Action / Animation / Comedy / Family / Horror / Sci-Fi


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December 24, 2012 at 02:51 PM



Winona Ryder as Elsa Van Helsing
Christopher Lee as Movie Dracula
Catherine O'Hara as Mrs. Frankenstein / Weird Girl / Gym Teacher
Atticus Shaffer as Edgar 'E' Gore
3D 720p 1080p
1.39 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 27 min
P/S 5 / 5
650.59 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 27 min
P/S 7 / 30
1.10 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 27 min
P/S 24 / 85

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by chaos-rampant 6 / 10

Burton's horror sketchbooks

Burton is a cartoonist. I don't mean this as a putdown. He is at his best in short sketches, and his main talents flow from that: imaginative as a toymaker and has a knack for comedy, both short-term effects, both a matter of tinkering in the small, but he puts his heart to it.

I pass on his big 'storybooks' like Big Fish because layered long-term narrative is another thing altogether. In Burton's case, it is something he stumbled over as the only financially viable format to convey his sketches, so he treats narrative as only the canvas instead of as itself the sculpting matter.

Some of his other cartoons fail to reach me pure, because they are still big and polished studio-work and that all but defeats the intention. This is just the right size, an appendix of sorts to Ed Wood. It is a sketch, his first ever, this time reworked into a feature. And naked enough (no Depp, no Hollywood excess) to see the wirings and so appreciate what he loves about his work.

As you flip through this sketchbook, you will find the following:

The film opens with footage of a young Ed Wood's homemovie shot in his backyard—a giant monster movie, the kind that a kid (who we can presume is Burton) growing up in the 1950's can be expected to admire.

A teacher who looks like Vincent Price and inspires him to perfect his 'science', in the film it is supposed to be real science, but is actually viewed in the context of 1930's horror and Shelley before, a kind of cinematic magic.

This kicks off the Frankenstein story proper with the dog, which includes additional references to both Bride and Son, Mummy and Invisible Man, and the fiery windmill conclusion of the Karloff original. (also reused in Sleepy Hollows)

Eventually, this leads to an actual giant monster movie, where different classmates, essentially using the same 'science' of cinematic magic, bring to life different monsters: one is a Godzilla-type creature (kaiju fans will know it is really Gamera), there are Gremlin- type critters, and a cat-bat creature that I couldn't pinpoint.

So, there you have it: 1930's Universal horror, 1950's sci-fi, 1980's pop Hollywood, all of it sketched here that influenced the man's career.

Typical for Burton: the story goes nowhere, the ending is Disneyfied like the first time, it is fun in short spurts, and he has nicely sketched the world of his childhood, which is my favorite bit here—a clean and modernistic 1950's suburbia as was advertised to housewives of the time, it is amazing some of the textures and light they managed to capture. Stop-motion trumps cg animation in my mind, physical presence carries energy into the eye—this looks so real, it feels like it is taking place down the street from Ed Wood.

Overall, I don't know if releasing this confirms the nagging suspicion that Burton is over and done with as a creative voice and is really scrapping for material, but it is nice to watch, and reminds why he was at one time an interesting guy. What will it take for him to bounce back?

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 8 / 10

Wonderfully Shocking

Greetings again from the darkness. Being a huge fan of Tim Burton's 1984 short of the same title, news of a feature length feature was very exciting. It's obvious from both films that director Tim Burton holds the story and project close to his heart. The obvious guess is that young Victor Frankenstein has much in common with the enigmatic director's childhood experience ... a social misfit who finds joy in less than popular outlets (science, sci-fi, filmmaking).

The story begins simply enough, Victor - a socially inept boy, whose only friend is his loyal dog Sparky, quickly connects with the new science teacher, Mr. Rzykroski (who bears a striking resemblance to the late, great Vincent Price). Victor's parents try to get him more engaged and that leads to a tragic accident that kills Sparky. Victor is heart-broken but his scientific mind leads to a shocking development thanks to a local lightning storm. Soon enough, Sparky is back! Of course, the secret gets out and the Science Fair takes on quite a competitive nature.

Burton really treats the film as an homage to old monster, horror and sci-fi films. We get tributes to Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula (complete with Christopher Lee), Godzilla, Bride of Frankenstein, Gremlins, Jurrassic Park and others I certainly missed on first viewing. But this is so much more. Mr. Rzykroski gives a less than PC speech to the local townspeople, and though it is straight to the point, that point is lost on these fine folks. The importance of science and learning and accepting the differences of others is all touched upon, but not in a preachy way.

The voice work is stellar thanks to Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau and Atticus Shaffer (Brick on "The Middle"). The style and texture of the film is extraordinary. The shadows and lighting provide an atmosphere that adds just enough creepiness. The detail involved with the characters and setting is remarkable for stop-motion animation. Not just that, but how many movies have you seen recently that include a cat-bat, sea monkeys, and a giant turtle? The suburban setting is almost identical to the neighborhood seen in Burton's Edward Scissorhands, just without the 1960's color palette.

This is excellent movie entertainment for adults and children alike. Unfortunately, the black and white presentation has meant a lack of interest from today's kids. Sure it has some darkness to it, but the PG rating means nothing too heavy. This is Tim Burton at his finest ... and without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter! Also, Danny Elfman's score perfectly compliments the story and characters, and stay for the credits to hear a very odd Karen O song.

Reviewed by Mek Torres 7 / 10

Pure Tim Burton

Tim Burton hasn't been making any of his original ideas since 2005. His recent films are adaptations that most of them are not outstanding nor creative like his own stories. Tim Burton's returns to his original roots with this. Frankenweenie is based on a short he made decades ago. He remade it into a full length animated feature film with sheer campiness. It's great when it goes there but when it tries to be emotional, it works in a short while but it is more interested to its craziness and the storyline doesn't know where to go. The director may return to his style but he still has his old flaws.

The concept is fascinating. It sounds like it's going to be a heartwarming family fun film. It obviously tries to capture the old horror movies with black and white. Most of the characters are based on iconic horror movie characters. Tim Burton is always highly imaginative but somehow he's lacking something. In family films, he creates a charming innovation but he couldn't bring enough depth to it. There are things that could have been interesting. This is about a kid who brings his beloved pet back to life. There could have been more genuine cherishing moments of Victor and resurrected Sparky. There are times like that but it immediately skims to the comedy. The storyline doesn't quite know what to do until it hits to the big climax.

The voice performances were good. Martin Landau's is probably the best among them who gratifies and delights his character with his campy accent that reminds you of his role in Ed Wood. The stop-motion animation is simply majestic. The black and white effect makes it a lot more fascinating. The character and monster designs are magnificent. It's wonderful enough as a Tim Burton animated film.

Frankenweenie suffers with the same problem of Edward Scissorhands. Don't get me wrong, Edward Scissorhands is a beautiful film but there is a little depth to its concept and serves an awkward climax leads to an underdeveloped romance. At least there's an endearing performance by Johnny Depp. Frankenweenie is fun but it's kind of empty in the end. It's not bad, it just could have been better. The darkness of the film could have been something affecting instead of an impaled cat. The sad parts seem contrived for the idea's sake. The film messes around the rest of the runtime. I guess the throwbacks and the filmmaking are the only merits of the film. Fans of Tim Burton's dark and crazy vision would enjoy. Since we don't see a lot of stop-motion animation these days, I guess that what makes this appealing. To think about the story, still not satisfying.

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