Phil's Review of Frankenweenie
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.