Parents' Guide to

Frankenweenie

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Burton's creepy young Frankenstein is perfect for tweens.

Movie PG 2012 87 minutes
Frankenweenie Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 4+

weird, a little creepy, but good

I read the other reviews on this site for Frankenweenie before we watched it. I was hesitant because some of the reviews made it sound very violent and scary, but we decided to give it a go because my kids (3.5, 8 and 10) had seen Nightmare Before Christmas, Hotel Transylvania, Corpse Bride and ParaNorman and liked all of those. After watching the movie i could not understand what all the fuss was about! The characters were weird and creepy, but it was so overdone that they were funny, we all just laughed about them while watching the movie. Yes, a dog dies and that's sad, but we have dealt with pet death in our own home before so that wasn't a hard subject. The other animals turn into monsters, but they don't hurt anyone and they're, again, so over the top that they're silly. My 3 year old was slightly scared at a couple points, but she just asked questions and cuddled with me and was fine (note to other parents though - she likes being scared, my older children would not have been ok with this movie at her age as they were more fearful). Overall i think you do need to take your child's personality into account - if they're ok with movies that are a little bit creepy and dark then they'll most likely love this. If they are easily scared or have nightmares, you might want to pass it up.
age 11+

Creepy!

Frankenweenie or bringing Tim Burton's mojo back from the dead In 1984, when Tim Burton worked for Disney made a short film called Frankenweenie, which tells the story of Victor, a boy who after losing his dog Sparky in an accident decides to bring him back to life in the purest Frankenstein style, without considering the consequences this may cause. This work helps us to understand the basics of Burton's thematic and visual style, which became his trademark over the years: dark worlds with isolated and/or solitary characters faced to the reality of the world that confronts or rejects them. It is almost 30 years later and a streak of quite irregular films that Burton returns to his roots and decided to resume the story of Frankenweenie to make an animated feature making use of the stop- motion technique, with which he created some of his best works such as the Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie is no exception, as it represents a return to the best films of Burton. On this occasion the original story remains intact and makes a bigger emphasis on the impact of the resurrection of Sparky among Victor's friends and as they'll try to emulate the feat with catastrophic results for the small town they live in. Likewise, the relationship between Victor and Elsa, her neighbor and school crush is explored, through which a great reference to The Bride of Frankenstein is made, although it'snot the only one, since along the film there are winks to classic monsters movies from the 30's as the Mummy, Creature from Black Lagoon, Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari and even classic monsters like Godzilla. And the film itself is a homage to this cinema being filmed in black and white and with music in perfect tone by Danny Elfman (Burton's closest collaborator). An innate quality of Burton is the skill to create endearing characters out of the dark and grotesque and the best example of it is Sparky, a little dog now part of the most adorable creations on the burtonian universe, and that somehow reflects many of elements or themes that have remained constant in most of Burton's filmography: childhood, loneliness, friendship and a strange fixation with death and what happens after this. Excepting the end that seems to betray the original concept, it is safe to say that Burton needs to do more films like Frankenweenie and much less like Alice in Wonderland.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18 ):
Kids say (48 ):

FRANKENWEENIE was originally a black-and-white short film that Tim Burton directed and released in 1984, and turning it into a feature-length movie was obviously a labor of love for the director. Both an homage to classic monster movies and a tender relationship drama about the love between a boy and his dog, this is a film that works on so many levels. For kids and tweens, there's the basic story of a boy who will stop at nothing to get back his best friend; for young scary-movie buffs and adults, there are countless references to the horror genre that are seamlessly woven into the story.

What's brilliant about Burton is the emotional range his movies portray. Frankenweenie is undoubtedly frightening in parts -- particularly when the resurrected animals are unleashed onto the town festival -- but there's so much humor (a dead pet named "Colussus" turns out to be anything but) and tenderness as well. The tears that young Victor spills over Sparky are genuinely heartfelt, and, for once, Frankenstein doesn't seem like a mad genius -- just a young boy who misses his favorite creature in the world.

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