Destroy the Brain attended the World Premiere of Frankenweenie at Fantastic Fest Thursday night and we are proud to bring you our review of the film in advance of its Theatrical Premiere.
Frankenweenie has been the brainchild of Tim Burton for decades. Originally a live action short, Burton has now adapted & fleshed out the film with the help of screenwriter John August into a feature length stop-motion film. It’s funny how this film is now one of Disney’s tentpole releases this year when the original short film was a rejected short from Disney due to thinking it was too morbid.
Victor Frankenstein is a young kid who doesn’t have a lot of friends but seems fine with that because his closest friend is his dog Sparky. While his parents seem to think that Victor’s closed off relationship with other kids seem odd, they obviously haven’t seen or met his classmates from school. One girl who is named “Weird Girl” has small beady eyes – much like the eyes of another Burton creation in Big Martha from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure while the other seems creepily intrusive into Victor’s off school activities. After being forced by his father, Victor tries to explore into non-solitary activities to find a compromise with his father’s concerns with his social status. Unfortunately it is in this moment that takes away Victor’s best friend, Sparky. Victor is fueled by his eccentric science teacher resurrecting a dead frog via electricity.
While the film’s is pretty predictable, especially if you have seen the short film, it really doesn’t matter. Burton & August throw in enough characters and subplots to keep everything interesting and fun. The stop motion animation is very well done and the voice acting in the film is pretty damn exceptional. The film is littered with tributes and homages to the classic horror films. Mr. Rzykruski looks like a caricature of Vincent Price but the good news is that Landau doesn’t try to emulate Price in his voice. This is also another thing that Frankenweenie gets right is not to emulate elements of old horror films. Burton actually makes a film that throws these nice nods to the classic horror films and characters.
Personally as a dog lover, the film really hit a chord with me. Frankenweenie is endearing while having a morbid sensibility that should bring the film’s closer to anyone with good morbid sensibility.