Tim Burton goes back to the well again with Frankenweenie, a remake of his short film and obvious parody of Frankenstein. Set in the town of New Holland, our story centers around social outcast Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) who sets his genius to bringing his dog Sparky back to life after he is hit by a car.
What follows are the misadventures of Victor, Sparky, and Victor’s various classmates who use his knowledge to bring back other pets from the grave in an attempt to win the school science fair. The film also throws in a preteen love story between Victor and the equally socially awkward Elsa van Helsing (Winona Ryder).
Burton has some fun in casting old friends, particularly with Martin Landau as the school’s science teacher who is attacked after the town discovers what Victor used “science” to do.
The final act has plenty of action as Victor, Edward Gore (Atticus Shaffer), and the other children try to chase down the various monsters now loose in the town including New Holland’s own version of Gamera and a vampire cat. Victor also has to deal with a town mob out to destroy Sparky as well.
While the film certainly doesn’t rank among the director’s best, Frankenweenie does deliver the kind of offbeat macabre humor Burton is known for (even if it does feel like the director is at times going through the motions with themes and effects he’s already covered in other movies). I wasn’t able to view the movie in 3D, but the stop-motion flows well and looks terrific in black and white.
Any Frankenstein parody is going to get compared to director Mel Brooks‘ Young Frankenstein (arguably his best work). Frankenweenie certainly isn’t in that class, but Burton does include several nice nods to classic horror movies which adults will appreciate while crafting a goofy take on the basic tale of a boy and his dog which should appeal to a younger audience.
Frankenweenie is available on DVD, a DVD-Blu-ray Combo Pack, and a Four-Disc 3D Combo Pack (which also includes 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies of the movie). Extras include deleted scenes, the original Frankenweeine short film, Plain White T’s “Pet Sematary” music video, easter eggs, and featurettes on the Frankenweeinie touring exhibit and a behind-the-scenes look a the stop-motion miniatures used in the movie.
[Walt Disney Home Video, 3D Blu-ray $49.99 / Blu-ray-DVD Combo $24.99 / DVD $29.99]