Frankenweenie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Frankenweenie Reviews

Page 1 of 155
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2012
Right before the ending sequence of this film there's a segment wherein a grade school science teacher is brought before the PTA and questioned about his authority to teach and his methods. In his answer, and wonderfully suicidal but straightforward rebuttal, he simply calls out his accusers: "You're ignorant. Stupid." I couldn't help but conjecture that Burton was himself answering the many who are enriched, as are we all, from his contributions to the culture of Western civilisation and yet sneer at the source of the same.
Regardless of this aside, here is a user friendly concoction that pays a fun homage to the Shelley work as well as the tradition of monster film that sprang from her work. Though hailing from the Disney studios, it is a decidedly un-Disney work, nearly defiantly so, and a love letter to fans of Charles Addams, the dark, and the moody. The music, as in most of Burton's work, is very good, very appropriate.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2013
I am not the biggest Tim Burton fan...and I thought that this was just ok. Nothing to brag about...
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2013
So. This made me cry! Even if one knows this is about bringing a dog back to life, one might not think about how the dog might have gotten into that situation to begin with... But charming and sweet and odd and lovable.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2013
Tim Burton has occasionally been involved in animated movies throughout his career, having served as producer on "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "James & The Giant Peach" and "9". However, the only time he's actually been behind the camera on any of them was "Corpse Bride" in 2005 and his animated short in 1984 "Frankenweenie" - of which this is a feature length expansion of. Some may feel that he's treading old ground here but there's no doubt that this is still a highly successful endeavour.
Victor Frankenstein is a lonely young man who's best friend is his energetic dog, Sparky. When Sparky is run over and killed by a car, Victor is devastated but he refuses to give up hope of spending time with his beloved friend again. Inspired by his science teacher, he decides to rig up a laboratory and harness the lightning to bring Sparky's corpse back to life. His attempts are successful but it soon causes havoc within his neighbourhood.
Burton has came in for a critical panning from many people of late (myself included). The major issue being his seeming inability to change his idiosyncratic style. With this latest venture into stop-motion animation, he has answered his critics in style and it makes you wonder whether he even should change his approach when the results can be as good as this. Here, his gothic idiosyncrasies are entirely suited to this homage to director James Whale and his classic horror movies "Frankenstein" and it's follow-up "Bride Of Frankenstein". He also throws in some references to horror stars Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price and includes a whole host of quirky characters - the one that stood out for me the most was 'Mr. Whiskers'; a cat who can predict the future of others by the shape of the shit left in his litter tray.
Burton's decision to film in gorgeous monochrome really adds to the proceedings and gives Mary Shelley's classic literary tale his own spin and he (and us) has a lot fun in doing so. It also has a similar off-key suburban setting like Burton's earlier film "Edward Scissorhands" and shares the same balance of that film's darkness and macabre humour. Younger children may balk at the unravelling of the darker tale but older kids and adults can revel in it's decent into a reanimated, monster B-Movie which is entirely fitting and in doing so, never loses it's sense of fun.
A lot of animated films these days have an appeal for children and adults alike and the balance that Burton achieves here is proof that that's not about to change anytime soon. One of 2012's very best animated films and one of Burton's best for quite a while.
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2012
In the mid- 80s, Tim Burton (while still working for Disney as an animator) created for them a live action made for TV short called Frankenweenie about a boy who resurrects his dead dog Frankenstein style.

A few decades later, he has decided (for whatever reason) to remake that little film as a feature length stop motion film that expands on the original material, but retains the use of filming it is gorgeous black and white.

This film is basically not all that different from Burton';s other work: it';s gothic, eerie, weird, has his unmistakable style and aesthetics, and does a very unsubtle job of displaying his love for the horror genre.

He pretty much keeps on making the same stuff over and over, rarely changing (and not doing well when he does). Still, I kinda liked it. He's unfortunately not growing as an artist and, while I am getting tired of it, there's still something very comforting to be found with the familiarity, especially since its usually done pretty well. Plus, it's better than Dark Shadows, so it's somewhat of a step up, even if no real progress is being made.

I thought I had this film figured out, assuming it would be pretty formulaic with the plot and direction. I was right for a while, but then the third act comes around and makes a turn I wasn't expecting, and was pleasantly surprised to get. Thankfully this was also not spoiled in any of the previews. The conclusion does have a few expected moments, and it earns them, but how it gets to those points is where I got surprised. And no, I'm not gonna spoil it.

We get appearance from Burton alums Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Martin Short, and Conchata Ferrell, and they all put in some nice work, with some voicing multiple (and hard to tell) characters. As our lead Victor, Charlie Tahan is also really good, and he is convincing as the weird kid who really loves his dog, and proves willing to do anything to have him back in his life.

Visually, this is quintessential Burton, and all the creative designs with the characters, locations, and the general look and feel is all very top notch. The requisite nods to horror work well, even if, as I said, I'm growing weary of his lack of growth. Some of the nods are unavoidable ,but then he throws in some classics just for good measure (namely how the look of the teacher is based on Vincent Price), not to mention the names of the characters. Then there's those moments I wasn't expecting, but was very thrilled to see, similar to what happens with The Cabin in the Woods (and that's as close to being revealing that I'll get).

This is Burton, so it should go without saying that it gets dark at times, but even then, it actually gets a little traumatizing, and for a PG animated film, this is quite intense. I think it mostly worked though, and thankfully it doesn't reach Batman Returns levels of going perhaps a tad too far with the dark and disturbing stuff.

All in all, a pretty good effort. It's nothing new, but done well.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2013
Mrs. Frankenstein: When you loose someone you love they move into a special place in your heart. 

"The electrifying dog is back from beyond the grave."

Everybody has their personal favorite Tim Burton, and for a long time mine has been Ed Wood. Well, that has changed. My new favorite is this short little animated film, Frankenweenie. I fell in love with it from the very start. The moment the Disney castle goes from normal to black and white, a storm brews, and we hear the familiar sound of a Danny Elfman score start to hum; I knew this was going to be something extremely special. I wasn't let down at all either. Tim Burton is back to his roots and back in top form after a few years of "so-so" movies; and I actually enjoyed Alice in Wonderland.

Frankenweenie takes the classic story of a child and his dog. Victor is a young boy who doesn't socialize much. He spends his time making movies and is enamored by science. When his beloved dog, Sparky parishes; he harnesses the knowledge his new science teacher gave him to try to bring his dog back from the dead. He does so successfully, but keeping it a secret may end up being a little harder then he expected. Especially when a bunch of kids trying to win a science fair start sticking their noses into it.

There's so much to love here. The setting is absolutely perfect. Think of the Edward Scissorhands setting, then animate it. That's the setting of Frankenweenie. Then there's the perfect tone setting score from Danny Elfman and beautiful black and white animation that looks phenomenal. Add to it a great take on the classic Frankenstein story, and a great voice cast to go along with it, and you have an instant classic on your hands. It's almost like Nightmare Before Christmas conceived a child.

Frankenweenie is beautiful, it's funny, it's creepy(in a way), it's heartwarming, it's... dare I say, perfect. This is a new favorite of mine and one I hope to watch with my children when I get to that point of my life. It's pure filmmaking genius from a pure filmmaking genius. Anyone who wrote Tim Burton off, suck on this, because he's obviously a long way from gone. I cannot wait to sit down and enjoy this film many, many times over in the future.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2013
I get so bored of these movies (animated). Left up to me, I would never watch another one again.
Super Reviewer
½ January 17, 2013
Tim Burton is certainly not in a fruitful moment of his career, making one derivative movie after another such as this one, which has an uninspired premise and a very uninteresting development - a stop motion animation that is supposed to be a comedy but is only silly and unfunny.
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2013
Tim Burton makes a full length feature out of his 1984 short by the same name. This is a well executed animated feature that is among the most refreshing Burton films in a long time. This is a memorable, humorous and highly entertaining film that is well acted by its voice cast and has a good plot. Although it has its flaws, Frankenweenie manages to be a pleasurable film that should appeal to the most demanding Burton fan and common filmgoer. The film blends all sorts of genres and successfully delivers a fine little comedy horror tale that is a refreshing film going experience. In the last few years, Tim Burton has made good movies, but they simply weren't memorable like his early 90's work. Films like Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands were well crafted affairs that were eccentric and highly entertaining. What makes Tim Burton films unique is that he uses bizarre themes to tell his stories, thus he's able to create something that we've never seen, and capture our imagination. With this full length feature of his 84 short, he animated the tale of Sparky, the reanimated dog and adds a more in depth plot than his enjoyable short film. The question is, is it as great as the original? Unfortunately, I felt the short film was far better and more enjoyable, but in the long run, this animated feature is wonderful as well in terms of expanding Tim Burton's original concept. This is affine comedy horror tale that is really one of the better films that Tim Burton has directed recently. I thoroughly enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, but when Burton writes and directs his own ideas, plots and basically serves up original material, he's in top form, and the result is apparent on-screen throughout this memorable film.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2013
I'm not too sure what I think with this remake. On one hand Mr Burton is back on form with some classic Burton visuals and atmosphere yet on the other hand it feels like a rehash of all of his films quashed together. I do find myself thinking the same thing everytime I see a new Burton film.

Now don't get me wrong I'm a HUGE Burton fan and have been since 'Beetlejuice', but I can't deny that Burton has lost his touch recently and his last few films have failed to inspire. The reason for this being his unique quirky imagination has become somewhat stale and over used.

The original short film of 'Frankenweenie' was pretty neat because it was a curious cutesy homage to the classic monster film but wasn't dripping in Burton's typical trademarks. This new remake is gorgeous to look at and is indeed a wet dream for all gothic fans such as myself but as I review this I just can't help but think there is nothing new here.

OK its a remake so of course its not original but everything in this film has been hijacked from all his previous work. The suburban setting for the 'Frankenstein' family is the same typical Californian identikit urban sprawl that we've seen in many of Burton's films like 'Edward Scissorhands'. Some of the creatures in this film are literately ripped from his other films, the cat/bat creature and the werewolf-like rodent creature are both virtually the same creatures used in 'The Nightmare Before Christmas', and whilst watching the film you can see many little ideas dotted throughout from his other films.

The sequence where 'Victor' (Burton loves the names Victor and Vincent doesn't he) tries to bring 'Sparky' back to life has many little nods to previous films. Well I say nods but are they? I get the idea Burton simply can't resist putting these little kooky creations in his films ever since most of them appeared in 'Nightmare'.

The main character of 'Victor' is pretty much the same guy from 'Corpse Bride' with a dash of 'Vincent' and many of the child characters look familiar to Burton's 'Oyster Boy' stories. Now I'm not complaining because this is a lovely film which has a good heart and its fabulous to see Burton championing stop motion claymation in this day and age. You can appreciate the skill and craftsmanship involved creating these films, Burton and his team certainly deserve much credit and kudos for that.

There are some really nice touches throughout the film. The few characters that have a certain resemblance to classic character or actors of the horror genre, the 'Godzilla' homage was nice and this whole movie concept does work much better in this format. The old live action film felt a bit too silly but the whole idea fits the animation world just fine.

Anyway all I'm saying is despite the film being a nice return to 'classic Burton' of the 90's when his style (dare I say kink) was fresh and new. At the same time it is still a large rerun of his dark imagination all over again. I really can't help but wonder how long he can keep regurgitating his own ideas.

A beautiful visual halloween feast with lots of soul that will definitely warm the cockles of your heart. I just think Mr Burton really needs to broaden his horizons a tad as the constant use of certain styles, designs and cast is really getting thin. Other than that it is pleasing to see the digging up of that classic retro Burton of yore, just don't rely on that for your next projects Mr Burton. You can only make so many claymation films like this.
Super Reviewer
December 22, 2012
If you have ever had a pet that passed away you know the pain and sadness that comes along with it. But, what if you could bring them back? That is the premise of "Frankenweenie". Victor is a socially awkward kid whose best friend is his dog Sparky. One day while Victor is playing baseball, Sparky runs into the street and is killed by an oncoming car. Victor then uses his love of science to bring Sparky back to life. One his fellow students come to know what he has done, things get really crazy. This is a very heartfelt animated movie that everyone in the family should enjoy. Tim Burton originally made this as a short movie, and then returned as director for this, and his mark is all over. This sits perfectly next to "Nightmare Before Christmas" or "Corpse Bride". I also dug the black and white, as it really sets it apart from other animated movies. My only real complaint is the pacing is a little slow which makes the 90 minutes feel like 120. But it's still entertaining, and a good animated film that holds it's own in a year full of great animated movies.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2012
Unfortunately 2012 was the year I stopped going to see Tim Burton films at the cinema, and not a moment too soon, as Dark Shadows was one of the most awful things I'd ever sat through. However, Frankenweenie is Tim Burton's own remake of his 1984 short film and something I was very interested in. It sees a young boy bring his dead dog back to life, only for his classmates to abuse his new found science. It's certainly a step-up from Burton's recent output, with lots of stunning visuals. But at the same time, it seems as though he is pleading with old fans to return. The small town setting, lots of references to Holland, it seems as though we've seen all of this before in his films. The jokes fall flat, but there is a lot of heart. Unfortunately, the plot is padded out with a bit too much filler and characters that really don't deserve much time on screen. Still an enjoyable film and the decision to keep it in black and white is a brave and welcome one.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2012
'Frankenweenie'. Gorgeous animation and a sublime black and white aesthetic get lost when the story broadens beyond its sweet core.

The unique look of the film extends to every part of it, but it's the eyes of every character that really stands out, delivering personality in spades.

The ensemble at Victor's school are great in small doses. When the story goes off the rails and dilutes the film of its very personal nature, they become silly, and a huge distraction. I was left wanting way more Victor and Sparky time, and feeling like this whole film could've been much tighter without the science fair B-story.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
this is a wonderful film. solid horror for little kids, with enough engagement to keep parents fully interested and entertained.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2012
An overlong third act and a routine storyline let it down, but Tim Burton finally shows that his creativity and heartfelt characters can be put to good use.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2012
Question: Have you noticed the past few Tim Burton films are missing that quintessential essence we have grown to love over the last few decades? I can't quite put my finger as to why or what's gone awry, but I really haven't enjoyed his last few films until Frankenweenie! Yep, I saw this one and felt Tim Burton finally got back to his roots. Actually, I found out, after the fact, that this is a remake of a short film Burton did in 1984. Coincidence? Maybe.

Perhaps I was able to connect to the story line in Burton's latest stop motion film. I am a huge dog lover and have unfortunately lost a couple of pets throughout my life. Actually my first dog, Auggie, died similarly to Sparky in Frankenweenie. Being the same age as Victor, I could feel his extreme pain over the loss of his best friend. Now I did not try to revive Auggie like Frankenstein's monster, but I completely empathized with the boy trying to fill the void by any means possible.

This film is actually listed as horror (plus comedy and animation), and I will say for young children it would be wise for parents to heed that genre listing. Yes, it is rated PG, but for those young children who might scare easily this story is a bit on the dark side and quite intense at times. In fact, a girl and her father left during the film never to return. I noticed the stuffed animal in her hands and she was holding on to it for dear life as she briskly walked out of the theatre. My guess she was about 8 years-old. Now, my nearly 11-year old daughter had no qualms or fear of the story line and was delighted with the entire film.

For the parents who see this film I imagine you will revel in some nostalgic memories that Frankenweenie will evoke. I don't want to give away too much but one character in this movie was based on and looks nearly identical to another character from one of the stop motion films from our youth. I will let you figure out which one. Also, there are others who were obviously based on classic horror film characters. I counted at least three but have a feeling there might be more. And I would probably know if their more if I knew a lot more about horror films, but sadly, I was not unlike the little 8 year-old who skedaddled out of the theatre when I was her age.

All-in-all, Frankenweenie is the classic Frankenstein tale, no pun intended, so it won't win any originality awards, but there was a good message about loss, science and trying to obtain things for the wrong reasons. A good message for the youngsters out there - and perhaps for a few adults as well.

My favorite part: The one character that reminded me of another character from my youth.

My least favorite: That it reminded me of the loss of my first dog.

Directed (original story) by Tim Burton, Walt Disney Pictures, 2012

Screenplay: Leonard Ripps, John August and Tim Burton.

Starring: Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Landau.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Horror and Sci-fi.

Length: 87 minutes

Rating: PG

Review: 7 out of 10
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2012
Tim Burton's stop-motion remake of his own 30-minute short is a cute movie, even with the creepy subject matter. It's the story of a boy and his dog and coming to terms with loss, although that seems to get stalled since the kid brings his dog back to life. Frankenweenie is, as my pal Eric said, Burton's love letter to the Universal monsters of old, as other kids resurrect their pets into mummies, vampires, werewolves, etc. As a story, it's pretty plain and seems thin and padded out. The animation is fun to watch but I couldn't shake my questions about the character design. It feels like the only parts that move on these bulky faces are their tiny mouths. It's a strange design that undercuts the animators' efforts, and I couldn't help comparing it to the superior and expressive animation from ParaNorman. I'd say this is the weakest stop-motion film with Burton's name attached to it, but by no means is Frankenweenie a bad film. It's got some fun jokes and any story about the loss of a beloved pet is going to have plenty of heart. There are some pretty solid jokes but they all seem to pool in the first act. I enjoyed Sparky the dog's romance with the neighboring poodle, more so than any of the human relationships. Beyond the kid/dog aspect, I found it hard to engage with the movie. If you have to see one stop-motion animated film about the supernatural, check out ParaNorman instead.

Nate's Grade: B-
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2012
Burton continues his streak of creating films that turn the cold and solemn into something warm and fuzzy. John August's clever script that tackles the rare subject matter of science, Elfman's typically great score, and the overall unique look of combining stop motion with black and white make Frankenweenie a sweet, though very light, treat that's perfect for Halloween. It also happens to be refreshingly edgy for a Disney animation.
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2012

A complete failure

Frankenweenie, is a boring and stupid film that lacks originality and story. Ill be very honest, people are just giving credibility to it because it's Tim Burton, and people tend to think that whatever he does is good. But they are very wrong, Tim Burton was great but recently he has been showing that he doesn't live up to his own expectations.

From the second I started watching the movie I already hated it. The black and white in the film is pointless and adds no artsy effect if there isn't any character development or any story to be followed. The vagueness within the story and characters in Frankenweenie are so colossal that it's hard to ignore it and enjoy the movie. As much as I tried to watch the film without a critic eye, it was impossible. As hard as I tried to just have fun, I wasn't able to.

Victor's Mom: When you loose someone you love they move into a special place in your heart.
Page 1 of 155