13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as the original, but not bad
, October 8, 2012
This certainly has been the year for supernaturally-themed animated features. First we had "Paranorman," which I enjoyed very much. Then came "Hotel Transylvania," which has been doing HUGE box-office (but which I never got around to seeing yet, due in part to the fact that I heartily dislike some of the key vocal performers). And now there is "Frankenweenie," which I saw today.
I should state at the outset that I absolutely LOVED the 30-minute black-and-white short "Frankenweenie," which was made nearly thirty years ago. It's just about perfect, and if you haven't seen it yet----by all means check it out at once!
So,I was curious as to how this longer version would compare. I did enjoy it very much, but wasn't quite as thrilled with it as I had hoped to be. In the end, I think that the short version really is the superior film. I think the problem with the remake is that it doesn't really provide any additional character development or depth to the story; the extended length seems mostly to be filler for me. The only sequences added to the new version that I thought added substantially to the story at all, were the scenes with Victor's science teacher. (Though make no mistake, those scenes are marvelous---visually the teacher is a caricature of Vincent Price, and he is voiced by Martin Landau---who of course played Bela Lugosi in Burton's fantastic film "Ed Wood.")
This film really is like old home week as far as the vocal casting is concerned; just about everyone in it has had something to do with previous Burton efforts. The voices are perfect, and the animation very nicely done with a retro look that is perfectly appropriate to the source material. (It doesn't really compare to the fantastic "Paranorman," but then it isn't supposed to.)
So, despite some reservations, I do recommend this as a great way to introduce kids to classic cinema monster mythology. It is PERFECT viewing for the month of October, with Halloween just around the corner. I'm sorry to say that the box office returns have been modest (to put it politely); like "Paranorman," I think this is a film that is likely to appeal to a specialised and limited audience. Though---as this is a black-and-white film that is a homage to the old 1930's Universal horror pictures, it's no surprise that the audience is even more limited than was that of "Paranorman"'s.
(I'll add that I got a kick out of the fact that the character design of the dog is based on the lead in another old animated short, "The Family Dog," which was shown on the series "Amazing Stories" back in the eighties.)
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