It didn’t do especially well at the box office over its opening weekend. Maybe an animated movie in jaw-dropping black and white is a hard sell for kids, but “Frankenweenie” is a movie with a heart, a brain and a funny bone, as well as a deep affection for creature features of old.
Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) doesn’t fit in with the other kids, which is strange because all of the kids, including Victor, are straight out of central casting for mad scientists.
Luckily for Victor, he has his dog, Sparky, to take the edge off his loneliness.
His dad (Martin Short) is concerned with Victor’s solitary ways, and pushes him to play baseball with the other kids. The game goes surprisingly well until it goes horribly wrong.
My kids were shocked and upset when Sparky died, but Victor is a Frankenstein, so I knew what was coming.
Rather, I thought I knew. “Frankenweenie” has moments that anyone familiar with monster movies will recognize, but they happen in unexpected ways. The homage to the “Bride of Frankenstein” is downright precious.
Keep a lookout for numerous sight gags. I particularly liked that “Bambi” is showing at the town cinema while chaos reigns everywhere else. My kids laughed a bunch, and I was only a few giggles behind them.
“Frankenweenie” is a triumph of voice casting. Short and Catherine O’Hara tackle a variety of roles, but they shine as Victor’s caring but not overly protective parents.
Martin Landau is fantastic as the science teacher who inspires Victor’s experiments in dramatic, off-kilter ways.
And I loved Atticus Shaffer’s work as Edgar “E” Gore. Shaffer’s acting combines with the animator’s genius to create a character that is creepy and gross, as well as charming and cute.
If you can get past the jaw-dropping black and white and give this movie a chance, I think it will be a fine addition to your family’s Halloween season. I give “Frankenweenie” an A.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Frankenweenie” a C minus.
“I didn’t love it, but everybody else seemed to.”