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Frankenweenie: A Post Mortem

Parents all over town are seeing posters for Frankenweenie, a new film by Tim Burton set to open October 5, and wondering what to make of them.

I can hear the hamster wheezing along in its wheel saying:
-Is it suitable for my kids?
-Is it going to be too scary?
-Did it have to be in black and white?
-Why do my feet hurt?

Well, friends, I had a chance to attend the PREMIERE so I have the answer to all of the above: YESNOYESBECAUSE.

But let’s not leave it at that, shall we?

Let’s discuss the film in enough to detail to give you a map without completely and utterly ruining the magical destination…

PREFACE

I am a Tim Burton fan, plain and simple. And though I wasn’t the most courageous kid growing up, I was compelled by the gravitational pull of films like Beetlejuice, Pee-wee Herman’s Big Adventure and so many more of Burton’s masterful works. In recent years, watching his contemporary releases sort of waned, but he still held a special place for me. Whatever the reason, every time I attempted to break the impermeable wall of ambivalence about his new works, something would pull me away.

I believe this film announces Mr. Burton’s return, in my opinion, to my good graces and all his charming uniqueness.

FRANKEN-PHILE

Frankenweenie is a heartwarming story about a boy, Victor Frankenstein (played by Charlie Tahan), who suddenly and tragically loses his dog Sparky in an accident. Using his scientific talents, Victor brings his canine best friend back to life with a few … um … slight problems. Pandemonium ensues when word leaks of the resurrection and the citizens of New Holland are thrust into total chaos.

The film brings back actors Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Martin Short and Conchata Ferrell to Burton’s circus of fun, and newcomers Charlie Tahan and Atticus Shaffer fit right in.

The black-and-white color choice is the perfect achromatic frame from the supernatural events taking place in a quiet burg.  New Holland, the hometown of the Frankensteins, could be any small suburb, but is most definitely anchored to Burton’s childhood in Burbank, California. He plays with his characters in these grossly normal settings and when extraordinary things happen, everything is subsequently heightened. Burton’s creative genius seems to lie in shifting our convictions and seriousness about death, and life, using dark comedy and fantasy elements to teach us about our humanity. His characters emanate a “truth is stranger than fiction” quality. They’re refined caricatures, easily recognizable to us as people in our daily lives though still part of his masterful fantasies. Like Sparky the dog, this film seems to be the resurrection of Tim Burton’s artistic life. It’s easily one of the best things Burton has made in several years.

So, get into the Halloweenie season with Frankenweenie!

IMAGES & POSTERS FROM THE FILM


  • Victor Frankenstein 1 of 16
    Victor Frankenstein
  • Elsa Van Helsing 2 of 16
    Elsa Van Helsing
  • Nassor 3 of 16
    Nassor
  • Persephone 4 of 16
    Persephone
  • Mr. Rzykruski 5 of 16
    Mr. Rzykruski
  • Sparky 6 of 16
    Sparky
  • Toshiaki 7 of 16
    Toshiaki
  • Weird Girl 8 of 16
    Weird Girl
  • Edgar 9 of 16
    Edgar
  • A boy and his dog 10 of 16
    A boy and his dog
  • Neighbor in New Holland 11 of 16
    Neighbor in New Holland
  • Friends can be so helpful 12 of 16
    Friends can be so helpful
  • A family that plays together… 13 of 16
    A family that plays together...
  • An electrifying movie 14 of 16
    An electrifying movie
  • Poor posthumous pooch 15 of 16
    Poor posthumous pooch
  • Don’t let the wildlife get ya! 16 of 16
    Don't let the wildlife get ya!

FASTPASS

So, you want to know what I think? Pop quiz style. Here we go:

1. SCARE FACTOR
This film has some scary elements and certainly deals with a heavy subject matter. Maturity here has less to do with a specific age, though it plays a part. I was a wuss for long time. This would’ve scared me. I’d say nine or ten years-old is probably the lowest I’d go. But that’s also because I have an almost-three year-old. What the hell do I know?

If your kids enjoyed Corpse Bride or Nightmare before Christmas, you should be good.

2. IS 3D WORTH IT?
Listen, 3-D is not for everyone but I found the charm of this film is its incredible detail. The immersive experience is just what I wanted and it made me feel a kid in the 1950s who went to the cinema and caught a 3-D horror flick. The stop-motion production design demands you find a good venue to watch it.

3. ARE YOU REALLY A DAD? 
Yes, yes I am.

4. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART?
Not telling. Go see it October 5.

~Charlie

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