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Movie review: 'Frankenweenie'

It's a delight to see director Tim Burton unleash his unabashed weirdness with his black-and-white, stop-motion, feature-length adaptation of his 1984 short film “Frankenweenie.”
Oklahoman Published: October 5, 2012

The arrival of a terrifying but enthusiastic science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau) kindles Victor's interest in science and inflames the competitive spirit of his classmates Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao), Bob (Robert Capron) and Nassor (Short again), who are determined to emerge victorious in the upcoming science fair.

Victor's father agrees to sign his son's science fair permission slip only if the boy tries his hand at baseball, and Victor reluctantly agrees. With a bit of encouragement from his quietly lovely classmate Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder, another frequent Burton collaborator), the niece of the Frankensteins' crotchety neighbor Mayor Burgermeister (Short doing triple duty), Victor manages to hit a home run, but his triumph is short-lived: Sparky tries to retrieve the ball, gets hit by a car and is killed on impact. When Mr. Rzykruski demonstrates that the nervous system can respond to electrical stimuli even after death, Victor is inspired to dig up Sparky and bring him back to life. The youngster is overjoyed when the experiment works, but he suddenly faces the issue of hiding his reanimated pet from his parents and the townsfolk.

Unfortunately, Sparky escapes his attic hiding place and Victor's sneaky classmate Edgar “E” Gore (Atticus Shaffer) spots the dog. Edgar manipulates Victor into showing him how he reanimated the pooch but soon breaks his promise to keep the secret a secret, putting the community of New Holland in supernatural jeopardy.

“Frankenweenie” vividly illustrates that stop-motion animation is still a viable art form even in the computer age and that even youngsters can enjoy cinematic scares when they're done right.

Even better, the quirky story of a boy and his dog shows that Burton has still got plenty of wonderful weirdness to bring to the big screen.

— Brandy McDonnell

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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PG1:2731/2 stars

Starring: Voices of Charlie Tahan, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau. (Thematic elements, scary images and action)

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