Frankenweenie (1984) Review
In contrast to the colorful playfulness of your typical Disney picture, lies the work of Tim Burton, who fuses that whimsy with his blend of dark themes, wistful characters, and surrealism. This is certainly seen in his debut film, Frankenweenie.
As the title suggests, this film is a parody of the original Frankenstein, only this time, Victor Frankenstein is a young boy who, grief-stricken, brings his dog, Sparky, back from the dead only for chaos to ensue in the neighborhood.
This film is bursting with references to films and other things, in the script, backgrounds, and even certain shots. Film buffs will enjoy looking to espy all of the subtle nuances, but for the casual viewer, the heart of the film is the affection between Victor and Sparky. Though some of the secondary characters felt wooden at certain points, emotion was palpable, particularly during the final scenes.
The film also touches on existential ideas with its use of death as a plot device. The film should be applauded for its lack of shyness about the somber subject matter. Burton’s narrative brings about the effects death can have on a person, as well as the lust sentient beings must have to become God itself and create life. But it does so in a frolicsome way.
In short, Burton’s first directorial outing uses a quirky story to carry loftier ideas. This is the sort of duality that would go on to become a recognizable characteristic of his work.
Written By: Encyclopediac