloween is unknown. But the result was a better than average production.

A modern day young Victor Frankenstein(who apparently has no connection to the 19th Century scientist)is into making little amateur monster movies, which oddly enough doesn't really play out to anything else in the rest of the movie. After a dramatic new science teacher greatly inspires him and the rest of his school to go full throttle on the upcoming science fair, his classmate Edgar tries to team up with him on a project, but Victor isn't interested. However, his dog Sparky gets run over, so Victor decides to use science to bring him back with common household objects that he ties together to generate electricity captured by lightning, which is convenient since there's oddly a lightning storm in his town about every night. Victor has to keep Sparky's resurrection a secret, but Edgar finds out, and gets Victor to show him he did it. Edgar accidently lets some of the other eggheads in school know about it, and they try to create their own reanimated pets to win the science fair. The results are a bunch of nightmarish creations that run rampant on the small town. Victor and the others manage to stop the monster mash, but Sparky ends up dying again after battling a vampire cat in a windmill. The rest of the town uses their car batteries to bring Sparky back from doggy heaven, and accept him as true hero. You'd think after this, Sparky would join the B.P.R.D.

Frankenweenie on its own original worked spectacularly as a live-action short, but to turn this into a 90-minute animated really called for some slightly unnecessary additional material. Like, it's hard to imagine that there would be this many mad scientist wannabes living in a small Midwest town. Even Smallville wasn't this bad! Plus, all the stuff with Victor's a-hole of a neighbor/mayor didn't really add anything to it. However, the final execution makes for a good enough movie for the family to enjoy. The typical Burton character designs work well, at least mostly in black and white. The voice acting was good too, with Martin Landau at his best ad the overzealous science teacher. At least worth putting on for a good Halloween film fest for the kids.

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