Tim Burton returns to stop-motion animation with "Frankenweenie," the new 3-D horror movie spoof starring the voices of Winona Ryder, Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara.
It follows a young boy named Victor (Charlie Tahan) who loses his beloved dog Sparky. He tries to bring his best pal back to life with a home-made science experiment that results in plenty of unforeseen consequences.
Inspired by "The Bride of Frankenstein" and other classic horror flicks, the black-and-white "Frankenweenie" is aimed at winning over both kids and adults.
Does it work? Many movie reviewers think so. The Frankenstein-inspired story has a favorable 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with some leading critics praising the film for its wit and ability to pay homage to classic horror movies. Still, others thought Burton's latest could have been a little more imaginative.
Here's what they had to say:
Richard Corliss of Time: "This 3-D, black-and-white 'family' comedy is the year's most inventive, endearing animated feature."
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave it three stars: "This isn't one of Burton's best, but it has zealous energy. It might have been too macabre for kids in past, but kids these days, they've seen it all, and the charm of a boy and his dog retains its appeal. I only hope that young Victor doesn't let Sparky lie out in the sun for too long."
Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post: "Designed to appeal to both discriminating adults and older kids, the gorgeous, black-and-white stop-motion film is a fresh, clever and affectionate love letter to classic horror movie."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone: "Only Tim Burton could envision this Frankenstein-inspired tale, and it's a honey, a dark and dazzling spellbinder that scares up laughs and surprising emotion."
Claudia Puig of USA Today: "A beautifully crafted homage to classic horror films, a study of grief and a commentary on the mysteries of science and those who narrow-mindedly fear its advances."
"Frankenweenie" also received some critiques by some critics:
Stephanie Zacharek of NPR: "Burton half succeeds in making this revamped Frankenweenie its own distinctive creature, pieced together from the essential bits of the 29-minute original. But he just doesn't know when to stop, and his overgrown creation gets the better of him."
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter: "Although this nominally clever take-off of Frankenstein, about a boy's successful effort to 're-animate' his late pet dog, is distinctive as the first black-and-white 3D stop-motion animated production of this new three-dimensional era, it is nonetheless imaginative in a highly familiar and ultimately tedious way."