Movie Review: FRANKENWEENIE

Release date: October 5, 2012
Directed by: Tim Burton
Screenplay by: John August
Story by: Tim Burton, Leonard Ripps
Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Winona Ryder, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, James Hiroyuki Liao
Rating: PG; Running Time: 87 minutes

In 1984, Tim Burton’s 29-minute live-action film Frankenweenie was paired with the Christmas re-release of Disney’s feature-length Pinocchio. Yet it was scrubbed – and Burton subsequently lost his job – because the film was deemed too intense, with mothers voicing objections that the movie encouraged children to play with electricity. Hold the phone (um, after making sure your hands are dry). On the one paw, Disney promoted its full-length Pinocchio, entailing the kidnapping of children who would be separated from their families forevermore, transformed into donkeys imprisoned in cages, forced to perform back-breaking labor the rest of their equine lives. On the other paw, Disney rejected a sweet little tale about a boy who loved his dead dog so much that he devised a way to bring him back from the grave. What?!? This decision by Disney was about as nonsensical as anything Burton has since devised.

Happily, this is no longer your father’s Disney – and 28 years later, Frankenweenie finds itself ironically reanimated from the dead, morphed into a 3D stop-motion feature, produced and distributed by the very studio that once turned Mr. Burton out on his ear. As the second, 21st century Disney/Burton venture (subsequent to 2010′s Alice in Wonderland), Disney appears enthusiastically on-board — so much so, it allows Burton to transform the studio’s classic on-screen opening logo of Sleeping Beauty’s castle into a creepified black-and-white affair.

The 1984 Tim Burton/Leonard Ripps story about the young, scientifically-astute Victor Frankenstein, intent on retrieving his deceased bull terrier from death, is still very much alive. Expanded to 87 minutes … [for the full review + rating, please click here]

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