Thursday, April 25, 2013

Frankenweenie. B+

In some ways I can understand how some might feel Frankenweenie isn't quite the throwback piece of Tim Burton most critics hailed it to be. Yet it's so much closer than most of what he's been making of late that I'll take this and embrace it, its flaws aside. And in truth, I'm not sure if the old Tim Burton can return. His signature visual style has become almost a gimmick, with big studios embracing it. Can Burton get out of this major studio system? Does he want to, and more importantly, will the studios let him? Frankenweenie was Burton's first original idea in years, and yet it performed dismally at the box office. It's a bit creepy and strange, yet quite mild compared to the PG Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. Those are classic Burton films that I personally don't see the likes of getting put in the mainstream today. Still, as I said, I'll take what I can get. Frankenweenie is quite entertaining, funny, and sad, three adjectives that the movie mostly earns. Only a few times did I feel like the film was getting self-consciously Burton (that is to say, moments in which Burton kept things weird but didn't actually go anywhere new. i.e. the hunchbacked kid). For the most part it moves at a nice slow pace and focuses entirely on childhood life and dogs and science experiments. Those who find the ending rather bombastic should note that before that final twenty minutes this a very slow moving film. Not only did Disney probably demand some climactic action, but the story actually needs it. As for the references, well, they're hidden enough as to not appear too obvious, with the exception of the windmill scene at the end.

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