BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Saturday, October 06, 2012
10/06/12 at 5:05 AM
The stormy clouds and rain that cover the iconic Disney castle at the start of Tim Burton's 3-D stop-action animated film "Frankenweenie" should have been indication enough that this is no regular Disney children's tale.
And it wasn't. No vibrant colors (the movie is in black and white), no loud yet lovable characters, no nonstop action.
In fact, if it weren't for a few direct words of wisdom delivered by the teachers and parents in the movie, I'd almost say it wasn't aimed at kids. And aside from the fact that it might be a tad scary for the littlest of Disney's regular audience, most youngsters probably won't have the patience to sit through the early quiet and quirky scenes.
But those same scenes are what should have the adult viewers pushing ahead of their kids in line, or just heading to the theater on their own.
Burton, known for his dark and quirky movies, has created a fantastical tale of monsters and oddballs that is fun and funny.
The movie, essentially a remake of a short film by the same name that Burton created in 1984, is a parody of Mary Shelley's classic "Frankenstein." It follows the story of Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), a nerdy science enthusiast whose only friend is his dog Sparky. When Sparky is hit by a car, Victor's grief leads him to use a concept he learned from science class to bring his beloved dog back to life.
All is well, until Sparky gets out of the house and fellow classmates learn about the experiment. They all want to re-create it to win an upcoming science fair, leading to a bunch of dead pets coming back to life in monstrous forms. As the pets make their way through the city, causing carnage wherever they go, Victor has to make things right.
The film is less of a horror movie in itself and more of an homage to the horrific creations of movies past. The way the reincarnated characters are so effortlessly brought together, along with numerous pop culture references - you'll smile at a "Goodbye Kitty" gravestone in the pet cemetery and chuckle at an indignant parent's declaration that, "Apparently, Pluto is not good enough to be a planet anymore" - will ensure no adult will fall asleep during this animated adventure.
And if your slightly older kids stick it out for the fun action of the finale, they'll be well rewarded.
As all Disney movies do, this one also has a message, delivered through Victor's science teacher: "Science is not good or bad ... but it can be used both ways. That's why you must be careful."
It also carries a message to society: Embrace science and encourage youth to use their inventiveness and creativity for good causes, lest they find another outlet.
Cast: Voices of Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Charlie Tahan
Theater: (3-D and IMAX) Cinemark Tulsa, AMC Southroads 20 (3-D) Cinemark Broken Arrow, Starworld 20, RiverWalk, Owasso, Sand Springs (2-D) Eton Square
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Rated: PG (for thematic elements, scary images and action)
Quality: (on a scale of zero to four stars)
Original Print Headline: 'Frankenweenie' is fun, quirky
Nour Habib 918-581-8369
Victor Frankenstein, voiced by Charlie Tahan, brings his dog Sparky back from the dead in "Frankenweenie." Disney/Associated Press