Because I blog about my pets, I was invited to a free sneak preview of Frankenweenie. I didn't hesitate for an instant before I accepted because I'd been waiting for a full-length version ever since I saw the short in 1984 at a science fiction convention.
When my husband and I arrived at the theater last night, I was a little concerned when I saw that they were handing out 3-D glasses. My last 3-D experience was pretty miserable, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
I will eliminate any suspense about the viewing experience right now: the 3-D was spectacular. I don't have much to compare it with, but I'd say that stop-motion seems particularly well suited for 3-D and the fact that the movie is in black and white seemed to add to the effect.
One of the coolest things about "Frankenweenie" is that it's filled with overt references to classic black and white horror films. The main character's name is Victor Frankenstein and his classmates look very familiar from the Universal Pictures and Hammer Films canon and they even range into Godzilla movie territory.
The story is about a boy who is inspired by his science teacher (a dead ringer for Vincent Price) to try to reanimate his beloved dead dog, Sparky, Frankenstein's monster style. Even knowing that from the beginning, it's still heartbreaking when poor Sparky meets his initial demise and darned if the poignant moments don't continue throughout the movie. I'm pretty sure every single person in the audience was sniffling and dabbing his or her eyes on the way out of the theater. I know I was and so was my husband.
So obviously the movie has tons of heart and I can forgive it for making most of the "science" a lot more magical than real-life science. The characters are really well rendered, both in their animation and in the voice characterizations. Sparky's animation was particularly convincing—his mannerisms and movements were perfectly doglike.
I really loved the movie and I would see it again and probably buy the DVD to add to my Halloween movie collection alongside "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
Now I'm going to go hug my own pointy-snouted dog.