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Movie Review: 'Frankenweenie' May Be Too Scary for Young Children

The latest animated movie from Tim Burton may frighten children, but adults who like the director's work will enjoy it.

Director Tim Burton has created a different boy-and-his-dog animated movie, expanding on a short he made in 1984.

Victor is a little boy in the town of New Holland who loves science and making monster movies. After his dog Sparky is hit and killed by a car, Victor determines to bring the dog back to life, with a few adjustments. With Frankenstein-like stitching, Sparky escapes from where Victor has hidden him and frightens his friends, neighbors and classmates. 

The characters are voiced by Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan and Atticus Shaffer. Here's what the critics are saying:

Parents need to know that Tim Burton's latest film, Frankenweenie, is being released just in time for the Halloween season -- and, like most of Burton's films (animated or otherwise), it will probably be pretty creepy. The premise about a boy whose dog gets hit by a car could be very upsetting to young or easily frightened kids, and the fact that he then brings the dog back to life in an homage to Frankenstein could be even more so. Burton has crafted his reputation on making dark, quirky films, and Frankenweenie looks to be in the same vein. Common Sense Media

 

And while the stop-motion is fluid and elaborately wrought, the puppets are curiously inexpressive, with fixed faces and huge, unblinking eyes that play well comedically, but rarely convey a sense of emotion or involvement. Only Sparky himself—whose design seems to come from the protagonist of Brad Bird’s “Family Dog,” in yet another reference—is fully emotive. Which leaves Frankenweenie in a strange place, where the director seems to care more about past films than his cast cares about their present. It’s a charming enough set of allusions, but for more than half its length, it doesn’t particularly feel like a film itself. Tasha Robinson

Like the original, this gothic comedy is a gleefully gloomy celebration and takeoff of the 1931 classic, Frankenstein, based on the Mary Shelley book....Distinctively and commandingly black-and-white, this nifty, atmospheric, whimsical little fable does cast a spell, but one which may be a bit too PG-scary for the little ones. True, the first half is pretty close to pure comedy, but the second half goes for the goosebumps and shivers, animated or otherwise. Bill Wine 

I fell hard for Frankenweenie, an extrapolation of a short film Burton made almost 30 years ago, just before he directed Pee-wee's Big Adventure and launched himself. This stop-motion animation film (in black and white) is dazzlingly dark - and darkly comic. Of course it's not funny when young Victor's dog, Sparky, dies early on in Frankenweenie - and I didn't say "spoiler alert" because, well, this is a comedy about a dog brought back from the dead. So the dog has to die. But it's the blend of physical and visual comedy that heightens suspense that makes Frankenweenie soar. It has heart but it's both smart and knowing. Marshall Fine

Frankenweenie is 87 minutes long and is rated PG.

Ready to see Frankenweenie? Head to Hamilton Mill Great Escape 14, 2160 Hamilton Creek Parkway. For more theater information, showtimes and pricing, click here or call 678-482-0624. Click here for Regal Mall of Georgia showtimes.

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