Rated: PG

Distributed By:

Walt Disney

Directed by:

Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)


Charlie Tahan as Victor; Catherine O'Hara as Mrs. Frankenstein; Martin Short as Mr. Frankenstein; Winona Ryder as Elsa; Martin Landau as Mr. Rzykruski; Atticus Shaffer as Edgar 'E' Gore

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online


Victor Frankenstein loves his dog, Sparky. They run and play and make movies together. Until one day, Sparky runs into the middle of the street and is hit by a car.

Victor is heartbroken. It hurts to lose a pet. But in science class, Victor learns that electricity can cause muscles to move—even recently dead muscles. Before long, Victor digs up Sparky’s body and builds a science lab in the attic. With the help of a supercharged lightning bolt, he shocks Sparky back to life! Well, almost. Sparky wags off body parts when he gets excited, and he needs to be zapped with electricity sometimes to keep up his energy.

Victor keeps his “experiment” hidden in the attic. Once the kids at school find out, they try to bring back their own dead pets. But while the new Sparky acts like he used to, the other animals transform into monsters that terrorize the town.

The film does not suggest that supernatural forces (good or evil) are involved in the process of bringing the dead back to life. It is pure “science.” But then, the kids in this town have an irresponsible understanding of science in the first place—at one point, they jump off a roof with “jetpacks” powered by carbonated water. One boy ends up with his arm in a sling.

The scariest scenes take place off-screen. We don’t see the car hit Sparky, and when Victor stitches him back together, we don’t see anything gory or gross. The resurrection experiment is a lightning bolt-charged sparkfest that sets appliances glowing and zaps the blanket-covered body with a sizzling, smoking blast of electricity.

The monster pets destroy cars, smash buildings and chase after humans. Eventually, the monsters meet a gruesome end—some exploding into globs, others struck by lightning.

Several mentions are made of Sparky's poor bathroom habits. One girl studies her cat’s litter box droppings.

Is this movie too scary for kids? The black-and-white animation and cartoonish characters make it less frightening. Viewers who have lost a dearly-loved pet might cry, but not out of fear. Frankenweenie features director Tim Burton’s usual mix of creepy and sweet. In the end, it comes down to a simple question: If you saw a once-dead dog, wagging its tail and panting happily, would you scream or would you pet it?

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com