Film review: Frankenweenie (4 out of 5 stars)

Victor prepares to bring Sparky back to life.
Victor prepares to bring Sparky back to life.

If you want to make a fun movie about horror movies then this latest creation by director Tim Burton is as good a template as you can get.

The idea to create a storyline and then cleverly layer on numerous references to other movies works so well on this occasion.

It also helps having some great characters, plus good actors providing the voices and stop animation techniques (British) that leave you awe-struck.

The plot sees young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) who is devoted to his dog Sparky. When Sparky is killed in a car accident Victor decides to use his scientific knowledge to bring his pet back to life.

However, he and his school classmates discover that giving the dead a new lease of life doesn’t always work out for the best.

Burton has shot the movie in black and white which gives it an added edge, especially when the more scary scenes arrive. The 3D, however, didn’t really add much for me.

Although it is a PG, it might prove a bit too much for the very young, particularly later on.

Among the excellent characters there is the science teacher Mr Rzykruski who looks like the late great horror actor Vincent Price and is voiced by Martin Landau.

Catherine O’Hara has three parts, including the brilliant character Weird Girl while Atticus Shaffer is behind young Edgar ‘E’ Gore, a great take on the classic scientist’s hunch-backed assistant.

There’s a sub plot involving the next door girl Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder) and her poodle but it’s all really about one boy and his dog and the lengths he goes to to keep his friend.

Along the journey there are nods to numerous films, such as Bride of Frankenstein, Jurassic Park, Gremlins, Pet Sematary and so on.

Overall, a clever tale that will appeal to quite a wide audience.

Film details: Frankenweenie (PG) 87mins

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: (voices) Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley