Burton’s latest animated film an homage to old horror
In Tim Burton’s strange world, “Frankenweenie” is the closest thing to a children’s movie.
The film seems to be meant for children, yet it’s so imaginatively nutty that it may strike them as more of a horror film.
This is a tale about the love of a child for his dog, Sparky, and the means he will go to bring his canine companion back to life after a car accident strikes him.
“Frankenweenie” is Burton’s love letter to the films he grew up watching. At times blatant and at other times sublime, it’s homage to old horror such as the use of shadows to incite fear among the characters are akin to F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” and Robert Wiene’s “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
However, Burton’s allusions are quite commonplace for fans of the horror genre.
The film would’ve been bogged down in details and technicalities in the hands of an amateur director, but Burton knows his audience and how to instantaneously absorb them into a new world.
As always, he is very confident in his concepts and it aids the viewer in identifying with Victor’s pseudo-scientific or Frankenstein-like way of bringing the dead back to life.
Films like “Caroline” prove that if the director isn’t confident in how he introduces the elements of the story, the audience may not take the necessary efforts to accept the outlandish concepts of the film.
A big issue with “Frankenweenie” is that it is a minor entry in Burton’s filmography as it doesn’t compare with his other lauded works.
Despite the handicap, Burton is still able to extract a good monster story out of the love of a child for his dog.
The humor is also at times not as well-balanced as intended, especially regarding a scene with Victor’s science teacher that creates an awkward moment and receives little reaction.
Remade from a 1984 short that Disney fired Burton for going over-budget, “Frankenweenie” is a great sign of Burton’s early genius.