January 27, 2013
I am really NOT a fan of Tim Burton's dark and macabre stop-animated films. I have to admit I did not like his classics like "Corpse Bride" or "A Nightmare Before Christmas." I would not have watched "Frankenweenie" if it were not nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year. Now that I have seen it, I'm afraid I would have to add "Frankenweenie" to that list.
"Frankenweenie" is about a boy Victor who just lost his beloved dog Sparky to a heart-breaking car accident. Inspired by his eccentric science teacher, Victor devised a machine to bring dear Sparky back to life. His friends try to copy his experiment set-up to revive other dead creatures with various disastrous effects, wreaking havoc on their town. The film is essentially a homage of sorts for the Frankenstein movies, with side tributes to other monsters seen in similar classic campy horror flicks of old.
First off, I believe this movie is not really for kids below 10 years old at all. The subject matter is way too mature, darkly intense and disturbing for their young sensibilities. The imagery of the dead coming back to life can be the subject of nightmares for many kids, especially those events that transpire in the second half of this film.
Technically, the stop animation here is a throwback to old-style unsophisticated-looking animation, in contrast with the very polished-looking stop-animation employed in a similar kiddie horror film released also last year, "ParaNorman." And that one had the more family-friendly horror story to boot. While, "Frankenweenie" might be one of the favored to win the Oscar for Animated Feature this year, I would not give it my vote.