Movie Review: Fankenweenie (2012)

Posted: March 28, 2013 in Drama


Victor (Charlie Tahan)   is a young boy growing up in the suburb of New  Holland, he doesn’t have many friends, except for his dog Sparky.  A neighbor’s cat predicts big things for Victor, and the cat is right.  Victor hits a game winning home run in a Little League game, but while chasing the home run ball onto the street, Victor’s beloved dog, Sparky, is run over by a car.  Victor is inconsolable, even at the zenith of his happiness, Victor faces gut-wrenching sadness.  The next day, however,   Victor learns of the regenerative powers of lightning from his science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski. (Martin Landau) he digs Sparky up from the pet cemetery, hooks him up to some electrodes in his attic, and waits for a lightning strike.  Lightning stikes, and voila, Sparky is back from the dead.

Victor tries to keep his experiment with Sparky a secret, but soon, all his classmates try to bring their deceased pets back to life.  First, Edgar (Atticus Shaffer) learns how to reanimate a fish from Victor, and gossips the results to Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao)  Nassor (Martin Short) and Bob. (Robert Capron)  They reanimate their pets but their experiments go horribly wrong.  Toshiaki’s turtle grows into a dinosaur like monster, Bob’s sea monkeys spread like wildfire and become a nuisance.  Only Nassor’s hamster is not imposing or terrifying in any way.

This is a great movie.  It takes a classic story, and adds modern elements to it, and makes the story as simple and heartfelt as a boy’s love for his dog. It’s classic Tim Burton, a boy, who’s a loner and an outcast finds comfort in science.  There is an element of horror to it, some scenes are dark and foreboding and even scary  for young kids. It’s pretty amazing that Burton can make a black and white animated movie scary.  The black and white animation lends an extra layer of realism and scariness.  Burton even sneaks a moral in about the importance of science and scientists.

There are no real standouts in the acting department, except for Martin Landau who does an incredible job as Mr. Rzykruski, the science teacher who instills a genuine interest for science in his students.  Winona Ryder is ok as the dour Mayor’s daughter, but her character is underdeveloped.


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