So a few weeks back the boys saw the movie trailer for Frankweenie and found it a bit scary. I thought the movie looked like fun and not as scary as my eldest son seemed to find it (he also thought Nigel the bird from Rio was terrifying – but is good with all the Harry Potter films, go figure). In any case the boys love any opportunity to go to the movie theatre and especially see 3D movies so we prepped by watching a few more trailers and the boys were excited (if a bit apprehensive still.)
We arrived to a packed house for the Frankweenie pre-screen and while most of the audience was adults there was a good buzz going around the theatre about being excited to see the film, which is always a good sign in my mind.
As the movie started with the traditional Disney opening showing the magic kingdom/castle it quickly became dark and atmospheric (or should I say Tim Burton-ized) as lightning flashed over the castle and it appeared like a spooky haunted castle.
While Disney describes the film thusly,
From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.
I actually found it more heartwarming than that. It was atmospheric but not scary – and my youngest 4, laughed at all of the kid jokes (while I also chuckled at some aimed at adults). One of the unexpected parts of the film was all the references to older monster movies – it felt like a lighthearted tarantino homage to film and film school. I caught references to films like Godzilla, Gremlins, Dracula, Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Bride, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy and there must have been more….
Most of those films (given the age of their making) were done in black and white so I think it was a good fit that Frankenweenie was done in black and white and in stop-motion animation, which created a more direct visual link to the older black and white horror films it referenced. I’m glad this film was made in 3D we enjoyed the experience and I think it added to the film.
I think this film is a great film for families – including the younger set. Sure one of the main characters is a re-animated dog, (but don’t worry the dog’s death occurs off-screen) but it was a positive, warm film with plenty of fun. That the boys and I highly recommend checking out. See it for Halloween or any time, the boys are excited to see it again and have already asked me to buy them the DVD when it comes out.
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Rating: PG UK Release Date: 17 October, 2012
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
Voice talent: Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell
Disclosure – I along with my 2 sons were invited to a free screening of this movie. While I was provided with free entry, the popcorn and sweets were purchased by me, the fun was had by all, and my views and review are those of myself and my family.