In 1984, Tim Burton directed a live-action short film titled, “Frankenweenie.” A lighthearted tribute to “Frankenstein,” it’s about a boy named Victor Frankenstein who brings his dead dog Sparky back to life. Unfortunately, Disney fired Tim for wasting resources and thought Frankenweenie is too dark and scary for kids. Afterwards, Paul Reubens viewed the short and hired Tim for an opportunity to direct his first full-length feature film, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” Thus, Tim’s film career was born. Twenty-Eight Years Later, Tim made two films, “Dark Shadows” and a stop-motion animated film based on his short film.

Frankenweenie was officially released in 2012. (same year Hotel Transylvania came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to good reception, the film made enough revenue at the box office. Frankenweenie was nominated at The Oscars for “Best Animated Feature.” Only for “Brave” to win. Recently, Tim Burton developed a Netflix series, “Wednesday” with Jenna Ortega following Christina Ricci’s footsteps. As of 2022, Mr. Burton has yet to announce his next film. During Halloween Month 2022, I’ll be reviewing selective horror films.

This review contains no SPOILERS whatsoever. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler article.

Alive & Dead Qualities

Alive: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder & Martin Landau all did a solid job for their respective voiceover performances.

Tim Burton did an excellent job directing. He also produced the film.

John August (Big Fish, Dark Shadows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) wrote the script.

Stop-Motion Animation flawlessly brings character models, fluid animation and the town of New Holland to life.

Tim’s fellow collaborator Danny Elfman orchestrated the soundtrack.

Like “Hotel Transylvania, some characters are based on iconic ones from monster movies or others from non-monster movies.

  • Victor Frankenstein = Dr. Frankenstein
  • Sparky = Frankenstein Monster
  • E. Gore = Igor
  • Elsa Van Helsing = Van Helsing
  • Mr. Burgermeister = Meisterburger from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
  • Nassor = Boris Karloff
  • Toshiaki = Carl Denham from King Kong
  • Mr. Rzykruski = Vincent Price
  • Goldfish = The Invisible Man
  • Colossus = The Mummy
  • Sea Monkeys = Gremlins
  • Persephone = Bride of Frankenstein
  • Shelley = Gamera
  • Rat = The Wolf Man
  • Mr. Whiskers = Dracula

Humor is lighthearted and cute at the same time.

Pacing didn’t seem slow or fast for a 90-minute movie.

Shelley is named after Mary Shelley.

Victor’s headpiece is the exact same one of another Victor from “Corpse Bride.”

Frankenweenie pays homage to “Universal Monsters.” Obviously, Frankenstein. Plus, it takes cues from Stephen King’s “Pet Semetary.”

Christopher Lee makes a cameo appearance on TV as Dracula. Tim grew up watching Hammer Horror Films.

Dead: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving Tim and his crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Frankenweenie is arguably Tim Burton’s best film in recent years. It’s one of Tim’s best works alongside Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Ed Wood,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Big Fish” “Corpse Bride” and last but not least my personal favorite, “Sweeney Todd.” If you wanna introduce your kids to Frankenweenie, give it a shot.

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