MOVIE REVIEWS: TIM BURTON’S DEFT ‘FRANKENWEENIE’
From The Los Angeles Times, 03.06.1992, Home Edition
Playing with Blame It on the Bellboy only at the El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard is Tim Burton’s 29-minute Frankenweenie (1984), which is such an inspired, deft pleasure that it is almost worth the price of admission–almost because of today’s steep ticket prices and because Bellboy is not that good.
Shot in a luminous black-and-white, Frankenweenie anticipates subsequent Burton features–Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands in particular–in its love of the poignancy of old horror movies. Inspired by a school experiment on a frog, a small boy (Barret Oliver) turns the attic of his family’s home into a lab rigged up with household electrical appliances with which he intends to bring his beloved but recently deceased dog Sparky back to life. (It’s not for nothing that his family’s name is Frankenstein.)
Frankenweenie, written by Lenny Ripps from an idea by Burton, is a subtle parable on the fear of the unknown. It has terrific style, an appropriately thunderous score (by Michael Convertino and David Newman) and boasts Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern as the boy’s initially perplexed parents.