Dead pet? Just add lightning and get ready for a monster revival. Though too much may turn it into something a bit too big to handle. Enter Frankenweenie 2012, the extended update of Frankenweenie 1984. It had a radical puppet powered bolt crash down to bring it back.
This new version of Frankenweenie is a black and white stop motion movie which tells the tale of Victor and his pet dog Sparky. The rather monstrous looking children in the suburban town of New Holland have that iconic Tim Burton look, and the absence of colour adds atmosphere rather than feeling like a cheap gimmick. The lightning flashes are particular spectacles. It’s visually alive and the tale of Sparky being mowed down by a car then brought back by lightning is a sweet if slightly messed up tale. The tale doesn’t have enough bark to stretch an hour and a half though, and so a story of science and misused powers is bolted on.
This is when the problems begin and the fun and charm is sucked out in place of tired monster set pieces and flat dialogue which exists to point out the obvious to the wee kiddies. No smart jokes are uttered, nothing particularly exciting happens and the whole Victor/Sparky relationship turns to a quiet whine as the competitive kids take over. It makes a point that things shouldn’t be brought back from the grave, except Sparky. Just because. Any lessons built up are tossed away and the film trudges along like the shambling undead it revives.
The first portion of Frankenweenie is an emotional tale of loss and horror homage, told by creepy puppets to a steady pace. Just a shame the shock dug up all the extra bodies no one wants to see.