This weekend Tim Burton and Disney team-up for "Frankenweenie," a 3D stop-motion animation remake of the director's early short film. In the new movie, the classic tale of "Frankenstein" is given a grade school twist with young Victor Frankenstein, a shy student with a flare for making monster movies and excelling in science class. His best friend in the whole world is none other than his beloved dog Sparky -- but when Sparky is run over in a traffic accident, Victor goes the mad scientist route to bring him back to life.
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!
Edgar 'E' Gore
Elsa Van Helsing
Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein