This live-action short is a reworking of Universal's Frankenstein, creating a contemporary children's story with the look of a '30s gothic horror film. Shot in black-and-white with a overly booming score by David Newman and Michael Convertino, the all-American story of a boy and his dog is retold as an old horror movie in a mere half-hour. Shelley Duvall plays Victor's (Barret Oliver) mom with the right tone of uneasiness in the palm-treed suburban environment. Director Tim Burton's developing visual style is evident in scenes like Sparky's graveyard and the miniature golf course, both bearing the twisted fences and cartoon landscape that would become his trademark in The Nightmare Before Christmas. For all its morbid subject matter, Frankenweenie still functions as a parable of tolerance for things that are different. Victor's parents are supportive of him, and the angry mob of neighbors realizes that they misjudged poor Sparky based on his appearance. Well-known as the film Disney called "unsuitable for children," the company had no problem granting it a wide release after Burton became popular with Batman, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands.
by Andrea LeVasseur review