Frankenweenie: "I Don't Want Him In My Heart. I Want Him Here With Me"

Director: Tim Burton
Writer:    John August
Starring: Charlie Tahan
                Catherine O'Hara
                Martin Short
                Martin Landau
                Winona Ryder
                Atticus Shaffer
                Tom Kenny
Rating:     *****

Release Date: Out Now

Recently our cinemas have been inundated with spooky cartoons and kooky characters. First we had ParaNorman, a tale of a young boys differences being a small towns saviour; then the slightly less inspiring Hotel Transylvania, where Count Dracula desperately tries to protect his daughter from humans. Now for Halloween week, we have probably my favourite film of the group, Frankenweenie. It is by far the film with the most heart, and with a superb voice cast, each character is filled with fun, love and a genuineness that many animations lack.

Victor Frankenstein (Tahan) is a sweet unassuming boy living in a bland and average town; a town that has that typical Burton feel, like an old, classic horror movie with a quirky edge. Victor is a quiet and lonely science geek, who finds great comfort in his loving dog, Sparky. They play together, sleep together, and the whole family love him like he was one of their children; so on one faithful day, when Sparky gets killed by a car, the family are left to mourn; no-one more than Victor.

Well Victor doesn't like to accept the idea of Sparky's death, so tries a little experiment; a Dr Frankenstein type of experiment. Of course it is successful, and Victor is reunited with his beloved canine friend (albeit a tad patch worked and recycled canine friend). Any fan of Tim Burton knows that death is a subject he often covers in his movies. Some see death as morbid and depressing, but Burton likes to look at the wonder, magic and mystery of it, almost through the eyes of an innocent child. Some how he always manages to show death in a way that is never too dark or creepy; it is always light and manages to always work.

One of my absolute favourite things about this film is the brilliant references to past horror films; of course done in a child friendly manner. For instance, when the neighbours poodle chews on Sparky's neck bolt, it receives an electric shock giving the poodle a white stripe in their fur: referencing, of course, The Bride of Frankenstein. Its these sneaky Easter eggs that make the film so much fun for a film geek like me. It's a film that definitely has something for the adults and then the charming and quirky story is aimed at children (and also the adults). The zaniest and funniest of the characters most definitely has to got to Victor's odd, psychic classmate (O'Hara), who speaks to her dead cat, and foresees the towns disastrous future. When Victor's classmates get hold of his pet resurrection formula things start to go a bit topsy-turvy for the townspeople. 

There is a moment in the middle when the films pace drops, but thanks to the phenomenally smooth stop-motion and wonderfully crafted characters it really doesn't become a big issue. Characters like Victor's sweet, yet gloomy neighbour Elsa Van Helsing (Ryder), and his strange sidekick Edward E Gore (Shaffer) make this film what it is, and that is just one reason why I loved every moment of it. The cast is a small but terrific one; many of the stars portray more than one character, including O'Hara and Short, which truly shows off the stupendous talent Burton has managed to capture. Each character has their own individual quirk and charm, but they all maintain that particular Burton style; similar to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but almost 9/10 years later, slightly more advanced and refined.

As the film draws to a close, an exciting and spooky finale ensues. the local children have been bringing their deceased pets back to life, but something has been going horribly wrong. They are returning as evil mutant pets, and the likes of possessed sea monkeys and demonic flying cats are wreaking havoc on the the locals. Burton takes this opportunity to show off some of the beautifully designed scenery of the town, as well as creating some deliciously devilish movie monsters to spook and entertain the audience.

Each scene is jam packed with comedy, not necessarily in the script, but in the visuals and cinematic references.The character design is also a big part of the comedic quality, especially Edward, who resembles the infamous character of cinema past, Igor. Burton has designed an intricate world, that will sweep you up and make you laugh with it's infectious charm, and heart-warming story of friendship, dreaming and never saying goodbye.

Frankenweenie - Trailer