I’ll cut to the chase, Tim Burton has done it again. Disney’s Frankenweenie, based on Burton’s previous short film of the same name, opens October 5, and it is a fantastical romp through the stresses, relationships, and learning curve of childhood. At the same time, the film serves as something of an homage to the classic horror film genre and Burton’s own distinguished career (but in a fun and modest way). Frankenweenie is a project of passion for Burton, and you can feel it.
Set in the modest town of New Holland, Frankenweenie tells the story of young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) and his little dog Sparky. They are surrounded by a gallery of eccentric individuals full of small town pride, and, to a lesser extent, blissful ignorance (according to the wonderful speech by science teacher Mr. Rzykruski, voiced perfectly by Mr. Martin Landau).
Mr. Frankenstein urges his son, a science and film fanatic, to go outside and make friends via the team play of organized sport. Victor agrees, and momentarily excels — until the scene we all know is coming: Sparky dies.