Monday, October 29, 2012

A Horror Cartoon for the Tykes

By JEFF SILER of the Forum

Stop Motion animation is a technology that has been under-utilized over the years. Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas” set the bar for the technology and to the no other stop motion film has come close to its brilliance. That is until his latest creation, “Frankenweenie” hit theatres on Oct 5.
“Frankenweenie” is based on a thirty-minute short, of the same title, that Burton released in 1984. It is set in, what I assume to be, the early 1940s. It starts with Victor, a young boy, and his loving dog Sparky, who has become the main character in a series of films that Victor has created. Times are good and the fun-loving dog is just what you expect out of “mans best friend.” That is, until Sparky is run over by an oncoming car and killed on impact. This completely rips Victor apart and makes him wonder how he’s going to live without his only friend in the world until Victor has a brilliant idea.
After a lecture in science class about recreation with the ever-so-scary Dr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau), Victor has the idea to bring Sparky back from the dead. Following the steps laid out for him, Victor attempts to bring the dog back to life and originally thinks he was unsuccessful. After a few moments of disappointment, the blanket that is covering Sparky starts to move and the dead dog is resurrected, but with a catch. The dog has to be recharged periodically so he can function properly. This would have been fine and dandy for Victor but once he leaves for school, Sparky decides he wants to go out and explore the city.
Once out on the town, Victor’s classmate, Edgar E. Gore, sees Sparky and knowing that the dog is supposedly dead, immediately questions Victor. This leads to a downward spiral and the city is eventually turned upside down by the kids’ recreations.
All in all, the movie was one of my favorites from recent Burton films and by far my favorite in the field of stop motion since “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” I highly recommend seeing this film because it is entertaining throughout and it really does justice to Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein.” Plus it’s a good film to take the kids to. So, if you see any movie this Halloween season, “Frankenweenie” is a sure bet for an entertaining flick.

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