A lot of critics would argue that Tim Burton has just been remaking the same film throughout the past two decades but there is a generation of ‘20 somethings’ who grew up on his classic The Nightmare Before Christmas that will fall in love with his latest effort, Frankenweenie.
Frankenweenie is an original twist on the classic Frankenstein tale dreamt up by Burton himself and he has admitted it contains biographical elements, which isn’t hard to see – the film focuses on Victor Frankenstein, a young boy with a passion for film-making, which makes him an outcast in a ‘messed up’ society.
When Victor’s pet dog Sparky dies, the film suddenly delves into much more of a mature direction, where death is a topic Disney doesn’t shy away from. Frankenweenie often seems to be lacking an idea of who its audience is and Burton doesn’t seem too worried about whether or not the film appeals to children. Disney has featured death in its films before, but it’s rare for them to show a young boy so distraught after the loss of his dog, that he creates an ingenious plan to bring his canine friend back to life. However, when the plan backfires and he creates monsters out of dead pets, drastic measures must be taken by the unlikely hero to save the day (it turns out it is Disney after all).
The gothic animation sees the director reunite with Disney once more for a collaboration that fans will love, for its witty nods to Burton’s previous work and the horror genre as a whole. The humour is mainly based around old school black and white horror films and some may even be unrecognisable to adults who aren’t serious film nerds.
While the black and white can be jarring towards the second half of the film, the stop-motion animation is practically flawless and the character design is a showcase of the designers’ sheer talent and skill. The stylisation of 1950s suburban America is one of the best aesthetics of the film and it’s hard to imagine this film having a more suitable setting.
The story is slightly predictable in points but it’s hard to think of a film this autumn which will provide escapism as good as this. While not exactly a new wave of cinema, Frankenweenie is a nice celebration of Burton’s history and the genre he helped to create.
If you’re a Tim Burton fan, you will love Frankenweenie. If you just want to escape from everyday life, it’s your best chance out of all current movie releases and if you just want to take a chance, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Frankenweenie might not break boundaries but it’s a safe bet at all round entertainment this Halloween for those who can’t handle the real spine tinglers.