A macabre treat
Tim Burton’s latest film is about a boy who would never separate from his beloved pet
Duration: 87 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Voices of: Charlie Tahan, Frank Welker, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Christopher Lee
Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a normal kid who lives with his mum and dad (Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short). His neighbour is young Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder) who lives with her uncle, the town’s strict mayor Mr Bergermeister (Martin Short).
Victor is a lonesome boy. He spends most of his time at home doing experiments and with his dog Sparky, whom he adores.
His father wants him to practise sports and gets him to play baseball. During a game, Sparky runs out after the ball and is run over.
The distraught Victor gets an idea from his science teacher (Martin Landau) who had said that electricity can produce jolts that bring dead animal limbs back to life.
He thus digs up his dog and brings him back to life. But he keeps his feat a secret as he knows the townsfolk will not appreciate his dealings with the supernatural.
Sparky, however, is spotted by Edgar (Atticus Shaffer), a hunchback, who gets Victor to redo the experiment with a fish.
Soon more classmates learn of the child’s experiments and this leads them to carry out the same experiment at an upcoming science fair. Weird Girl (Catherine O’M Hara) also joins in.
However, their experiments go wrong, havoc ensues and the students turn to Victor for help.
Frankenweenie has been a pet project for maverick and Gothic director Tim Burton for so long that the love is literally laced on every shot.
From the opening credits Burton’s intention to pay homage to his pet films is evident.
The major feeling permeating the film is, however, that genuine sense of wonder that is almost childlike in nature.
The film also highlights Burton’s strength as a director for the idiosyncratic and for providing a balancing act between imagination, the fantastic and the dark side of horror.
Frankenweenie tackles such issues as loneliness, death and mortality but it never becomes morbid.
Through its fantastical and almost ghoulish environment, both young and old are presented with a niche film that should go on to gain cult success.
Frankenweenie is also a film lover’s dream with movie references are all over the place.
Besides the original Frankenstein, the film also refers to the likes of Godzilla and Gremlins and actors Peter Lorre and Vincent Price, represented by the characters of Edgar E. Gore and Mr Rzykruski respectively.
The film has an eerie feel that is helped in no small way by the black and white cinematography which adds layers of shadows and crispness to the proceedings.