Today: May 18, 2024
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Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie sees a return to what defined director Tim Burton as an auteur in his earlier films.

Frankenweenie sees a
return to what defined director Tim Burton as an auteur in his earlier films.
Troubled characters with deeply-set,
orb-like eyes, strong themes of loss and remorse that aren’t comforted by warm
colours or talking animals and that distinctive Burton look of rake-thin
figures, looming architecture and a generally angular view of suburban America.
The shift to stop-motion is refreshing; every disjointed movement brings a
flawed quality to sequences that mirror a childish approach to death, grief and
morality.

Another welcome change is the limited dialogue. The
story of a boy who revives his dead pet, Sparky, with startling consequences
doesn’t require any cute jokes or sorrowful monologues and sentences are
rationed to reflect briefly to the situation to
hand.

The concept of first loss is powerful enough a concept
without the shiny features of modern animation. Much as the sound of the
gunshot that kills Bambi’s mother still haunts older generations, the pitiful
site of a sheet draped over the lifeless body of a beloved companion is enough
to trigger a wave of sentiment that resonates with the mournful Victor (Charlie Tahan.)

The events that follow are bittersweet; Victor’s
lightning-fuelled experiment means he gets his best friend back, in a grim,
dropping to pieces kind of way. The ethics behind his rebirth and the actions
of Victor’s jealous schoolmates however, not only leave a great deal of
confusion for Victor but also a terrifying attack of monster pets on his
hometown of New Holland.

Steeped in references to cinematic history, Burton
uses Victor’s love for science and moviemaking to pay homage to Kaiju and
Hammer horror in the same way to J.J.
Abrahms’ Super 8
paid tribute to classic monster movies. Monsters,
though thick on the ground, are the stuff of early nightmares; cats with wings
and fangs, gangly sea monsters, giant turtles and are all delightfully
frightening.

At just 87 minutes this is a snippet of a feature but
with the refined enjoyment and dignified step back to a shakier era of
animation this is a charming and troublesome film perfect for Halloween.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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