I would have seen this new Tim Burton just to support my original lady-obsession, Winona Ryder. I am pleased to report that this black-and-white animated offering is a real gem. A more personally touched Edward Scissorhands, this is clearly an ode to Burton’s own childhood. In equal parts a coming of age of a destined filmmaker and relationship between boy and dog, Frankenweenie is successful on both fronts.
Victor is a young boy with few friends and big ambitions. He uses all the household items not attached to the wall as props in his homemade films. His best friend is Sparky, a beagle-esque (this is animated, sue me if I don’t know the breed) pooch who also stars and assists in the filmmaking. Victor pours all of his attentions into his films, with a large dash of scientific inquiry on the side.
When Sparky is tragically killed (no spoilers, that’s what the movie is about) Victor uses the science knowledge gleaned from the no-nonsense new teacher, a modern version of Victor Price’s creator from EdSciss and triumphantly brings him back to life. The rest of the movie chronicles Victor’s dedication to Sparky, the reactions from his parents and classmates, and the danger in abusing science too often.
Victor is richly drawn and he is surrounded by comical and empathetic key characters. It is a simple tale of a young boy with a big heart, who is fortunate enough to have the nerdily required know-how to achieve his goals. It really is a more Burton-centric Edward as it culminates in a scene identically reminiscent of Edward’s finale.
You probably won’t weep to the same degree as (I) did for Edward, but shed a tear you will.
Between Edward Scissorhands (10) and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (4) I give this an 8.