“Frankenweenie” talkback

I’ll be seeing Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie on Saturday afternoon with my ASIFA-Hollywood peeps at a screening on the Disney lot. Looking forward to it – especially as Betsy Sharkey in The Los Angeles Times says “the artistry reaches absolute perfection… and Burton has never done it better” (though she notes, “it’s the story that poses some problems”). A.O. Scott in The New York Times simply calls it “a sweet and creepy homage to classic monster movies”.

It’s out today and you can see it yourself. How does it compare to The Corpse Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas? Where does it stack on the list next to ParaNorman and Hotel Transylvania? Give your opinions here (and, as usual, this discussion is only open to those who have actually seen the film).


  • http://katesanjosewong.blogspot.com Kate Wong

    I watched it on Tuesday at an early screening at USC and I agree with Betsey, that the animation was beautiful but there was definitely something in the story that was lacking. The idea that a child is able to bring back his beloved pet is probably a universal desire after one’s pet dies, and the film takes this idea but hits a wall in the end. Don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just leave by saying that despite its storyline faults, the characters were incredibly unique and likable. Everyone will like Mr. Whiskers.

  • Blasko

    I ought to let it sink in a little, but my first response wasn’t entirely positive. I love the campy monster imagery and look of the film, but there were many times when I thought the film would’ve worked better as a viewmaster reel than as an 80+ minute feature. The characterization of the kids struck me as very poor and undeveloped, and the stereotypical asian accent of one of the kids was irritating. Honestly, I think he should have left the original alone. Despite a much longer run time, this version truly doesn’t add anything to the story or feeling of the original. It’s strange being a Tim Burton fan these days — you spend half of your time thankful that the guy never grew up, and the other half wishing he would.

    • Douglass Abramson

      That accent caught my attention too. I’m not familiar with the actor in question, but he does have a Japanese last name. So, I don’t know if he was doing that accent, or if that was his normal speaking voice.

      • akira

        so if it’s his normal voice, you guys are racist

        • Blasko

          Nothing like an accusation to start a conversation, akira. First of all, it’s a voice over in a cartoony animation film — no one is doing his/her “normal” voice, regardless of the actor’s ethnicity, nationality or personal accent. Second of all, Burton decided to play up the Toei, Godzilla angle, but also gives us a single-dimensional Japanese/Asian villian that could have stepped out of any anti-Japanese western propaganda film of the 1940s and 50s. My drawing attention to this, and being frustrated by it, does not constitute racism.

          • akira

            first of all, are you kidding? most voice overs in big budget animated films are pretty much the actors’ normal voices with a few exceptions like john leguizamo, and chris wedge in ice age. i think if you criticize an “asian” for sounding like a “irritating stereotypical asian” you’re racist… what’s your definition of racist? would you criticize chris rock for sounding like a stereotypical black guy? maybe you’d like him to sound whiter?

          • Blasko

            I’d just ask you to actually read my previous posts, akira. If, after doing so, you still foolishly think I’m bothered by the voices of asian actors, then there’s little I or anyone else can do to change your mind. Directors make choices. Burton chose the characterization of Toshiaki, including voice direction. He chose to make the Japanese character singularly conniving and villainous — a throwback, as I said, to propagandistic slurs of the 40s and 50s. It’s a choice I found at least mildly offensive, and I wish that Burton had challenged that stereotype in some small way. I hope that clarifies my comments a bit.

        • Steve

          It’s not his normal voice. So there goes that.

          http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RFbdOjUUENI

  • Billy

    The animation was wonderful, the acting was fantastic and there was absolutely no story whatsoever. Stuff happened, but not for any reason or with any explanation. Things that were set up didn’t pay off and other things came out of nowhere.

    And what starts out as a speech by the teacher about why science is important despite what ignorant people believe takes a weird left turn and ends with the sentiment that ultimately what makes science work is emotion. He basically says that how you feel about the experiment effects the outcome, making him no less ignorant than the people he criticizes.

    If you like the pretty pictures you’ll enjoy the movie. But, ultimately, it doesn’t really work.

    Billy

  • D

    I feel like everyone is going to immediately harp on how safe Burton played it with this film. Honestly though I don’t really care. I would rather have a hundred stop-motion animated films with roughly the same feel from Tim Burton than another Alice in Wonderland. The bottom line is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing it safe if you do it well and on Frankenweenie Tim Burton does it well.

    From an animation stand-point this film is one of the better looking animated features I have seen all year. I love the classic Tim Burton character designs and the animation itself is smooth, detailed and on point. I feel that the decision to go black and white was absolutely brilliant as black and white is rarely ever used in modern animation and it provides the film with a unique visual aesthetic and really helped to drive home the films homage to old-school horror films.

    From a plot and writing stand-point I found nothing wrong or out of place. This is a film that tackles a simple concept and executes it perfectly. There was a ton of warmth and empathy felt between Victor and Sparky, the sentimental moments didn’t feel tacked on or insincere and the jokes as well as the elements of parody all worked. This is a film where both the animation and writing are well done, something that is becoming a rarity in modern animated films.

    The characters unfortunately are a bit of a mixed bag and are the only problem I feel this film has. Victor, Sparky, Victor’s parents, Weird Girl and Mr. Whiskers are all outstanding characters with great moments and development. On the other hand though Edgar one of the films most hyped characters is rather grating, we get it he is a young Igor with some dark tendencies! he is funny in the first few minutes but his character loses steam really really fast. The other side characters are all pretty funny but unfortunately they all have the tendency to just slip into the background and as a result they are easily forgotten.

    In the end this film is not ground-breaking by any sense of the word, nor does it have to be. This is Tim Burton getting back to basics, playing to his strengths, tackling a concept that was ripe with potential and making a really good film out of it. Good job Tim.

  • http://sprinterfilms.blogspot Matthew

    I’ve heard of the original but never viewed it. I was going into the film as a virgin to the concept. From that viewpoint it was rather average. The visuals were the best part by far. The black and white look really suits this style of animation. I actually watched Corpse Bride on my computer a while back using Media player and set the filter to black and white and that film also benefited from the look. Interesting to note that the character of Victor in both films looks incredibly similar. I wonder if one were to watch all three of the Burton animations back to back (Nightmare, Bride, Frankenweenie) that a meta-narrative would emerge?

    But about the film, it was a little dull all in all. Character development was indeed lacking. What about the relationship with the goth girl and her father? Those characters seemed really interesting and nothing really happened with them. The ending felt slightly forced but I was happy to see some action because I was actually starting to nod off a little. It certainly felt like a concept that did not handle the runtime very effectively.

    Ultimately a forgettable film.

  • Victor Kong

    Animation was great, character designs were appealing and absolutely Burtonesque (I especially like the science teacher modeled after Vincent Price), and the references to old horror films were extensive. I agree that the story had some problems, especially in the middle when the plot seemed to drag for a bit before reaching a fun and destructive (quite literally) conclusion.

  • Matt P.

    I thought the film was good. Not sure if it’s better than the short film which I just saw right before this one. I think the film started out pretty weak with the typical “parents don’t like how he is” thing which they never really built upon not that I mind. I think it really starts to get good when the others try to revive the dead. I also wasn’t a fan of Elsa van Helsing but luckily she doesn’t stay around much. Overall I’d say it’s a bit better than Hotel Transylvania but not ParaNorman.

    • Douglass Abramson

      I haven’t seen Hotel Transylvania, but I do agree that Paranorman edges past Frankenweenie as the better movie. Personally, I enjoyed Frankenweenie MUCH more than The Corpse Bride. Anyone who enjoyed the tone of Mars Attacks, should like this one.

  • Jules

    Say what you will about Tim Burton but he is consistent. “A Nightmare Before Christmas” looked great and had story problems. “Corpse Bride” looked great and had story problems. The feature length “Frankenweenie” (and even the short of decades ago) looked great and had story problems. “Alice in Wonderland” was mediocre, went into a needless, bloated “Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings” final act, yet grossed over a billion dollars and had you-know-what. I used to think that, once David Lynch fizzled out, Tim Burton was the closest thing we had to Tod Browning. As time goes on it appears that Burton is more akin to Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass. He really should be doing annual stop motion holiday specials, before Seth MacFarlane redefines even that corner of animation in the Family Guy mold.

  • http://animatorwiththewrinkledbrow.tumblr.com/ Jacob Zaborowski

    I enjoyed Frankenweenie up to a point. There are problems with remaking a short as a feature length film, and Frankenweenie showed it up to a point. They tried to expand upon the universe and the characters, which was commendable.

    My big problem was with the ending. For those who have seen the short and the feature, you know how it goes, and those who haven’t, well, I won’t spoil it. But I feel that the lead up to the ending of the feature let its arm be twisted into having to adopt the ending of the short, when it had the opportunity to do something really unique and emotionally resonating for the audience. Sadly, the feature wasted that, and they might as well have just edited the original ending of the short into it rather than go to the trouble to remake it in stop-motion.

    This might sound bitter, but thinking about the end of the feature, I saw a perfectly good opportunity to make it a unique emotional experience, and one that could have encouraged discussion, particularly between parents and children, go to waste.

    On a scale of 1 to 10: 4.5

    • Kyle B

      I agree, the ending was my main gripe. Not to spoil it, but you’ve seen the same emotional notes in animated films before. I was waiting for Burton to go bold, but the longer it dragged on the more I realized he was going to play the cliche card.

      It didn’t feel true to the film, and it felt like something I’ve seen multiple times before. The entirely emotional aspect it was trying to build up felt cold and hollow. A real sour note to end on after what I thought was a really enjoyable film!

      • http://www.infurnation.com Rodso64

        I honestly felt as if Tim (or others at Disney, who knows?) couldn’t DECIDE what sort of a note they wanted to end it on. So the ending wound up feeling unsure and, thus, kind of weak.

  • akira

    it was WAY better than Dark Shadows!!!

    wow Taken 2, with terrible reviews is killing frankenweenie, with good reviews, at the box office… i’m predicting that if Tim (and Henry) wants to continue in making stop motion he’s going to have to make a Nightmare 2

    • James Fox

      Sadly, Disney likes to ruin potential films in terms of advertising

      Why do you think “nobody saw John Carter”?

  • Nipplenuts McGurk

    I hated it. HATED IT.

    There is ZERO story here….and Burton pictures with story issues can usually get by on interesting and funny characters. Dark Shadows, for instance…bad storytelling, but I could stick with it for the quirk and fun.

    Victor is one of the most BORING and bland animated characters ever…he’s literally a young version of Corpse Bride’s Victor – also boring but at least infused with a little personality by Johnny Depp. The bad kid actor made this Victor even worse….he was very similar to ParaNorman, actually…kid actor, boring white suburban character with no personality. Sparky is boring..he’s just…”a dog”. That’s it. Elsa VanHelsing was boring and served no purpose in the picture. The kids were just strange. The movie goes from a boring non-story into a “run and scream” spectacle monster movie…then ends. Man…

    All day I’ve been thinking about how I would rework this. I think about what a great character Flint Lockwood was in Cloudy….not that this movie should copy, but I think the child Victor Frankenstein would have been vastly more entertaining as a bit of a maniac…a crazy mad scientist kid who’s done a lot of crazy experiments (all he did in this movie was make his own B-Movie w/ the dog) …imagine the energy of a manic kid bringing his dog back to life. This kid was so boring the whole thing barely mattered. How much more interesting would it have been if Victor & E. Gore became friends after Sparky’s death, and did the experiment together? Perhaps after Sparky came back to life, E. Gore could get jealous of their friendship…what if there was some kind of romance between Victor and Elsa, but Elsa – being a VanHelsing, wanted to kill the monster dog!!!

    Soooo many possibilities for what this movie could have been…but no, it’s just boring kid with no friends (wah wah)…a black and white homage to an era that’s been homage’d to death…the whole thing is a giant reference to something kids have no reference to – so I can’t imagine any kids watching this movie remotely giving a shit about it.

    Alright….I’m done…seriously, ENOUGH creepy/spooky/gothy animated movies. They’ll never be better than Nightmare Before Xmas. If you can’t top that one, just do something else entirely.

  • Gern

    This was sweet and enjoyable, but very, very slight.

    That said, this is the best thing Tim Burton’s made in years. His heart was actually in this, it was evident for the first time in a long time that this wasn’t just collecting a paycheck for him. Like others have said, I’ll take flawed but heartfelt, sweet and fun like this over him phoning it in like on Alice or Dark Shadows.

    It’s a shame with the box office disappointment of Frankenweenie, Paranorman, Aardman’s The Pirates!, and even Fantastic Mr. Fox from a couple of years back, it seems like kids and families are just no longer appreciating stopmotion animation as an art form. I’m saddened that such a wonderful animation style will now be considered box office poison to studios. It’s a tremendous shame.

    I’m honestly starting to think that if these movies had been CGI productions, they would have doubled, tripled, maybe even quadrupled their grosses.

  • http://ryanrosendal.blogspot.com Ryan

    “Frankenweenie” is really fantastic. If you’re a Burton nerd like me, then this flick is basically heaven.

    I think what really stands out is how emotional the flick is. Burton isn’t afraid to play with sadness, humor and horror, with the result being that the flick truly feels alive. Most animated films (hell, most movies) are fairly standard “safe” filmmaking, but “Frankenweenie” truly has a personality and a soul.

    I was actually surprised how legitimately frightening the film could be; the climax in particular has an incredibly dark Danny Elfman score and poor Sparky gets roughed up pretty bad. Without a doubt, it’s a film that goes all the way.

    One last note: I loved how imperfect the film looked. All the character models had little scratches and imperfections on them and cloth often boiled. Rather than looking crude, it adds real charm to the whole movie. Peter Sorg’s black and white photography is also gorgeous and a beautiful homage to Universal Horror movies.

    Tim Burton flicks are divisive no doubt about (though bizarrely enough, his worst films tend to be his most successful at the box office) but I’d rather a filmmaker be divisive than blandly pleasing everybody. It’s more fun that way.

  • Adam

    I loved this film. As a lifelong fan of Tim Burton’s stop motion work, watching this one pure bliss for me. I especially loved the visuals and references to not only old B-movie horror films, but other animated films new and old. Like the neighbor Mr. Burgermeister who was obviously a reference to Burgermeister Meisterburger from “Santa Claus is Comming to Town”, and did anyone else get the “Goodbye Kitty” joke? I’ve noticed that the film gets flack for lack of character development and the story itself, which I understand completely. I did find it a bit odd that the film introduces Victor as a filmmaker, but then after the first 5 minutes he’s really into science all of a sudden. In truth, I enjoyed this film so much that the flaws didn’t phase me. After all the recent live action films Burton has made, it was great to see him back in animation again.

    • Polecat

      I got the kitty joke. And the turtle’s name, of course, is Shelley–not just as in tortoiseshell, but as in Mary.

    • Glowworm

      The “Goodbye Kitty” gag made me laugh hysterically!

  • Pedro Nakama

    I just saw it at an ASIFA screening. It’s very funny from lightning strike in the beginning when the “Disney” name appears to the Bambi vs. Godzilla homage. Why is everyone complaining about story? Did they expect to see fuzzy little bunnies and squirrels because it’s a Disney film? The whole message of this movie could be summed up in the scene where the science teacher speaks to the PTA. Wonderful.

  • http://www.hobsonanimation.com Kevin

    Just came back from watching Frankenweenie and am happy to say… it didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed this film! :)

    Between this and ParaNorman, the animation was more amazing and fantastic in ParaNorman. However, the characters in Frankenweenie were much more likable and memorable.

  • http://Gregeales.com Greg Eales

    I took my kids on opening night…not at bad movie all in all. The visuals and character design were good but I wouldn’t say that it stood out from other Burton films. The characters looked as if they could have all walked off the set of Corpse Bride. The animation was well executed though. I felt the story lacked the most. There were too many loose ends that didn’t get tied up. The setting was there…there was conflict but no real goal for the main character. I would liked to have seen a main goal so the conflict could make more sense. Then I might have been rooting for Victor a little more and maybe some of the loose ends could have been cinched. The end of the story was good I suppose but it felt very hollow. I just didn’t get that sense of completeness that I would have liked.

    I will say though that my children really enjoyed the movie. We were all entertained and had fun. In the end that’s what’s really important.

  • http://bobharper.net Bob Harper

    Absolutely loved it, and so did the kids. The story was simple and sweet, not too convoluted. It has a lot of heart and the packed audience clapped in the end. The movie is bombing because it’s Black and White and “ANOTHER” animated horrorish thing.

    ParaNorman was awesome, and haven’t seen HT yet, this has been a great year for animation.

    • Nipplenuts McGurk

      It’s bombing because its characters are boring and it’s an homage to something kids don’t care about and parents have seen 1000 times already.

      • http://bobharper.net Bob Harper

        The our crowd didn’t conform to the overall demographic – If it was in color and released before ParaNorman – it would’ve pulled those numbers instead.

      • James

        Well, Hotel Transylvania is making a modest profit and obviously homages the old monster movies, so I don’t think that is solely the reason here. Maybe the “boring characters” issue is more accurate.

  • Megan

    Overall, i thought the movie was good. The stop motion and the design were fine but I do agree with the fact that the story was lacking little. Still a good movie to see. Also I really enjoyed the references that were made from his other films in this movie.

  • Eric Graf

    Here’s where I’m going to be forced to surrender my animation fan card to the authorities … I thought the best of the three was Hotel Transylvania.

    You had three very nice looking movies. All three had serious story problems. And it mattered in exactly two of them.

    Frankenweenie was the one of the three that actually managed to create a little actual suspense, but the title character was just too dang Disney cute, and too unlike a real dog, appearance-wise, to build up any of the creep-out ick factor that made the short so memorable. The plot itself was pure focus-group by-the-numbers, which was not helped any when the movie let its affection for its source material bog it down at the climax. I can see that fans of B-movies would eat this stuff up, but for the rest of us, it was a bit of a slog. (Not to mention that we already saw this sort of thing in Monsters Vs. Aliens, which I found equally sloggy.) And yes, I too noticed the blatant foreshadowing that was left unresolved in the mishmash of a plot. The stop-motion animation was, of course, gorgeous.

    Para Norman ruined itself early on by establishing that nobody was going to get the least bit hurt in this universe, which is perfectly fine in some movies, but not if you’re expecting to (1) legitimately scare the audience with your zombies, or (2) spend a significant amount of running time exploring the angst of being a societal outcast. It continually alternated between silly slapstick, scary zombies and schoolboy angst, a balancing act that Para Norman failed to pull off. The filmmakers just never quite figured out what kind of movie this was supposed to be. The stop-motion animation was, of course, gorgeous.

    Hotel Transylvania won by knowing *exactly* what it wanted, and delivering it. It was 80 minutes of appealing characters being funny, with no pretensions of deep meaning or high artistic merit. It was a crowd-pleasing movie that pleased the crowd. And the CGI animation was, of course, gorgeous.

    I wouldn’t consider any of the three to be classics. But I do think the one that’s winning at the box office is the one that most deserves to.

  • Ed Thompson

    Just in case- Spoiler Alert. I tried to be very general with my opinion of the movie but some might say I am giving away parts of the plot.

    I thought it was a group of clever, sometimes very clever, ideas whose only tie was (mostly) old horror movies. Tim Burton has been doing this for a lot of his movies now: a string of clever ideas that end up going nowhere. I never connected with Victor, I thought the conflict between Victor and his dad to be sudden and forced, and it seemed that this conflict disappeared 5 minutes after it was introduced and never brought up again. A lot of the characters who you thought would have a major part to play in the story, hung around for the entire picture but did not really interact with the hero. And the movie did not have a defining villain. It had unpleasant adults, but when faced with the ‘truth’ of what was going on quickly changed their position. It had kids stealing from Victors’ discoveries, but they were not evil just competitive. I guess the final creature at the end could be called the bad guy, but it was introduced only a few minutes earlier, and while it might have been bad it was not intelligently evil. It wasn’t an antagonist to the movies hero but just another obstacle to be overcome, and similar to ones he had just faced. The ending also seemed very American to me, in that we want happy endings no matter how improbable. I realize that most view this as a kids movie, and heavy philosophical (and sad) endings aren’t usually found in kids movies, but in that case I think a more consistent plot could have led to roughly the same ending without it seeming to be tacked on.

  • Johnny

    I felt that the movie was just too creepy to geniunely keep children watching, and that it really was more for Tim Burton’s fans, who miss an earlier time for his films, by which I mean before he put his girlfriend in everything. And Helena Bonham Carter in everything too, for some reason…

    On the issue of the ending, however, people, this is a movie about kids bringing animals back to life to begin with. It would have been an ass-pull to let the dog stay dead, especially since he was virtually the only animal who did not come back “wrong.” Added to that, the original movie ended this way, so you should not have been suprised. I think the movie’s message was more that you should not expect things, ironcially enough, to be black and white.

    On the whole, while I actually do end up liking some of Tim Burton’s films (I loved Corpse Bride and I don’t hate Dark Shadows), I kind of felt that the film was too dark for children, but too uplifting for adults, who (as this board shows) really want that dog dead.

    • KBP

      The problem with the ending, for me, wasn’t in bringing back the dog, but that Victor was completely flat.

      The only attempt at a character arc or development was having him simply say, ‘okay, I finally agree that Sparky belongs in my heart.’ But this was only after everyone failed to bring the dog back – it played like, ‘well, we all failed, no other choice but to do what you told me to do days ago.’

      And then when Sparky comes back to life, this is all reversed and Victor is back to where he started.

  • derik

    I thought the film was very well put together! The best Burton movie I have seen in a long time!

    I believe that the characters were portrayed in the coolest way possible and every scene was eye-candy!

  • Geoff

    Saw it in 2D – failed to see where 3D would have benefitted.
    The animation was shoddy, especially when compared to ParaNorman.
    The first act felt like a remake of the original short (which I havent seen in over a decade), but starring the Family Dog and the Puffs tissue commercial characters.
    The second act was pretty flat and boring.
    The third act picked up and I had a lot of fun. Desite being nothing new, it felt fresh and fun after the previous hour.
    The whole thing was padded with underdeveloped extraneous characters to fill the running time (Elsa, for example).
    Overall, disappointing, and the worst of the 3 horror animations of the year.
    My 5 year old liked it well enough, though.
    Also, for those interested, it was a 1pm Sunday show, and there was only 8 of us in the audience.

  • Bill

    Sorry, but if you hated this because it was in black and white, you deserve to be bored. I loved it. Yes, it could have had more story, but I thought the characters were lots of fun. As a dog lover though, it is a bit hard to watch in parts. Martin Landau and Atticus Shaffer were terrific. The final 20 minutes really takes off into Tim Burton land!

  • Sarah

    I really enjoyed it. It was better than Dark Shadows and I would rather watch this than Hotel Transylvania (not a Adam Sadler fan). I whispered Gamera!

    I thought the character designs were cute (especially Sparky) and I wish animated films were more like this instead of the stuff we usually get.

    I liked both versions of Frankenweenie equally.

    I grinned like the Cheshire Cat when I saw trailers for Oz the Great and Powerful and The Hobbit. And did a facepalm when I saw the Smurfs 2 teaser trailer.

  • justin rasch

    I enjoyed it and thought it was actually a very solid film!

    My only issue was with the expressiveness of the puppets. It seemed a bit too limited and even disconnected me from the film in a few scenes.

    I was very happy with the last act as well. Very Fun.

    • Nipplenuts McGurk

      Agreed…I found it was really strange that many characters, especially Edgar, were SMILING when they were clearly supposed to be worried or frightened.

      • Polecat

        Well, I think that’s a Burtonesque thing. Smiles and fear go hand in hand in his universe. But I think Edgar’s facial expressions in particular were supposed to show how servile he was. He also came across as a little bit more creepy and maniacal than many of the other characters (except, of course, for Weird Girl), and I think that was intentional. (I think I met a lot of Weird Girls growing up, by the way. I was kind of glad to see her get her comeuppance.)

  • Rufus

    Excellent film!
    Apart from how beautiful everything was, it was a very solid film.
    What could easily be cliches felt real, and Burton manages to do one thing with this film that I feel like is a new victory for him (and for stop-motion in general) and that is that the film felt completely real. I believed not only that it all existed but that all the feelings were real.
    I cried, and it’s been many years since I’ve cried in a movie.
    Only pixar gets this….reality into the movies. Bambi has it. Up has it and Frankenweenie has it.

  • Pez

    Great Movie!! I’m sure it will be a Halloween classic

  • Polecat

    Well, I loved it! This is my idea of Halloween fun. The whole thing was classic Burton, amd the black and white lent a shivery creepiness to the movie that was still all in good fun. I think that balance of eerieness (man that word looks awkward spelled out) and warm humor worked wonderfully throughout the whole movie. I liked the characters overall, and I also liked the message the movie sent about using science for the sake of something you’re genuinely passionate about instead of for pure personal gain. (Seems like a bit of an allegory to current debates about new technologies such as genetic engineering.) I got a big kick out of the punny names and references to classic horror films and B-movies. If you watch what happens to the sea monkeys, I think you can catch a reference to Burton’s “Mars Attacks” as well.

    I don’t really understand the negative response Frankenweenie has gotten on this talkback. I think a lot of people might have been expecting something a bit deeper and darker. I thought it was pure fun and a simple treat.

  • http://popsmoothie.com/ Christina

    Just saw Frankenweenie this morning and am traumatized by the fate of Mr. Whiskers…

    One interesting observation we had was the relative mundane design of the backgrounds. They were more realistic and lacked the Burton “twistiness”. They did not match the quirky character design.

    I am not sure it is worth it to compare them, but I enjoyed ParaNorman much more. The character and set design was amazing. The art book for that movie is incredible.

  • Glowworm

    Just saw it Friday night. I honestly enjoyed it. For a movie about reanimating your beloved dead dog, it’s awfully sweet. I also enjoyed that Victor’s parents, rather than say Merida’s mother or Norman’s father who had trouble understanding their children, seemed to completly understand him–just a bit worried about him growing up to be a lonely child. I liked how they even stood up for the ecentric science teacher. (Who completely brings his firing on himself when he’s called up to “defend” himself.)

    The science teacher was wonderfully funny and engrossing–especially when he is called up to “defend” himself.

    I thought the bit with Sharky getting run over–which I was cringing at just the thought of it when it started, was tastefully done. However, what really got to me was his relationship with Persephone the poodle. They really brought some great focus on them rolling the baseball between the crack in the fence and sticking their noses through the fence to rub against one another. It hit me really hard when Persphone tossed the ball next door waiting for Sharky to throw it back to her–not knowing that he had been run over.

    The subplot with the other kids bringing their pets back to life was deliciously terrifying–each dead animal getting a unique twist on being brought back from the dead. My favorite was Mr. Whiskers which I absolutely did not see coming–although it was a bit sad that he had an untimely fate in the end. Also, call me crazy but I found Shelly to be absolutely adorable.

    Also, got a kick out of the “Goodbye Kitty” tombstone.

  • CC

    This comment I’m sure is going to be lost in the internet abys- being so far behind now- but having just watched the film I needed to see if any other comments here shared my anger with the ending of this film.
    I enjoyed this film for the most part- the art direction is fantastic- the beginning, like Burton’s short film, is very solid. It takes a strange turn with the ‘monsters’- but it was the ending that simultaneously saved and broke this film for me.
    Spoiler alert I guess- the dog should have died. This film- with all its problems- really came it its beating heart when victor said ‘its okay, I don’t need you to come back’.
    But then the dog lives. Why did Burton need to end it this way- why couldn’t he leave it with the dog dead- have a hard but meaningful ending? I feel it was a cowardly way to end the film- as if he didn’t take the film seriously enough. So what is this film even about? I thought it was simply accepting death (as the girl even says in the film)- but nope.
    Its a shame.

  • Disappointed

    One of the worst films by Tim yet. Leave it to Disney to completely ruin what could have been a great movie. It was dumbed down, there was cliche humor, un-fitting music and terrible choice of cast. This film was nothing like Tims earlier work and it was one of the most disappointing films I have seen. The directing was atrocious and nothing like the dark and quirky movies Tim used to make. Ever since Disney got involed, his movies have been utter trash.