So the thought of him doing the same with a horror homage, buried in a draw from years back, could make you think it’s all a case of been here, seen that.
But he injects enough lively smarts and funnies to keep the stop-motion animated Frankenweenie feeling fresh.
As the title would suggest, this is a Frankenstein-riffing horror, in which lonely schoolboy Victor brings his beloved pet Sparky back to life after he’s run over, only for his lightning-infused science experiments to attract all kinds of unwanted attention from his school’s oddballs and eccentrics.
Burton mines his love of monster movies for a pastiche that will probably go over the heads of non genre fans and kids, too – Godzilla, Gremlins, The Mummy and Frankenstein are all drawn upon at one stage.
It’s the invention with which it is carried off that works, though, as visual gags (an invisible goldfish) mix with winning one liners (“Sometimes adults don’t know what they’re talking about!” Victor’s dad says) in this ‘also available in 3D’ flick.
Burton assembles a voice cast of familiar faces (Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara, Christopher Lee) but manages to make what could have been a by-the-book indulgence trip down memory lane (the black and white palette even works here, underscoring Burton’s kookiness) both contemporary and enjoyable.
Good for: A passion project that works as Burton does ‘Burton’ the best he has in years.
Starring: Charlie Tahan, Martin Short | PG | 87mins