Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Frankenweenie

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, and action
Profanity:Schoolyard language
Nudity/Sex:Some potty humor
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Ghoulish horror images and some peril
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:October 5, 2012
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2013

Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was a scientist who wanted to create life.  Tim Burton’s Victor Frankenstein is a kid who just wants his dog back.

Writer/director and master of the macabre Burton first developed this idea in a 1984 live action short film that got him fired by Disney because it was too scary for children.  Times have changed, and Disney came to Burton to ask him to develop a feature length remake in 3D stop-motion — and in black and white.  Burton, who had worked in black and white (“Ed Wood”) and stop-motion animation (“The Corpse Bride,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) tells a deliciously ghoulish story with visual wit, panache and a lot of heart.

It is, after all, the story of a boy and his dog.  Victor (Charlie Tahan) is a bit of a loner and his dog Sparky is his best friend.  When Sparky is killed by a car, Victor decides to harness the power of lightning to try to bring him back to life.  At first, it does not seem to work, but then Sparky’s tail starts wagging.  And then it wags itself off.  ”I can fix that!” the happy Victor reassures his re-animated pet.  It’s just a matter of a few quick stitches.

One of Victor’s classmates is Edgar “E” Gore (“The Middle’s” Atticus Shaffer), a mishappen but cheerful kid fascinated with creepy things.  (His name is “E” Gore, get it?)  He pressures Victor to tell him what happened and soon all the kids are trying their own experiments.  And then, perhaps because their hearts are not as pure as Victor’s (they want to win the science fair), because they are not as careful and knowledgeable, or just old-fashioned hubris, that is when things begin to go terribly wrong.

This first-ever black and white stop-action animated film is a visual treat with dozens of witty details.  I loved it when Sparky’s poodle doggie crush next door (they have a Pyramus and Thisbe-style fence between them) gets enough of an electronic jolt to give her fur white streaks in tribute to Elsa Lanchester’s iconic Bride of Frankenstein.  Martin Landau, who won an Oscar in Burton’s “Ed Wood,” gives a delicious performance as Victor’s teacher.  Burton’s own pleasure in the twisted and demented is evident in the comic grotesquery of the characters.  One creepy little girl insists on seeing omens in her cat’s poop, and when Victor’s classmates try to appropriate his methods, things go bizarrely off-kilter.  It does not reach the poetry of “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” but there are plenty of tricks and treats.

Parents should know that this film has ghoulish and macabre themes inspired by classic monster stories, children and adult characters in peril, a sad death of beloved pet, some potty humor, some violence and disturbing graphic images, and some schoolyard language.

Family discussion:  How is this story most like the original “Frankenstein?”  How is it most different?  Which monster is the scariest and why?  Why was it hard for Victor to make friends?

If you like this, try: “ParaNorman,” “Monster House,” “Beetlejuice,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

 

 



Previous Posts

Trailer: Chef
Jon Favreau follows his big-budget special effects movies ("Iron Man," "Cowboys and Aliens") with a return to his small, indie roots ("Swingers") as director/writer/star of the scrumptious-looking "Chef."  (WARNING: Some strong language) [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP6SE65F-h4[/yout

posted 8:00:51am Apr. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Have a Blessed Easter: Movies for the Family
My gallery of Easter movies includes "Ben Hur," several different movie versions of the life of Jesus, a couple of choices just for kids, and a classic musical named for a classic song, Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade." There's something for every family celebrating this weekend. [youtube]https://

posted 8:00:44am Apr. 19, 2014 | read full post »

A Dramatic Commercial for TNT
I love this commercial for TNT! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIkPeZKP-d4[/youtube]

posted 8:33:40am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Movie Stingers: Scenes After the Credits
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRJ38y4Jn6k[/youtube] Ferris Bueller had one.  Marvel superhero movies sometimes have two.  When did it become a thing to have a scene after the credits (sometimes called a stinger)? New York Magazine's Vulture column has the history of these extended

posted 8:00:47am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Fading Gigolo
John Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in "Fading Gigolo," a bittersweet meditation on the ways we seek and hide from intimacy, sometimes at the same time. Turturro plays Fioravante, a florist who works part-time for Murray (Woody Allen), the third-generation proprietor of a used and rare books

posted 9:24:32pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.