Frankenweenie,Madagascar 3

Two films: Frankenweenie, Madagascar 3. Both animations but both quite different.

Frankenweenie was directed by Tim Burton, and you can definitely see his style in it. Stop-motion animation and done in black and white rather than colour (which certainly adds to the atmosphere).

The plot is typical ‘Frankenstein’; young Victor Frankenstein has his pet dog which is killed in a car accident but Victor manages to bring the dog back to life (cue lightning and lots of machines producing big sparks and other electrical effects). Some other school kids discover Victor’s technique and bring back to life a few of their old pets. The repercussions of their actions are then felt by the local town and Victor and his dog (suitably named Sparky) has to sort things out.

Plenty of references to older horror / monster films as well as to a few not so older ones. Gremlins and Godzilla are well represented.

However though there’s plenty of good interaction and character development between Victor and Sparky the whole story-line was just too predictable and simplistic. It really needed a few unexpected twists and turns to add some spice to it, and though it’s classed as a comedy (and does have plenty of funny moments) there are also a few scenes which some younger viewers could find disturbing.

So a film a little too shallow to really keep an adult’s attention, and a few potentially disturbing scenes to upset the younger viewer. Still not a bad film, just not one of Tim Burton’s best.

As for Madagascar 3; I enjoyed the original, plenty for kids and plenty for adults to appreciate too. Madagascar 2 was not too bad, but this third film did not do it for me.¬†Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are not given enough time at the start to really develop their characters before they’re off to join the circus. Then with so many new characters now present everything gets lost in a bit of a character muddle. Having this mass of extra ultra-cute characters is no substitute for proper individual development. Then there’s the rather weak connections between the principle scenes (Africa, Europe and on to America) and it’s only the animal control agent DuBios that gives any continuity to the flow of the action.

The animation was excellent as one would expect from DreamWorks, other than perhaps a few too many 3D effects put in for the sake of 3D rather than enhancing the storyline. Also a few too many musical flicks and a very unnecessary bit of product placement by H.P. for their printers.

A film still good for kids who just want a bit of fun, but unlike the original, one that I will not be bothering to see again.

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