The Grandkids’ Guide to Disney’s ‘Frankenweenie’

Tim Burton’s black-and-white animated film Frankenweenie hits theatres today, and I must say it is a work of art. It stars Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud, I Am Legend) who voices main character Victor Frankenstein, a young science enthusiast whose best friend is his cute and lovable dog, Sparky. The story takes place in New Holland, a quiet and respectable slice of suburbia – until a weird girl comes to Victor with a bad omen. Having doubt about what she claims, he hits a home run at his baseball game only to have Sparky chasing the ball into a street where he is struck by a car. Victor, inspired by his Vincent Price look-alike science teacher, played by Burton favourite Martin Landau, comes up with a plan to resurrect his dog. A pinch of lightning and a hint of wind later, Sparky becomes Frankenweenie. Not long after, the secret gets out and Victor’s classmates – all reminiscent of classically creepy horror show characters such as Pugsley Addams and classic villain-henchman, Igor – try Victor’s experiment on their own dead pets in hopes to win the science fair trophy. But when things go terribly wrong, it’s up to Victor and Frankenweenie to save the town. The reason this movie is so fantastic for grandkids and grandparents alike is Burton’s many references to old horror movies and life in the ’50s and ’60s, complete with stay-at-home moms clad in heels and pearls preparing fondue for dinner. As girl next door, Elsa Van Helsing is Wynona Ryder, star of Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, doing her best dark angst-ridden teenager since her portrayal of Lydia in Burton’s Beetlejuice. Another Beetlejuice alumni, Catherine O’Hara plays Victor’s mom, Mrs. Frankenstein and fellow Canadian, Martin Short joins the cast as Victor’s easygoing dad. It’s out right, all-ages fun. —Maddy Heyes, 15