Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Frankenweenie Review

Halloween is a long time over. In fact, we have passed several holidays since then, so you might be wondering what the heck I'm doing watching and reviewing a Halloween movie at this time of year. Well, to be perfectly honest, a big part of it was that I was just curious. The other part of my reasoning is what will make most sense to you and that is the fact that the Academy Awards are this upcoming Sunday, the 24th of February, and Frankenweenie is one of the animated movies that got nominated best animated feature and it was the one movie of the five that I hadn't seen, so in preparation for the Oscars, I checked it out. After watching it I fully believe that it has a good chance of winning the award. However, if it were up to me, I wouldn't even give it the nomination.

Frankenweenie is a stop motion animated movie done by none other than the ever so weird Tim Burton. I don't know what is up with that man's brain, but he always does a pretty good job of weirding me out with his movies. I often, however, am able to deal with his movies' kookiness enough to enjoy it. Thus is the case with his other two stop motion films, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. In checking out Frankenweenie, I was hoping for a similar experience to those two movies, but unfortunately for me that was not the case. I was just completely weirded out and not entertained much at all. It was one of those experiences where when the credits roll, you just wonder to yourself what in the heck just happened in that last hour and a half. Frankenweenie is based off of an animated short of the same name done by the same man, Tim Burton, back in 1984 and you could probably guess what it is about just by the title. It's the story of Frankenstein, but with a dog. This young genius kid loves his dog and when his dog dies, he develops a way to bring him back to life. Well when he does this, you can safely say all hell breaks loose. And I say that in the most literal way possible. This is a Halloween movie. Be creative.

The issues with this movie? Hmmmmm.... where to begin. Let's start with the animation. I usually enjoy stop motion. I think it's a very clever way to do a movie and I applaud it because it is very difficult to pull off. I really enjoy movies like Chicken Run and The Nightmare Before Christmas, especially recent stop motion movies made last year in Pirates! Band of Misfits and ParaNorman. But this one didn't get me. I actually thought the animation wasn't done very well when compared to all the other stop motion movies. Also I didn't care for the story. I don't hate the story of Frankenstein, but Frankenweenie was done very poorly. It was predictable and boring for the first half and way to over the top in terms weirdness in the second half. The people who did the voices sounded like they weren't committed to the movie. The music done by Danny Elfman didn't seem to fit very well. There was just a lot of things I found wrong with this movie and few things that I found that were right.

With all that said, you'll remember that I said this actually has a good shot at winning best animated feature. Why do I say that, despite all bad things I said about it? Well, the Academy is the Academy. This movie is a black and white animated feature that seems to pay homage to the movie business and the Academy loves movies like that. But on a personal level, I would advise you to skip it. If you want to see a stop motion animated Halloween movie that is really good, go check out ParaNorman or even re-watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. I give Frankenweenie a 5 out 10.

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