Film: Frankenweenie (2012)

Cover image


Director: Tim Burton
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

From Disney and creative genius Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas) comes the hilarious and offbeat Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog.

After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town learn that getting a new ‘leash on life’ can be monstrous.


Essentially a Tim Burton homage to the classic 1931 film Frankenstein, Frankenweenie is a stylized black-and-white, stop-motion animated movie about a very smart boy named Victor and his love for his pet dog Sparky. When Sparky gets hit and killed by a car, Victor is heartbroken at the loss of his only friend. Then, in his science class, Victor’s teacher demonstrates how electrical impulses make muscles move. Victor gets the sudden inspiration to harness the power of lightning to bring back his friend and win the school science fair at the same time. Victor’s experiment tests the limits of science and love, provokes jealousy in his classmates, sends a serious shock wave through the neighborhood, and generates unintended consequences that threaten the entire community. This film is funny and engaging, especially to those familiar with the original Frankenstein, but the plot does feel rather piecemeal. What’s absolutely perfect is the ominous black-and-white world Burton creates with an abundance of puppets and his eye for the creepy. Tim Burton fans will be interested to discover that Frankenweenie is actually a remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name. (Ages 8 and older) —Tami Horiuchi

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