Director: Tim Burton
Writers: John August, Tim Burton and Leonard Ripps
Cast: Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau, Christopher Lee, Martin Short, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Victor is a sweet, mellow ten-year-old, who doesn’t really have any friends, except for Sparky, and spends most of his time when he’s not at school working on stop motion animation movies starring his dog, Sparky. He has an inspiring science teacher, from whom Victor gets the idea to try to his own secret Frankenstein-style experiment when Sparky dies. It works wonderfully and all is well until some kids at school learn about Sparky and they all try their own versions of Frankenweenie-fying their own dead pets in hopes of winning a science fair. Results may vary.

Victor’s love towards Sparky is very apparent, and Sparky is such an innocent little thing, that it’s hard not to like him. The characterization for Sparky is perfect, having him easily excitable and sweet, but not obnoxious, as dogs can be. This movie should especially hit home for those who’ve previously or currently have/had a dog. The scene where Sparky is hit by a car is heart breaking, and the ending will also stir a lot of emotions in you. Sparky is such a loyal, caring and innocent dog, where anything that happens to him, you immediately begin to empathize.

I’m normally rather hard on Burton, but I’ve got to give him kudos on remaking his early work. Due to the multiple hands on deck, it appears that a lot of character arcs were dropped or spliced together for the sake of a kid-friendly runtime. However, the end result is a wonderful update to a classic tale about a boy and his dog. Sometimes, all that matters is staying focused enough to convey intent and win over kids based on emotion. It’s not the hallmark of adult cinema, but this isn’t a movie for stern adults. It’s an appeal to those of us in the mood of the season that want the ghosts to stay a little longer.



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