Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

A FILM BY TIM BURTON

Disney FRANKENWEENIE

c05Remakes are the Hollywood in thing. Everything that was vaguely good back in the day is apparently asking to be remade with more action, more explosion and preferably more 3D than you can throw up at.

Frankenweenie on the other hand is none of that except perhaps for the 3D. And being a new version of a classic. And a few explosions. But it’s not a remake. It’s the story of a young boy called Victor Frankenstein and his beloved little dog Sparky. Victor is quiet, smart, intelligent, always busy with very ‘sciency’ stuff. He’s not very much into sports although his father would like him to play. So one day, obligingly, Victor goes to play baseball. The ball goes flying, Sparky goes running, car comes screeching to a halt. It’s heartrendingly sad seeing a boy lose his pet dog. He carries on depressed until a new science teacher at school tells him about the power of electricity and how it can make frog legs twitch in interesting ways before it can be cooked. Victor digs up his pet dog from the cemetery and with some lighting and tears, brings his dog back alive. It al seems great, boy and dog united, except for the odd moments the dog’s ear or tail falls of or it simply runs out of juice and needs to recharge. It’s all good until a kid from school sees it and asks for the secret. This would be such a cool project for the science fair. A sure winner. More kids find out and start digging up old dead pets that turn monstrous. Who’s gonna save the town now? Is science the real villain? Will Sparky live forever?

c06Why it’s cool: This is strange movie but then it’s made by Tim Burton of Corpse Bride fame. It’s also stop motion animation in black and white, with 3D. The characters are funny, touching, worth remembering. The dog is so cute you’d want one just like it even if it was stitched up and occasionally needed glue to attach parts together. The story takes a cool contemporary twist on the classic story but leaves a lot of the original elements intact. Like the little hunched kid called Edgar E Gore. Igor, right? The movie takes all that and mixes it up with the imaginativeness and awkwardness of childhood and presents it through a list of trademark Tim Burton characters form movies past. It’s weirdly inventive and one of the most enjoyable movies of the year.