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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2012
FRANKENWEENIE is a black-and-white 3D stop-motion horror/comedy directed by Tim Burton (DARK SHADOWS, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CORPSE BRIDE). What a fantastic, funny, imaginative film! I preferred this film to the recent PARANORMAN, and it was almost as good as the amazing CORALINE. Tim Burton's films have been getting worse and worse in terms of quality, in my opinion, but this is a huge improvement!

Young Victor Frankenstein has no friends except for his adorable pet dog, Sparky. When tragedy strikes and Sparky is killed, Victor feels more alone than ever. Until one day, when he performs a dangerous and controversial experiment, which brings Sparky back to life. Soon, however, his class mates discover what he has done and attempt to bring back all the dead pets of the town. Can Victor and Sparky stop the onslaught of deformed, monstroys pets, or will the town be plunged into total chaos?

The storyline was incredibly original and inventive, and featured some very powerful moments. I felt that the black-and-white really enhanced the storyline and made the film all the more enjoyable. The ending was scary, action-packed and emotional, and I thought the dialogue was very realistic.

The characters were fleshed-out, creative, whacky and thoroughly interesting. When the dog dies, you really feel sorry for Victor and there are one or two scenes that really make you care about pretty much every character, even the cruel ones. Weird Girl was hilarious!

The animation was a lot smoother than many of the other stop-motion flicks I've seen. I loved PARANORMAN so much but some of the animation was a bit dodgy. FRANKENWEENIE was far more impressive animation-wise. I think the 3D really wasn't needed at all, but it didn't take away from the films brilliance.

The voice cast was great. The person who did Victor was fantastic and Catherine O'Hara was brilliant as Weird Girl and Victor's mother! Overall, FRANKENWEENIE was a near-perfect thrill-ride, with wit, action and scares that all added up to a classic stop-motion. 10/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 March 2014
Sometime in the 80s of the last century, the quirky visionary Tim Burton made a short, "Frankenweenie." This was not widely available, if not even banned by Disney. And finally, the full-legth 3D stop-motion "Frankenweenie" hit the big screens of the world in 2012, and I was excited to finally watch it at home, a few days ago.

The new "Frankenweenie" (delightful and wonderful stop-motion, if you loved Coraline (Blu-ray 3D) [2009] [Region Free] and ParaNorman (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy) [2012], you will love this!) is one of Burton's best works, and it has pretty simple and humane plot - a young boy's adored dog (a pit-bull!) dies. What has one to do, instead of mourning?

Victor, who is an introverted loner, but also quite an ingenious and brave kid, encouraged by his science teacher (An Eastern European, but of course!), decides to dig the pet up, hit him with a lot of electricity and, perhaps, succeed in bringing his Sparky back to life. Is he lucky in his enterprise, you wonder? Oh yeah, but the experiment carries quite a few... what to call it... side effects. Naturally, these things never quite work out the way we expect. And this time Burton really raises the ante with a monster rally of a plot that adds several additional fiends and layers of movie memories.

This feature is black and white, which makes even more amazing the fact that, even though it lacks in colour, it is full of awesome touches, such as the massive gap-toothed kid at school, who looks very much like a certain man-made monster, another pupil of the New Holland elementary school is a sinisterly cerebral Asian, then there's the bizarre girl who thinks her kitty's litter conveys evil omens (my personal favourite!).

Please beware that sensitive children may find the scenes depicting the gothic pet cemetery distressing and freak out at the violent culmination. But many kids will certainly enjoy the Burton-esque gore.

And last but not least, in the extras, you will find the amazing original Kubrick-esque short "live action" film! In my [adult] opinion, it is even better than the animation version, I swear! Five stars for the whole package.
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on 1 May 2016
Tim Burton is one of the Brothers Grimm, a born fabulist and storyteller with a gothic imagination and macabre sense of humour. He thinks in parables and gives us beautiful and memorable fairytales. He’s also an artist with heart. Some tales told by him may be sentimental, but sometimes it’s good to say, “Three cheers for sentimentality!” Such is the case here in this story about a boy who tragically loses his dog, a being he can’t live without. A love story, then, between Victor and Sparky, boy and dog.

One day on the ball field Victor and friends are playing baseball. Someone hits a home run and the ball flies into the street beyond the field. Sparky is feisty, energetic. He will chase anything — cats, birds, butterflies. And now, as it happens, a baseball. The ball rolls, Sparky runs. A car speeds in the street. It tries to stop but can’t. Or not in time. Sparky dies. Victor is devastated.

The devastation lasts a long time, longer than normal. Concentration goes, energy too. Victor, once so perky and joyful, is listless, lonely, lost. His parents love and console him. They tell him Sparky still lives in his heart. But Victor, too crushed and bitter to care, says to them:

“I don’t want him in my heart. I want him here with me.”

Victor is nerdy, skinny, a dorky science geek. He loves the power and magic of science, its transformative, alchemical properties. And it’s almost predestined that this should be, as his is a literary-scientific name — Frankenstein. Like God, he is interested in the power of resurrection. He wants to be a great alchemist who can turn death into life.

Sparky is gone until a spark, quite literal, is struck in science class by the teacher. A dead frog, placed on a petri dish, is wired up to an electrical power source. Mr. Rzykruski, the teacher, a towering authoritarian figure, is an Old World refugee who speaks English with a thick Eastern European accent. He has to be from Transylvania. If not, Poland, right? Or maybe from Battle Creek, Michigan, home of Kellogg’s, as his name almost sounds like Rice Crispies. Victor, lethargic as usual, only half listens as Mr. Rzykruski says:

“Just like lightning, the nervous system is electricity. We are wires and springs and cables to send the messages.”

But then suddenly Victor is all ears. He sits up straight when he hears the teacher say:

“Even after death the wiring remains. Watch as the muscles respond to the electricity.”

Victor does. He watches the frog’s legs spring to life.

He runs home excitedly, his mind feverish with items he must gather for his experiment. But first he must retrieve the body.

On a cold, rainy night, the sky filled with thunder and lightning, he arrives at the pet cemetery, torch and shovel in hand. Sparky is buried on a hill like Calvary, the highest in the cemetery. Over his resting place stands a stone cross. In a grave next to him Hello Kitty is buried, the sad message carved into her tombstone short and bittersweet: “Goodbye Kitty”. Yes, so long. Wet from the driving rain, Victor digs down through mud and soil. The tip of the shovel hits the small coffin and Victor digs it up, placing it in a cloth sack. Thunder cracks and wild animals howl as Victor leaves the cemetery, now officially a body snatcher.

In the attic of his parents’ suburban house Victor has his laboratory. Rigged up to pulleys and chains, a wooden platform can be pulled up to its skylight. Victor places the corpse of Sparky on this platform and then a blanket over the body. Through the skylight he runs kites and umbrellas attached to twine and string. They sail high into the sky and into the heart of the storm above. Lightning flashes and electricity races down to the skylight. Sparky’s body is jolted with volts. It shakes and smokes under the blanket.

Victor lowers Sparky into his lab. Minutes pass and nothing happens. There is no life. With closed, wet eyes Victor embraces Sparky and says to him, “Sorry, boy.”

More time passes. Then, from under the blanket, the tail moves a little and starts to wag. Sparky’s tongue darts out and licks Victor’s hand. Sparky looks a mess — like death warmed over, so to speak (bolts in his neck, stitches everywhere, body parts falling off) — but Victor is out of his head with joy. Sparky is alive and that’s what matters. Victor Frankenstein has lived up to his famous name.

Sparky looks monstrous, but he’s no monster. He’s the Sparky of old, if battered and low on energy. If he gets rundown, Victor attaches clamps to his neck bolts and runs a potent charge through him. That always perks him up now.

Naturally, no one can know. For now Victor must keep Sparky tethered in the attic. This happens for a while but can’t last. Sparky chases the neighbour’s cat through the skylight and enters the world again.

Victor’s friend Edgar is the first to know. He saw Sparky by the school gym. Edgar, sad to say, is an ugly hunchback and talks like Peter Lorre. His full name is Edgar E. Gore, as in Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s original hunchback assistant in the 1931 movie. Edgar says he’ll spill the beans unless Victor teaches him how to perform the miracle. Reluctantly, Victor consents. In the attic lab, again on a rainy night, they bring a dead fish back to life. However, something goes wrong with the experiment and the fish, though alive again, is invisible.

Other boys from the school and science class are eager to win top prize at the upcoming Science Fair. They bully Edgar into revealing what he knows about Victor’s experiments. Over the past few days other experiments performed by these classmates have gone horribly wrong, resulting in injury.

Word spreads fast through the town that the eccentric science teacher is inciting the students to perform dangerous experiments. A lynch mob forms. Well, not one with torches ready to burn him to death, but a group of angry parents with a lynch mob mentality. Hastily, a meeting at the school is assembled for the public. Worried and distraught parents attend. On stage the town’s mayor announces that the teacher has been sacked. All parents but Victor’s are relieved. This foreign menace has been removed from the school and can no longer corrupt our children with his weird, eccentric and ‘foreign’ ideas.

But before Rzykruski departs he is called to the stage to explain and defend himself. Tactless, condescending and judgemental, he is no diplomat, politeness and popularity not being items he prizes. He says this to his audience:

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think the conclusion here is that you are all very ignorant. Is that the right word, ‘ignorant’? I mean ‘stupid’, ‘primitive’, ‘unenlightened’. You do not understand science, so you are afraid of it. Like a dog is afraid of thunder or balloons. To you, science is magic and witchcraft because you have such small minds.” [gasp from the audience] “I cannot make your heads bigger, but your children’s heads, I can take them and crack them open. This is what I try to do, to get at their brains!”

Then, demented laughter from the mad science teacher as the audience again gasps.

Rzykruski is replaced by the gym teacher, a rotund young woman with little going on upstairs, meaning between the ears. That figures: the way of education in America, I suppose.

Out in the car park Victor says goodbye to his beloved science teacher. Rzykruski sees that Victor is sad and tries to console and encourage him. First he complains that people want science only because of what it can bring them. They don’t care to understand what it is and how it works. They don’t ask questions, always a sign of missing curiosity. Before driving away and out of Victor’s life, he leaves this kernel of wisdom with his bright young student:

“Science is not good or bad, but it can be used both ways. That is why you must always be careful.”

Previously he has also told Victor that science is not conducted solely with the head. You have to have heart too. You have to love knowledge and learning and the wonderful things they bring. Science is a tool that can help us. Thus science is our friend, not the enemy.

Victor intuitively knows all this to be true. And now he knows it experientially too. It was electricity, not wishful thinking or superstition, that brought life back to Sparky. It was knowledge and understanding of electricity and nature and how they work that helped perform the miracle.

We are left with such consoling thoughts by the film. Though on the surface it looks a childish entertainment (puppets and figurines filmed in stop-action black-and-white), its wisdom and humanity run deep. It doesn’t apologise for what science has given us. It celebrates it.
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This stop motion animation has all the visual style that you expect from a Tim Burton film, shot entirely in black and white which after a while seems to work pretty well (during the early scenes you do wonder if he'll switch to colour)

The story is basically a re-working of the classic Frankenstein story with the main character now being a dog rather than a man, this is quite tame regarding onscreen images (there is no gore as such and quite suitable for children to watch) We are introduced to Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) who has a strong interest in science at school and adores his dog Sparky, but whilst out playing a baseball game the dog sadly dies when chasing the ball, Victor who is struck with grief but determined to bring Sparky back to life to be with him again. As expected you get the bolts in the neck procedure with some rather large stitching on the limbs...and a swift dose of lighting to re-animate the deceased dog.

There is a bit of variation from the Mary Shelley original (here we have science competition rivals who also bring back other animals from the dead which causes problems in the town later on in the film) but quite a few passing nods too in many parts. Animation is very good and the b&w feel works well for this film. There are some solid cast members including Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Martin Short all of whom do the voice acting very well really no complaints on this front.

It's an enjoyable film in most ways, if there is to be one area that might pull things down a little it's simply being based on such a well known story you're never really in doubt as to what happens next (though the final scene isn't a copy of the story it provides a satisfactory ending for viewers, esp the younger ones) The boy/dog bond is something that will find favour with most viewers though. As per usual there is a somewhat "creepy" Tim Burton vibe about many of the characters, I'm personally not a huge Burton fan (he is unusual at times but sometimes it doesn't work for me), though here he has done a decent job. A decent family film and a good watch for the kids it's probably one of his better productions to date.
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If it wasn't for my little sister this film would have just probably passed me by, but I am so glad that I have seen and got this DVD. Set in the American Sixties small town of New Holland this is ideal for family viewing. There is enough excitement, comedy and thrills to keep everyone entertained in a film which is really a homage to the horror movie genre. As an adult whilst following the story along with your children you will also find yourself identifying all the in jokes to well known horror films, which to give you some idea include obviously Frankenstein, also The Fly, Godzilla and even The Gremlins, as well as many more.

Filmed in black and white the animation is perfect, and so much detail has gone into the sets and characters that this will leave you stunned. When the school science fair is coming up unluckily Sparky, Victor Frankenstein's dog dies. Inspired by what the new science teacher (who looks like Vincent Price) is teaching Victor decides to bring his dog back to life. Unfortunately Victor's secret doesn't stay hidden for long, inspiring the other kids to experiment.

This is a good old romp that everyone, young and old should find themselves enjoying. There are subtitles on this if you require that option, and a couple of featurettes, one is a music video, and the other is about the touring exhibition. All in all this is one film that is well worth watching.
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Tim Burton was once kicked out of the Disney organization due to his output apparently being `too dark and scary' for its intended audience. How he must be smiling now, as a hugely successful and innovative director and film-maker; even able to turn a 1984 animated short into this feature-length film, with its bizarre creations and ghoulish preoccupations with the gothic and the macabre.
It's not a bad movie, but it's also not a patch on the likes of The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare before Christmas, or James and the Giant Peach. Basically a Frankenstein pastiche, it rolls along without much in the way of originality or obvious passion, and smacks of a pet project - something of an indulgence. I actually thought that ParaNorman did the same thing with far more wit and elan, and Frankenweenie is unfortunately languishing in the former's shadow.
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on 5 May 2013
Wow! This is what kids want: A black and white claymation-like story set in the 1950's based on a 1940's film they never saw. I enjoyed it more than the kids who were too busy taking pictures of their privates and posting on Facebook to care about the movie.

What was with the cat poop the girl was holding? Why did all the bad kids have French accents?

What was with dead Sparky rotting like a zombie? Frankenstein never did that. I thought the names were a bit cliche for adults, and the kids who could enjoy the film wouldn't understand them. All the kids looked spooky and like their pets which I liked. The girl with Mr. Whiskers was my favorite.

This is a film the kids will watch once and enjoy and grow out of real fast. More for boys than girls.
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on 9 February 2013
Totally, utterly, absolutely brilliant!!! Tim Burton at his very best in all aspects of the film - story line, animation, characterisation, et al. It does'nt need colour, almost better without it, as it certainly is a tribute to the Black and White Horror Movies ( and to my mind a better film in its use of this format than 'The Arist') The jokes and puns are all predictable and set up for the audience, who can see what is coming - but they are even better when they actually happen. The 'gang' members are a real treat for old movie buffs, as are many of the settings and events in the story line which relate to past classics. Spot the early monsters 'reborn' into the horrible kids.
Anyone who has not seen this MUST get a copy to play - again and again!!
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Frankenweenie is indeed delightful, although perhaps not entirely suitable for very young children. It's a cartoon, indeed, but it's an offbeat animation about a weird kid who reanimates his equally weird and much-loved but dead dog... And there is a strikingly graphic scene which brilliantly portrays the dog's demise. I flinched, and I imagine that it'd be a bit too much for some little ones.
For older kids and adults, however, Frankenweenie is a total treat. It refers back to many of the themes which Tim Burton first explored in Edward Scissorhands [1991] [DVD], about being the freaky, geeky and isolated kid; about making attempts to integrate; about the treachery of childhood friendships; about the nobility of sacrifice. And never mind all the serious stuff - Frankenweenie is jammed full of subtle chuckles, wry observations and some laugh-out-loud moments. The scenes where the dog stars in the home movies are priceless. The 'I can fix that' refrain when another experiment goes wildly awry are delightful, as are all the nods and tributes to cult horror films from days gone by. It's a geeky nerdfest wonderdream -- but none of that interferes with your enjoyment of the film if you don't understand the references.
And the final homage-to-Frankenstein kill-the-monster sequence is a stunner. Genuinely had me sniffling and cheering: one of those rare, heartfelt rollercoaster moments.

An easy film to recommend: full of entertaining humour, quirky and inventive, offbeat and unpredictable, yet with a solid moral core at its centre. It's also nice to see a film which bigs up the unconventional / weird people of the world...
8/10
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on 16 March 2013
I bought this for my kids (age 5 and 6) They loved Coraline and Nightmare before Christmas. This is the same genre. It is not a funny film and there are no 'laughing' moments. (For that, I would recommend Hotel Transylvania!!) The dog is fantastic in it, so real and looks like ours (without the stitching!!) I have watched it 3 times with them now and have blubbed at the dogs demise each and every time!! (so have the kids!!)Tim Burton has managed to portray the relationship between kids and animals so well. It is quite a long film and didn't have the staying power of Coraline. The kids paused it quite a few times and weren't glued to it continually. However, I've no doubt it will be watched again and again.
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