Monday, October 8, 2012

Open Letters Monthly: Frankenweenie

When a once-great director's work becomes so reliably mediocre that people stop showing up to the theater, do you really expect them to come back when that same director actually creates something fun? Frankenweenie, the latest animated film from Tim Burton, ended up disappointing at the box office this past weekend, and one has to wonder how strong Burton's brand is outside of his collaborations with Johnny Depp. It doesn't help that Burton has released an uneven batch of films so far this century, from Planet of the Apes to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Alice in Wonderland to Dark Shadows. He hasn't made a truly great film since Big Fish, and even I'll admit that particular title didn't tug the same heartstrings of everyone out there.

But Frankenweenie, Burton's remake of a short film he shot for Disney, is certainly different, if perhaps only because it's a story he's told before. In it, Victor Frankenstein lives with his family in idyllic New Holland. Not the most outgoing young man, Victor's best friend is Sparky, his dog and constant companion. When Sparky is accidentally killed in a car accident, Victor is distraught, unable to let go of his favored buddyt. And so he hatches a plot to revive Sparky, using the methods taught to him my an enigmatic school teacher, and New Holland will never be the same again.

Frankenweenie features the voices of Charlie Tahan, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Atticus Shaffer and Robert Capron.

Click here for the full review at Open Letters Monthly.

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