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Frankenweenie (2012)

aka Frankenweenie

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 87 mins · English · PG (USA)

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A Sloppy Parody of a General Genre

I've never been a huge fan of Tim Burton's work, but, going into this film, I was optimistic; a claymation style film based on an "original" idea of Burton's, something that hasn't really happened in a while, beyond the fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas and okay Corpse Bride. However, "original" to Burton is "good cinema" means to me; that is to say, they mean very different things to us than they do to other people. There's nothing really novel about this film, as it ends up being a giant parody of the horror genre in general, focused on perhaps the most over-utilized and parodied of them all, crossed with what imagine Burton's childhood was like.
Victor Frankenstein is a young boy who's only friend is his dog, who dies suddenly, resulting in him attempting to bring him back to life. Well, attempt isn't the quite the right word, as trailers and posters make the result pretty clear. Yet, despite this being a given, it takes the movie much to long to get to this point, introducing us...(more)

I've never been a huge fan of Tim Burton's work, but, going into this film, I was optimistic; a claymation style film based on an "original" idea of Burton's, something that hasn't really happened in a while, beyond the fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas and okay Corpse Bride. However, "original" to Burton is "good cinema" means to me; that is to say, they mean very different things to us than they do to other people. There's nothing really novel about this film, as it ends up being a giant parody of the horror genre in general, focused on perhaps the most over-utilized and parodied of them all, crossed with what imagine Burton's childhood was like.
Victor Frankenstein is a young boy who's only friend is his dog, who dies suddenly, resulting in him attempting to bring him back to life. Well, attempt isn't the quite the right word, as trailers and posters make the result pretty clear. Yet, despite this being a given, it takes the movie much to long to get to this point, introducing us vaguely to a variety of bland and lifeless side-characters, ranging from a racist Asian child to an obnoxious Igor copy-cat. Something that particularly bothered me about them, though, was some of the character designs. While the creative looks to some of these people might have worked in an otherworldly setting like Halloween Town, here, in reality, they are very distracting, and frequently drew me out of the story.
The narrative drags on way to long, mostly because the dog is our main character for the most part. While Victor is meant to be more of a focal character in the actual plot, we spend a lot of time following the dog by himself as he roams about the small town, allowing for references here and there, but mostly just taking up our time. And, when the movie is only an hour and a half long, it becomes clear quickly by how much time is wasted that there wasn't much here to begin with. Admittedly, claymation does take a long time to make, but it often feels like things are put into the film with little purpose than references to better films. And, as audiences reach the finale, it seemed that Burton couldn't help himself from including any popular horror franchise however he could, making nods to Godzilla, the Swamp Monster, Mummies, and a variety of other such beings, leaving the ending feeling like a really weak retread through much too familiar territory.
Ultimately, I don't think Burton understood what a parody really was, trying to recreate scenes rather than play off of them in a new and invigorating way. Instead, we see a lot of nods that fall flat except to those who find themselves constantly re-watching those works. Frankweenie, while a cute idea, dies before it really begins. (less)

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Cast:

Small Elsa van Helsing (voice)
Small Mr Frankenstein / Nassor / Mr. Bergermeister (voice)
Small Susan Frankenstein / Weird Girl / Gym Teacher (voice)
Small Mr. Rzykruski (voice)
Small Bob (voice)
Small Edgar 'E' Gore (voice)
Small Townsfolk (voice)
Small Victor Frankenstien (voice)
Small Toshiaki (voice)
Small Movie Dracula
Small Bob's Mom (voice)
Small Sparky Frankenstein (voice)
Small Persephone / Shelly / Colossus / Mr. Whiskers (voice)
Small Giant Sea Monkeys (voice)

Crew:

Small Tim Burton Director
Small Danny Elfman Original Music Composer
Small Don Hahn Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Allison Abbate Production
Small Tim Burton Production
No_movie_poster John August Writer
Small Tim Burton Other
No_movie_poster Leonard Ripps Story Contributor
Small Tim Burton Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Chris Lebenzon Editing

Plot:

Young filmmaker and scientist Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) lives with his parents, Edward and Susan Frankenstein (Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara) and his beloved dog, Sparky, in the quiet town of New Holland. Victor's intelligence is recognized by his classmates at school, his somber next-door neighbor, Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder), mischievous, Igor-like Edgar "E" Gore (Atticus Shaffer), obese and gullible Bob (Robert Capron), overconfident Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao), creepy Nassor (also Short), and an eccentric girl nicknamed Weird Girl (also O'Hara), but communicates little with them due to his relationship with his dog. Concerned with his son's isolation, Victor's father encourages him to take up baseball and make achievements outside of science. Victor hits a home run at his first game, but Sparky, pursuing the ball, is struck by a car and killed.


Inspired by his science teacher Mr. Rzykruski's (Martin Landau) demonstration of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, a depressed Victor digs up Sparky's corpse, brings him to his makeshift laboratory in the attic, and successfully reanimates him with lightning. Seeing Weird Girl's living cat, Mr. Whiskers, the undead Sparky escapes from the attic and explores the neighborhood. He is recognized by Edgar, who blackmails Victor into teaching him how to raise the dead. The two reanimate a dead goldfish, which turns invisible due to an error with the experiment. Edgar brags about the undead fish to Toshiaki and Bob, which, in panic of losing the upcoming science fair, inspires them to make a rocket out of soda bottles, which causes Bob to break his arm and Mr. Rzykruski to be blamed and fired due to his accused influencing and reviling the townsfolk for questioning his methods when he steps up for self-defence. So, The Gym Teacher (also O'Hara) replaced Mr. Rzykruski.


Eventually, Edgar's fish disappears when he tries to show it to a skeptical Nassor (who was told by Toshiaki) and when Edgar is confronted by Toshiaki, Nassor, and Bob on the baseball field at school, he accidentally reveals Victor's actions, inspiring them to try reanimation themselves. Victor's parents discover Sparky in the attic and are frightened, causing the dog to flee. Victor and his parents search for Sparky while the classmates invade the lab, discovering Victor's reanimation formula. The classmates separately perform their experiments, which go awry and turn the dead animals into monsters—Mr. Whiskers holds a dead bat while it is electrocuted, turning him into a vampire cat; Edgar turns a dead rat he found in the garbage into a wererat; Nassor revives his mummified hamster Colossus; Toshiaki's turtle Shelley is covered in a growth formula and turns into a giant Gamera-like monster; and Bob's Sea-Monkeys grow into amphibious humanoid monsters. The monsters break loose into the town fair where they wreak havoc.


After finding Sparky at the town's pet cemetery, Victor sees the monsters attacking the fair and goes to help his classmates deal with them—-the Sea-Monkeys explode after eating salt-covered popcorn, and Colossus is stepped on by Shelley, while the rat and Shelley are returned to their original, deceased forms after being electrocuted. During the chaos, the town's mayor's niece Elsa van Helsing is grabbed by Mr. Whiskers and carried to the town windmill. The townsfolks blame Sparky for her disappearance and chase him to the windmill, which Mayor Bergermeister (also Short) accidentally ignites with his torch. Victor and Sparky enter the burning windmill and rescue Elsa, but Victor is trapped inside. Sparky rescues Victor, only to be dragged back inside by Mr. Whiskers. A final confrontation ensues, and just as Mr. Whiskers has Sparky cornered, a flaming piece of wood breaks off and impales him. He gives one dying screech and the windmill collapses on Sparky, killing him again. To reward him for his bravery, the townsfolk gather to revive Sparky with their car batteries, reanimating him once more. Persephone, Elsa's pet poodle, who has a hair style similar to the Elsa Lanchester's Bride of Frankenstein, comes to Sparky as the two dogs share their love.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2012-09-20 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2012-10-04 : Russia

Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : Canada

Theatrical : 2012-11-23 : Lithuania

Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : Paraguay

Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : Romania

Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Spain

Theatrical : 2012-10-17 : Belgium

Theatrical : 2012-10-17 : Ireland

Theatrical : 2012-10-17 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : New Zealand

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Portugal

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Ukraine

Theatrical : 2012-10-25 : Australia

Theatrical : 2012-10-25 : Chile

Theatrical : 2012-10-31 : France

Theatrical : 2012-11-02 : Brazil

Theatrical : 2012-11-22 : Argentina

Theatrical : 2012-11-22 : Greece

Theatrical : 2012-11-29 : Singapore

Theatrical : 2012-12-15 : Japan

Theatrical : 2012-12-28 : Turkey

Theatrical : 2013-01-03 : Czech Republic

Theatrical : 2013-01-03 : Hungary

Theatrical : 2013-01-11 : Sweden

Theatrical : 2013-01-17 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2013-01-17 : Italy

Theatrical : 2013-01-18 : Norway

Theatrical : 2013-01-24 : Germany

Theatrical : 2013-01-24 : Switzerland

Theatrical : 2013-01-25 : Norway

Theatrical : 2012-10-31 : Switzerland

Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : Colombia

Theatrical : 2012-10-11 : Russia

Theatrical : 2012-10-11 : Spain

Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : El Salvador

Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Mexico

Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Panama

Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Vietnam

Theatrical : 2012-10-17 : Philippines

Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Thailand

Theatrical : 2012-10-19 : Pakistan

Theatrical : 2012-10-26 : Taiwan

Theatrical : 2012-11-01 : Argentina

Theatrical : 2012-11-08 : Israel

Theatrical : 2012-11-09 : Estonia

Theatrical : 2012-11-09 : Turkey

Theatrical : 2012-11-15 : Singapore

Theatrical : 2012-11-15 : Slovenia

Theatrical : 2012-12-07 : Poland

Theatrical : 2013-01-04 : Bulgaria

Theatrical : 2013-01-10 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2013-01-10 : Serbia

Theatrical : 2013-01-11 : Finland

Theatrical : 2013-01-17 : Switzerland

Theatrical : 2013-01-31 : Croatia

DVD : 2013-01-08 : United States of America

2012-10-25 : Malaysia

2012-10-19 : Iceland

2012-10-04 : United States of America

2012-10-10 : United Kingdom

2012-10-30 : France

2013-01-09 : Serbia