After his stitched-up pet rises from the grave, it sets off a chain reaction of jealous classmates who want to create their own undead menagerie. Soon enough, Victor and Sparky's quiet suburban town turns into the perfect setting for an old-school horror movie filled with chills and thrills.
Burton has had a not-so-great year, thanks to the disappointing summer flick "Dark Shadows." Will this kid-friendly return to his past help him reclaim some of his creative mojo? Moviefone weighs the pros and cons of "Frankenweenie" to find out.
(Warning: Spoilers Below)
Pro: "Frankenweenie" is good. "Dark Shadows" was not good and "Alice in Wonderland" wore out its welcome immediately. It's been awhile since Burton made a movie that didn't feel like it was running on fumes. "Frankenweenie" is cute, clever and a fun Halloween season movie.
Con: It's not "genius-level" Burton. If you're waiting for the director to reinvent his style, you're not going to get it with this movie. He utilizes plenty of his trademark macabre tricks and if that "Tim Burton-y" look is getting on your nerves, "Frankenweenie" probably won't help.
Pro: He finally took a break from working with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. That's got to count for something, right?
Con: The 3D isn't necessary, except for the opening scene. Save yourself from the needlessly expensive surcharge and see it in 2D. The opening scene has a very cute gag involving young Victor's homemade 3D monster movie, but beyond that you're not getting a visual experience that screams "This needs to feel like it's flying at your face!" Additionally, one of 3D's biggest problems is that it mutes the color palette of a film; imagine what it does to a black-and-white picture.
Pro: Ghoulishly fun characters An intimidating science teacher who resemble Vincent Price? A hunchbacked Peter Lorre-esque sidekick named "E" Gore? A Boris Karloff-inspired morbid rival? And we haven't touched upon Weird Girl yet. Victor's little town of New Holland is populated with goofy, visually-distinctive caricatures.
Con: Not doing enough with Winona Ryder as Elsa Van Helsing The only character who gets the short shrift is Victor's quasi-love interest Elsa. It's disappointing that the reunion between the director and his "Beetlejuice"/"Edward Scissorhands" ingenue felt so limited.
Pro: The movie's pro-science stance There's a very funny moment in the movie when Victor's teacher, Mr. Rzykruski, who has been encouraging his scientific endeavors, scolds the townspeople for being afraid of science. It's a sharp piece of satirical writing that seems to have become even more relevant in this day and age.
Con: Someone's probably going to get offended. And it's most likely going to be someone from Fox News.
Pro: This is a classic horror movie fan's dream. "Frankenweenie" is chock full of homages to everything from "The Mummy" to "Godzilla," and the black-and-white cinematography enhances the retro aesthetic. This movie deserves to be added to your annual Halloween playlist.
Con: Sparky's death In just a few short minutes, the movie establishes Sparky as an adorably loyal best friend. So even though we knew it was coming -- and even though we knew he would come back to life -- we couldn't help but get a lump in our throat when he croaks. There's just something about watching man's best friend kick the bucket on screen. We can't bear it!
Related: Tim Burton On Pee-wee Herman, Boris Karloff And Halloween Plans