With Frankenweenie, Tim Burton has clearly come full circle.
The stop-motion short subject was the clip that originally broke Burton through as a director, and many big movies later, he’s finally turned it into a feature. Now the first reviews are coming in, and so far the verdict is very favorable.
Variety termed Frankenweenie a "beautifully designed canine-resurrection saga [that] evinces a level of discipline and artistic coherence missing from the director’s recent live-action efforts." At the same time, The Hollywood Reporter called ‘Weenie a "nominally clever take-off of Frankenstein, it is nonetheless imaginative in a highly familiar and ultimately tedious way."
Like many Burton tales, ‘Weenie takes place in a boring suburbia, and as the Reporter continues, "There’s a palpable sense of Burton’s past catching up with him here" especially with the design of the resurrected pet, who somewhat resembles Edward Scissorhands, another weird goth creature stuck in the suburbs.
Far more enthusiastic is Bloody-Disgusting, which unlike the Reporter, feels that Frankenweenie brought back the Burton of old instead of feeling like a tried retread.
"For the better part of the past decade it had appeared that Tim Burton had lost his mojo," Disgusting noted. But with ‘Weenie, "He delivers an overtly emotional animated film that’s touching…I don’t think think Burton has ever connected with his audience like this."
Meanwhile, IGN wrote that Burton "triumphs with this stop-motion animated film," and that ‘Weenie "is his finest work in years." Indie Wire also called the film “a rousing return to form” for the director, and it’s good to see that Burton is indeed inspired again. At first, I wasn’t sure if returning back to a short subject that’s nearly thirty years old sounded like such a clever idea, but if it’s indeed gotten Burton back in touch with the creative spark, it’s a good thing he took that journey back.
Frankenweenie is due on October 5 with voice performances from Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, and Winona Ryder, among others.