Some might say a fable about raising the dead could never be a delightful romp with a message of tolerance. Obviously Tim Burton
didn't get the memo. The reigning master of the dark film arts has directed Hollywood's latest (kind of) family movie, Frankenweenie
This striking animated film introduces us to familiar Burtonesque suburbia (a la Edwards Scissorhands
) in the form of a small town, New Holland, where mob mentality rules and townsfolk prefer the comfort of the status quo to new schools of thought.
Alas, change waits for no small town. When the film's protagonist and outcast, Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan
), loses his beloved dog Sparky in a car accident on the same day he discovers his talent for baseball, Victor take his high school science lessons to a new level. In a confronting yet sentimental scene, Victor resurrects the scampish and loveable Sparky, although the pooch is slightly more prone to losing his tail ...
Before you can say "zombie axolotl", bringing deceased pets back to life is all the rage with young science aficionados in New Holland, but, of course, not without consequences, or without Victor needing to convince the small town to take on new ideas, much like Kevin Bacon
From a production perspective, Frankenweenie
is a credit to anyone involved in its animation. The attention to detail in this black-and-white film is commendable, with some beautiful finishing touches that reflect the thousands of hours invested in the film by its animators. The minor characters – whether it be the clairvoyant pooing cat, emo poodle or Victor's freaky classmates – add an extra layer of humour, as do the homages to some classic horror film figures.
Despite the gothic elements and macabre adult themes, Frankenweenie
is more light than dark and more humorous than droll, with Burton cleverly tempering cold colouring with a warm soundtrack. Having said that, parents be warned – the PG-rating is surprising, despite the overall whimsy.
Watch the trailer now