Tim Burton is one of the most prestigious directors in tinseltown. But I’ll bet you anything that as a kid, he was a serious outcast. Why? Because all of his main characters just can’t seem to fit in. Edward Scissorhands has SCISSORS on his hands, PeeWee Herman is.. PeeWee Herman, and Ed Wood is a director that makes movies from the heart, but not from the brain. That is how ‘Frankenweenie’ feels, like a film that was made entirely with the right side of the Burton’s brain.
The film focuses on Victor Frankenstein, who, despite his father’s worries, is in fact the most normal person in the entire town. Chew on that, Dad! He is convinced by his parents to take on baseball, which backfires when Victor’s beloved dog Sparky runs off to catch the ball and is hit by a car. And no, we don’t actually see the body. He decides to see if he can re-animate the dog, but when the secret is out, the other kids all try to recreate the experiment, only to face disastrous results.
The upsides from this movie come from the direction. Everything you know and love about Tim Burton is here, including a quirky sense of humor and a beautiful Danny Elfman score. You can tell that this is the movie Burton WANTED to make, and he put a lot of effort into the look and feel of this world. But once you get past the that, you begin to notice that Burton’s masterful Tower Of Pisa is leaning. Why are the parents so oblivious in the second act? Why does everyone in the town assume that Sparky is evil? And why is everyone so competitive over the Science Fair Trophy? Is it really so precious that they’re willing to put other people’s lives at risk?
But is Frankenweenie a bad movie? Not really. If you’re a Burton fan, you really should give this one a watch. And if you’re not, come to your own judgement. Burton really wanted to make the best movie possible, and on a personal level, I’d say that he succeeded.
WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS
Okay, I’ve got to talk about this ending. There’s a cliche in this movie that really irks me. It was in Enchanted, Gnomeo & Juliet, and now this. It’s that moment where everyone thinks a character is dead, and they’re all crying and sobbing, going “We’re too late.” and then he starts to move, and they’re like “No.. Can it be? It Is! HE’S ALIVE!” First of all, why doesn’t the character come back at first? Are they just waiting for when it’s most dramatically covenient? Second of all, anyone who’s seen this cliche sees it coming a mile away. We’re going “You’re going to wake up. There’s no point in delaying it. Come on.” Having Sparky ‘almost’ die at the end just was a predictable way to end this predictable movie. My mother had to say that she didn’t like the ending because Victor didn’t learn anything. She said that if Sparky had died, Victor would have learned that it was for the best and that he should let go of the past. I agree. This was Burton’s dream movie, and it didn’t have a sad ending. That I can get behind, but I think it could have been polished a little bit more.