Review: Frankenweenie (2012)

frankenweenie poster

“Science is not good or bad, Victor. But it can be used both ways. That is why you must always be careful.”
– Mr Rzykruski

Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a young genius – a scientist and a filmmaker to boot. He is a little odd and his only friend is his dog, Sparky, which worries his holiday salesman father Edward (Martin Short). His mother Susan (Catherina O’Hara) is very supportive of Victor, no matter how things are for him. At school they get a new science teacher, Mr Rzykruski (Martin Landau), who instantaneously captures the minds of his ward. He is just a little bit off of his rocker and looks like Vincent Price – what’s not to love? He sets forth a science fair, and Victor is in demand with creepy Edgar “E” Gore (Atticus Schaffer), who wants to work with Victor.

frankenweenie classmates

“Ladies and gentlemen. I think the confusion here is that you are all very ignorant. Is that right word, ignorant? I mean stupid, primitive,unenlightened.” – Mr Rzykruski

Victor approaches his parents to parents to sign his permission slip, and his father meets him halfway. He will sign it if Victor tries baseball. Victor eventually gives in and tries out baseball. Weird Girl (Catherine O’Hara) tells Victor that her cat dreamed about him and that it signified something big happening. Victor brushes this off, but his heart is shattered at the baseball game when Sparky chases after the ball and gets killed by a car. Victor slips into a deep depression, and nothing seems to pull him from it. One day in class, however, Mr Rzykruski demonstrates the effects of electricity on a dead frog, and Victor hurriedly creates and conducts his own experiment on Sparky after having brought him back from the cemetery. Miraculously, Sparky recovers, but now Victor has to keep him a secret.

frankenweenie frankenstein family

“When you lose someone you love they move into a special place in your heart.” – Mrs Frankenstein

After a dash out one day, Edgar sees Sparky, and meets up with Victor and threatens to spread the word of Sparky’s being alive if he does not tell him how he did it, or show him. Picking up a dead fish, he returns to Victor, who recreates the experiment. Instead of just coming back to life, the fish is also invisible. Soon competitive class members Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao), Bob (Robert Capron), Nassor (Martin Short) and Weird Girl all want in on the experiment to win the science fair. Instead things go horribly wrong, and their deceased pets are brought back as monsters that need to be sorted out.


“Your dog is alive!” – Edgar “E” Gore

Will Victor be able to save the town? Will the experiments simply come to a conclusion or will they have to be battled? Why is Sparky so different from the others? What are the other classmates prepared to do to figure out how Victor did his experiments, as well as top his to win the science fair?

A 4/10 for Frankenweenie. This was one of my biggest disappointments. I don’t even want to burn my cinema down anymore for not having brought it to us last year (and I was so unhappy that they didn’t). Now I know it took me forever to get to – again, I love animations but getting me to watch one? What a mission. So my afternoon off and all and I wasted it on this?! I was outraged. This was a total desecration of the original, and by the creator no less! That should be unforgivable! Tim Burton really screwed this one up here, and should have left well enough alone. If that was not bad enough, it appeared that the movie ranged from claymation to proper animation, and all I could think is that it was done so in your face, no subtlety. I did like the way it was done in black and white, and there were some distinctly Tim Burton feeling things for this film. There were only a very select few things that worked, but more often than not I was left scratching my head wondering why this was even allowed. I really feel cheated of my off afternoon, and extremely unimpressed with how this went. What can I say? I feel Burton is losing his originality and plot… I cannot think of a good and original thing that he has done recently, and that sucks because I really like his older works!

30 thoughts on “Review: Frankenweenie (2012)

  1. Ouch! I have to say I really liked this one. I loved the animation, the tone, and I felt it had some good laughs. But I think my favorite thing about it were all of the homages to the classic horror films – everything from the Universal monster movies to the 50s creature features. I guess I just really went for it.

    Great review!


  2. Hey there Zoe! I’m glad to be leaving my first comment on your blog. Aside from the first two Batman films that he did, and maybe Beetlejuice, Tim Burton’s films just haven’t been my cup of tea so to speak. I think he could get a lot more love if he would go back to that older craft that he’s known for. I guess we’ll have to see what he’s up to next. Loved the question transition there before you put in your two cents on the film 🙂


    • Why thank you for dropping by and commenting! I really loved Burton’s style, etc. but recently that has been sorely lacking!

      Oh thank you so much! Nobody’s ever said anything about it, have recently started wondering if it works or what, although I wasn’t thinking of changing it!


  3. Good review Zoe. This is what happens when Tim Burton’s head is on straight and it’s a pleasure to watch because of that. However, we all know that it won’t be soon until he’s back hanging out with Johnny Depp, being all weird and such.


  4. I was disappointed with this one too. And I also used to love Burton. But that was years ago now. The sad thing is that this is actually one of the better things he’s made in recent years. 😦


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