CATEGORIES Movie NewsGet ready to fall hopelessly in love with a mangled up dead dog named Sparky who's been brought back to life by his grieving young owner, Victor Frankenstein. They're the two stop-motion stars of Tim Burton's charming new film, Frankenweenie.
In any other movie, the antisocial science-loving boy with wild black hair and wide, haunting eyes and his reanimated dog would be unlikely heroes. But in a Burton film, they're right at home. Of course, since it's a Burton film, the other characters aren't exactly jocks and cheerleaders. He has populated the town of New Holland with a cast of wonderfully weird citizens, ranging from a scheming mayor named Burgermeister to a hard-ass gym teacher.
The only "normal" characters in sight are Victor's loving parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein, voiced to perfection by comedy vets Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara. They try to help their grieving son get over Sparky's death, and are appropriately horrified when they discover he's employed a little bit of weird science to bring Sparky back from the grave.
Frankenweenie has a lot more in common with classic Burton flicks like Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands than his more recent ventures like Alice in Wonderland. This isn't surprising, since Burton has had Frankenweenie on the back burner for decades now. In fact, he actually put together a live-action short version of the film in 1984, but he always wanted to develop a stop-motion feature.
I'm glad he finally got the chance to bring his vision for Frankenweenie to fruition. The flick is entertaining, heartwarming and a little bit creepy all at once -- just like Burton's most loved films. He's a master of creating truly memorable characters, and the citizens of New Holland are no exception. Here's a list of our top five favorite Frankenweenie characters (after Victor and Sparky, of course).
1. Weird Girl (Catherine O'Hara). With her bug-eyed stare, creepy monotone and ominous premonitions gleaned from her cat's litter box, Weird Girl is pretty out there even within the context of a Burton film. She and her equally creepy feline companion, Mr. Whiskers, have some of the movie's funniest scenes.
2. Edgar "E" Gore (Atticus Shaffer). Edgar may not look like an average student with his claw-like hands, mangled teeth and hunchback, but chances are we've all known a kid like him at some point. He's the annoying guy who tries to coerce other kids, like poor Victor, into doing things for him, all while messing everything up.
3. Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau). Parents just don't understand Mr. Rzykruski's distinctive teaching style, which is a shame since he's so passionate about imparting his scientific knowledge to the kids. Luckily, Victor has a chance to connect with the imposing science teacher during his brief tenure.
4. Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder). Victor's sweet young neighbor truly understands his devotion to Sparky, because she has a fiercely loyal dog of her own: an impeccably coiffed poodle named Persephone. It's funny that over 20 years after Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, the eternally youthful Ryder can still pull off playing a kid.
5. Nassor (Martin Short). Much like every school has an Edgar, it seems there's always a Nassor type around, too. You know -- the kid who seems much, much older than all the others, and has the ability to talk his peers into almost anything.
'Frankenweenie' opens in theaters on October 5.