Wednesday, October 16, 2013
31 Days of Halloween - Day 16 - Movie 2
When Victor Frankenstein's dog Sparky is hit by a car, he decides to resurrect his beloved pet. The reanimated Sparky may be the same lovable dog he always was, but when Victor's classmates see copying his experiment as a shortcut to success in the upcoming science fair, their own attempts at bringing pets back from the dead comes with monstrous consequences.
Frankenweenie (2012) is a feature length, stop-motion animated remake of Tim Burton's live action short film from 1984. The newer film follows the same basic plot as the original, even replicating some scenes almost exactly. This film adds a larger cast of kids and the science fair in order to extend the story to feature length. The original film is very charming and it's easy to see how it wound up being the launching point for Burton's career. In place was his singular aesthetic, an assurance as a director, and a macabre but sweet melding of fairy tales and pop culture influences. All of this is in place here as well. The real question though is what was the point? The feature is not at all a bad movie, but it in no way improves over the original, and the added material doesn't add to what was already there. The character of Elsa, who seems like someone who should be forming a sympathetic bond with Victor, if not providing a bit of adolescent romance, doesn't really contribute anything to the film. The other kids are fun characters, but most don't have any purpose either other than to deliver the monster mayhem of the final third of the movie. Victor and his love for Sparky remains the heart of Frankenweenie, and that almost gets lost amongst all of the added visual noise. It's a gorgeous black and white movie, but it feels superfluous.