Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moonlight Movie Review - FrankenWeenie

Went to the movies yesterday for Tim Burton's latest Magnum Opus,...

Aaaand, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. It wasn't a bad movie, it was okay, it just failed to really draw me in. But, I don't want to get ahead of myself. Here's the plot.

Victor Frankenstein is a little boy in a small town who has a true gift for science and a dog he loves very much. His father wants his son to take an interest in sports too though, and forces Victor to play baseball. This results in a ball in the street and the death of soon-to-be-FrankenWeenie, Sparky. After a lesson in science class about electricity, Victor gets the idea to bring his dog back to life. If this sounds familiar to you, it's probably because this is a remake of a short, live-action film Burton made early in his career. It was aired quite a bit on the Disney Channel back in the day, and it is a bonus feature on the Nightmare Before Christmas blu-ray. I really should pop that in tonight and check the original short out again after seeing this bigscreen remake. Of course, for the purpose of making this film feature-length (87 minutes, anyway; oldschool feature-length), Burton had to enhance the story, bigtime. That basically means taking a cute parody of Frankenstein and adding a lot of filler. That can be okay if the filler is highly entertaining, and it IS entertaining here, and it IS well woven into the story, but overall, the short film seemed more effective. The addition to the feature, basically, is that the other kids in Victor's science class are weird and creepy too, and they are all eager to beat Victor in the upcoming Science Fair, so they spy on him and copy his experiment. Of course, they all get it wrong, resulting in a lot of pets becoming crazy creatures terrorizing the town. After some humor comes from that, we get back to the Frankenweenie story from the original short, in which the town turns on him, and... well, I don't want to spoil the ending for ya.

Yeah, it's not bad at all, I just didn't find it super engaging. Perhaps it would be moreso on a second viewing. To compare this to previous movies I saw, I actually did enjoy ParaNorman more, but both were better than Hotel Transylvania (which I didn't flat out hate...). The characters in FrankenWeenie though, I think I just didn't like most of them. That's probably the difference between this and ParaNorman. I liked the characters in ParaNorman a lot. Maybe not the adults, but the kids/teens that were the focus. I do really appreciate that FrankenWeenie is completely in black and white though, and it's another recent film with great stop-motion animation artistry. I'm wondering though, where are all the new, hand-drawn animated films?!! If stop-motion can make a comeback, where's the next hand-drawn feature?!! If a Moonlight Motel movie ever gets made (if Sandler hasn't submarined that possibility), I hope it will be hand-drawn. Though, I'll take what I can get, ha ha. Anyway, I am willing to recommend this as something good to go see with the spirit of the season in mind, but if you have seen the original short film, you'll probably notice this one's shortcomings more easily. I also did put it to the ultimate movie engagability test by viewing it for the first time at the Drafthouse, ordering and eating dinner and sitting next to the girl of my dreams. That's why I say, I may be more engaged by/focused on it during a second viewing. Ya really gotta try to get there early enough to at least order before the movie starts. But I stand by a rating of --- GOOD, but not great. Kinda what I expected, but I hoped for more.

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