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MOVIE REVIEWS: FRANKENWEENIE

October 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The last time we saw Tim Burton’s name in movie reviews, he was being kicked around painfully for a movie that eventually flopped despite the fact that it starred Johnny Depp. But most critics agree that Frankenweenie is no Dark Shadows. In fact, many are suggesting that Burton has come forth with a classic. Amy Biancolli of the San Francisco Chronicle is one of them. She calls it, “pure, retro-cinematic joy … great cinema, good fun, a visual feast for pie-eyed Burton fans.” Certainly it’s a feast for fans of classic cinema (the movie concerns a boy who, using boys, creates a living pet dog, a la Frankenstein). Ty Burr in the Boston Globe praises it as “a marvel to behold” and calls Burton’s tale “immensely pleasurable.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times describes it as “a sweet and creepy homage to classic monster movies.” But Scott acknowledges that he has mixed feelings about the movie overall. “The delights of Frankenweenie are abundant and real. Its opening scenes are beguiling in their strangeness, and its climax is wild and hilarious,” he writes. “But the movie … also feels tame and compromised, a tissue of safe pop-culture allusions rather than an inspired, audacious engagement with older movies.” Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times came away with similar equivocal feelings. “The artistry reaches absolute perfection,” she writes at one point, only to remark later on, “It’s the story that poses some problems.” And Roger Ebert concludes in the Chicago Sun-Times: “This isn’t one of Burton’s best, but it has zealous energy.”