Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao
|Featuring:||Catherine O’Hara … Mrs. Frankenstien/Weird Girl/Gym Teacher (voice)
Martin Short … Mr. Frankenstein/Mr. Burgemeister/Nassor (voice)
Martin Landau … Mr. Rzykruski (voice)
Charlie Tahan … Victor Frankenstien (voice)
Atticus Shaffer … Edgar ’E’ Gore (voice)
Winona Ryder … Elsa Van Helsing (voice)
|Producer:||Walt Disney Pictures
Tim Burton Animation Co.
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Pictures|
The idea of a stop-motion black-and-white 3D horror-movie homage for kids is, at most, laughable. But somehow, director Tim Burton makes it work. Burton manages to twist a spoof of horror movies into a heartwarming story filled with comedy and unsettling ideas. The revival of his dark, twisted, bizarre, style will please die-hard Burton fans, making “Frankenweenie” superior to the last two live-action films he directed, “Alice in Wonderland” and “Dark Shadows.”
Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) is an introverted, clever boy whose only friend is his dog, Sparky. He spends most of his time in his “lab” fixing things and conducting experiments. When Sparky unexpectedly dies in an accident, Victor is devastated and uses lightning to bring him back to life. However, Victor learns that science can result in monstrous consequences.
At its core, the story is really about a boy’s love for his dog. With that said, the animals have more life than the humans—although the neighborhood kids’ individual personalities are very Burton-like and often times humorous, Sparky steals the show, even through stop-motion animation. The voice talents did not get the recognition they deserve—however, Atticus Shaffer, who’s mock impish voice fits perfectly with his agitated hunchback character Edgar “E” Gore, managed to impress me even with his limited lines. The word “stupid” is used once, but other than that, the film is completely clean in that aspect.
The film pays homage to classic horror movies, filled with Easter eggs that will thrill old-school movie lovers. With that said, this movie is not suitable for young sensitive children. The storm in which Sparky is revived will seem intense to kids. The mutated resurrected creatures may seem cheesy to older viewers, but when put in black-and-white on a 3D screen, kids below the age of six will cover their own eyes.
In the movie, a character blackmails Victor to tell him his secret. Other characters act dishonestly, and there is some mild verbal bullying. Proverbs 11:3 tells us that we should act with integrity instead.
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”
Many of the characters seem gothic due to the black-and-white tone of the film, and although it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, kids may adopt their subdued behaviors. The most gothic character mutters, “I welcome death.” Although she may not have meant it, as Christians, we should know that death and life lies on the tongue, just like the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
In the movie, there is also a cat that prophesies the future of others in its own laughable way. However, the Bible cautions us to beware of mystics in 1 John 4:1.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
The idea of bringing back the dead is quite disturbing at the core, even for non-Christians. This brings up questions such as, “What’s the boundary between life and death?” and “What would happen if we brought humans back to life?”
“See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.”
This year, the film industries have been zoning in on kiddie horror movies. Unlike the other movies, I can happily say that “Frankenweenie” does not involve any sort of witchcraft, but rather, science.
One of the messages of the movie is that science is not only facts and figures, but sentiment and heart as well. A great topic for parents to discuss with children is why Victor’s experiment with Sparky worked, and other experiments did not. Victor conducted his experiment out of love for his dog. However, the other kids had other motives for resurrection.
Although “Frankenweenie” may inspire kids to get more involved with science, Christians should be aware that this movie might encourage people to believe more in science than in God. Contrariwise, Genesis 1:1 clearly tells us that God is the Creator of all.
“In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
All in all, I enjoyed this film very much, especially the antics of adorable Sparky. While “Frankenweenie” may not be Burton’s best, it brings back his past wit and brilliance, thrilling the Burton enthusiasts once again.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.