An animation about a reanimation and homage to classic horror movies, Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE outflanks all other cartoon contenders so far this year.

With stunning black and white cinematography by Peter Sorg and one of the best Danny Elfman scores in years, FRANKENWEENIE tells the tale of young Victor Frankenstein, a school student who prefers science to sports, whose science project literally resuscitates his deceased dog, Sparky.



His success spurs his fellow students to similarly restore and reanimate and under the guise of the school science project inadvertently creates a dead pets society focused on the resurrection of all manner of critter.

A tortoise becomes a terrifying terrapin, a fearsome amphibian grown to gargantuan Godzilla, a bat melds with a cat to create a ferociously fanged flying feline, sea monkeys become popcorn crazed gremlins, and assorted other animals make up a menagerie of mayhem.

Spectacular sight and sound show is complimented by an array of fine vocalisations, from Martin Landau’s mellifluous science teacher, to Winona Ryder’s Elsa Van Helsing. Both these actors are veterans of Burton’s various visions, from Beetlejuice through to Ed Wood.

Victor’s fellow students all have voice patterns similar to great sibilances of the spook genre – there’s a lispy Karloff and the Eastern European cadence of Lorre and Lugosi for example, and the puppets’ appearance patterns classic characterisations as well, from hunchbacks to henchman.

Fun and entertaining, FRANKENWEENIE is also a clarion call for kids to embrace science and for society in general to take more of an interest.

Basically a boy and his dog story, this is Disney daring to be a bit darker, devoid of dreary dirges, and diabetic ditties, giving Pixar a much needed challenge.

© Richard Cotter

30th October, 2012

Tags: Sydney Movie Reviews- FRANKENWEENIE, Tim Burton, Sydney Arts Guide, Richard Cotter