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Frankenweenie (3D)


Stars: Voices: Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Ropert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, Christopher Lee

Director: Tim Burton

A brilliant. child-friendly pastiche of the original Frankenstein, made in 3D and stop-motion animation, as young Victor Frankenstein (Tahan), ace science student at his local school, and devastated when his pet bull terrier Sparky is run over and killed, attempts to bring the animal back to life via the wonders of electricity.

It's all here and more: the lightning, and electrical gear in Victor's attic, the hunchback assistant (Edgar rather than Ygor), the kid who looks like Frankenstein's monster, and the girl next door (Ryder), who happens to be called Elsa Van Helsing. There's even a windmill, which blazes in a traditional torchlit finale. Just superb.

Director Burton throws in a few other kids, including a Japanese boy who - as more children get in on Victor's act - brings his pet turtle back to life as Godzilla.

Also worth a mention is the strange girl's cat, Whiskers, who bites a bat as lightning strikes, and turns into an evil bat-moggy. Burton, who's based this on his his own early 1992 featurette of the same name, also finds time for clips of Lee as Dracula on TV, and employs Landau, his Bela Lugosi from Ed Wood, as the voice of the science master who first grips Victor's young imagination.

Hard to overpraise a film that gets everything right; genre fans will lap this up, and just love the moment when a revivified Sparky 'electrifies' the poodle next door, turning her coiffeur into the image of that sported by the Bride of Frankenstein in the classic 1935 sequel.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Black and white.
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Oct 2012