Tim Burton’s Best Animated Feature Academy Award nominated “Frankenweenie” is now available on DVD at your Roanoke Valley Public Library. This delightful movie is a definite must-see for the entire family. It’s a brilliant homage to the classic monster films of old and an equally touching and funny tale of the undying love between a boy and his faithful dog.
“Frankenweenie” places Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein” (or more precisely James Whales’ 1931 film adaptation) among some suburban elementary school kids and a fierce science project competition. We watch the wonderful setup with a sense of dread as we know young Victor Frankenstein’s dog must die in order for the story to develop. That eventual tragedy is handled with beautiful artistry that will not overly upset the young ones but still bring a tear to the eyes of any adult with a heart. The young science wizard’s successful reanimation of his sidekick then sparks a jealous rivalry that ultimately leads to an all-out monster fest.
Shot in glorious black-and-white using the old stop-motion animation technique, the movie equals and exceeds the camera shots and visual story telling of the best of the old movies it recalls. Victor’s laboratory is a child’s replica of that from Whale’s movie. A neighbor’s poodle gets the white shocked hair you’d expect from “The Bride of Frankenstein.” There are even tips of the hat to “The Mummy” and “Godzilla.” And don’t forget this is Tim Burton, so all the children have the dark circled, sunken eyes and monstrous appearance that have become his trademark. One little boy is even a gap toothed hunchback in the vein of Igor.
Adults will appreciate this movie even more than children as they relish the overall artistry and spot-on references to older movies while becoming completely captivated by the story. “Frankenweenie” is destined to become an annual family favorite at Halloween, but it’s also a great choice for anytime you want to enjoy some old fashioned harmless movie fun.