Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Leonard Ripps, Tim Burton
Starring: Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
Plot: After a his dog dies, a young boy comes up with an elaborate scheme to bring his best friend back to life. The plan works but it sparks off a series of unforeseen consequences.
So what did you think?
Adam – I thought this was some of the best Tim Burton work I had seen in years. While I realize this familiar ground for Burton he still manages to make a fun family film with that special touch of endearing crazy magic. I would not hesitate to take kids to watch this. Well unless your kid is cry baby.
Scotty - I thought Frankenweenie was a quality film but I was certainly not blown away by it. I enjoyed the many references to the horror genre of yore and I was pleased overall. My son Jonas was very pleased with the film and I thought he may be apprehensive with the lack of color, but he thought it was a good start to his birthday weekend.
Griff – Overall an enjoyable watch. It is a nice little homage to universal horror and the Godzilla movies that I grew up with. The animation was excellent and the story kept me entertained.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – These damn fall allergies are killing me. My decision to choose to breathe by doubling up on my allergy medication was a big mistake. I was very excited to finally get a chance to view this full length film after enjoying the original short so much. Similarly, I relish every opportunity to drag my brother to kid’s films. Unfortunately, I did not get to bring my boy with me due to a scheduling conflict with a trip to Legoland. He ended up seeing the film the next week and loved it.
Scotty – I was happy to be spending some quality time with my son who seems to get very little 1 on 1 time with me. He was excited about the vanilla shake from Ben and Jerry’s he purchased prior to the film.
Griff – I loved The Nightmare Before Christmas so I was hoping for something along that line. It doesn’t have the same amount of charm as Nightmare but it is a good movie non the less.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – It was interesting to see how he expanded upon and used stop motion to reanimate the original short. Additional characters and plot points were added to flesh out the film. Burton’s love of classic 1930’s Universal horror films and outcast children was a joy to watch. While this is a theme often visited by Burton it still seemed innovative in this movie.
Scotty - Frankenweenie was done by Burton earlier but it was a good remake of his short film. I enjoyed the stop animation.
Griff – It’s more of a conglomeration of lots of classic horror films all packaged together in a shiny new box.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – Yes, the script did a good job of expanding upon the original material. The film does a refreshing job of combining nods to monster classics along with jokes and dialogue that will entertain both adults and children.
Scotty – Well written script that seems bogged down at points. I was hoping for more humor and scares, I think there were 2 points we jumped from a scare.
Griff - For the most part I thought it was pretty well done. There really aren’t any wow moments or crazy plot turns and things turn out pretty much as expected from start to finish.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – It’s a stop motion animated film. I constantly think to myself I could do voice over work. I am unsure if I would really consider that performance. I am going to go with the stop motion animators at the Tim Burton Animation Company.
Scotty – Tough to pick a performance but I enjoyed the Vincent Price like Science teacher voiced by Hollywood icon Martin Landau
Griff - This is a tough one when you are watching an animated film. One of my favorite characters though was Mr. Rzykurski voiced by Martin Landau.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – Karen O has an original song Strange Love that played during the closing credits. Moreover, Danny Elfman created an appropriately atmospheric score for the film.
Scotty - I do not remember a song but the score was sufficient.
Griff - Karen O did a song for the film called Strange Love, the rest is pretty much Danny Elfman music which is very well done.
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “I hope you run into a ten-foot Mouse” Mr. Chambers while putting out his cat for the night.
Scotty – Edgar: “We can make a Death Ray!”
Griff – “Mr. Whisker had a dream about you.”
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - If I had not taken two allergy pills and had not kept nodding off. No it’s not because the film was dull, like War Horse or Hugo, I was just really doped up. Thanks Mark for elbowing me in the ribs a few times when I nodded off.
Scotty – As I stated earlier a little more humor and a couple more cheap scares would have made the film more entertaining.
Griff - Although I thought it was an enjoyable watch, it lacked some of the charisma that you get from a movie like Nightmare Before Christmas. As a result it doesn’t inspire repeated viewings.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - Well I would recommend going to watch this at the theater. If you are fan of Burton or have some kids that you want to expose to classic monsters, this would be a good film to choose for a trip to the theater.
Scotty – Frankenweenie is a good Halloween/Horror movie for kids so get them out to see it, if not just wait for the DVD.
Griff – It was definitely a fun watch in the theater but I don’t think you will lose anything watching this one on a small screen.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – Are you looking to scare your kids a bit and introduce them to some classic horror themes? Then how about showing your kids the films Monster House (2006) or 9 (2009)? Also we just streamed Mad Monster Party (1967) on Netflix. It’s an underrated Rankin/Bass film chock full of monster fun.
Scotty – Coraline, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas
Griff - ParaNorma, Nightmare Before Christmas, Monster House, Corpse Bride
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – It was so nice to see Burton back with his a game after the disappointing Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland. So who wants to buy me that Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection [Blu-ray]? It’s only $143.98 on Amazon.
Scotty – I honestly think this is the best Burton movie since Big Fish but this is probably because it was basically written before Burton got lost. Frankenweenie was a decent movie with a good script, a couple of scares, and hopefully a rebirth of quality films for Burton. I enjoyed the stop action filming and the references to classic horror films but it fell a little short for me and was a bit slow. My son enjoyed it and that was all that mattered to me at the time.
Griff - We have seen two animated monster movies in the past few weeks. ParaNorman and and now Frankenweenie. If I had to pick a favorite I think I enjoyed this one a bit more. I enjoyed the whole send up of the Universal Horror movies and thought it made for a fun watch.