Frankenweenie is a 2012 American 3D stop motion animated comedy-horror family film directed by Tim Burton. It is a remake of Burton's 1984 short film of the same name and is a parody of and an homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley's book of the same name. The voice cast includes four actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands); Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas); Martin Short (Mars Attacks!); and Martin Landau (Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow).
Frankenweenie is in black and white. It is also the fourth stop-motion film produced by Burton and the first of those four that is not a musical. In the film, a boy named Victor loses his dog, named Sparky, and uses the power of science to resurrect him.
Frankenweenie, the first black-and-white feature film and the first stop-motion film to be released in IMAX 3D, was released by Walt Disney Pictures on October 5, 2012 and met with positive reviews and moderate box office sales. The film won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film and was nominated for an Academy Award; a Golden Globe; a BAFTA; and an Annie Award for Best Film in each respective animated category.
Young filmmaker and scientist Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) lives with his parents, Edward and Susan Frankenstein (Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara) and his beloved dog, Sparky, in the quiet town of New Holland. Victor's intelligence is recognized by his classmates at school, his somber next-door neighbor, Elsa Van Helsing (Winona Ryder), mischievous, Igor-like Edgar "E" Gore (Atticus Shaffer), obese and gullible Bob (Robert Capron), overconfident Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao), creepy Nassor (also Short), and an eccentric girl nicknamed Weird Girl (also O'Hara), but communicates little with them due to his relationship with his dog. Concerned with his son's isolation, Victor's father encourages him to take up baseball and make achievements outside of science. Victor hits a home run at his first game, but Sparky, pursuing the ball, is struck by a car and killed.
Inspired by his science teacher Mr. Rzykruski's (Martin Landau) demonstration of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, a depressed Victor digs up Sparky's corpse, brings him to his makeshift laboratory in the attic and successfully reanimates him with lightning. Seeing Weird Girl's living cat, Mr. Whiskers, the undead Sparky escapes from the attic and explores the neighborhood. He is recognized by Edgar, who blackmails Victor into teaching him how to raise the dead. The two reanimate a dead goldfish, which turns invisible due to an error with the experiment. Edgar brags about the undead fish to Toshiaki and Bob, which, in panic of losing the upcoming science fair, inspires them to make a rocket out of soda bottles, which causes Bob to break his arm and Mr. Rzykruski to be blamed and fired due to his accused influencing and reviling the townsfolk for questioning his methods when he steps up for self-defense. So, the gym teacher (also O'Hara) replaces Mr. Rzykruski.
Eventually, Edgar's fish disappears when he tries to show it to a skeptical Nassor (who was told by Toshiaki), and when Edgar is confronted by Toshiaki, Nassor and Bob on the baseball field at school, he accidentally reveals Victor's actions, inspiring them to try reanimation themselves. Victor's parents discover Sparky in the attic and are frightened, causing the dog to flee. Victor and his parents search for Sparky while the classmates invade the lab, discovering Victor's reanimation formula. The classmates separately perform their experiments, which go awry and turn the dead animals into monsters — Mr. Whiskers holds a dead bat while it is electrocuted, turning him into a vampire cat; Edgar turns a dead rat he found in the garbage into a wererat; Nassor revives his mummified hamster Colossus; Toshiaki's turtle Shelley is covered in a growth formula and turns into a giant Gamera-like monster; and Bob's Sea-Monkeys grow into amphibious humanoid monsters. The monsters break loose into the town fair where they wreak havoc.
After finding Sparky at the town's pet cemetery, Victor sees the monsters attacking the fair and goes to help his classmates deal with them — the Sea-Monkeys explode after eating salt-covered popcorn, and Colossus is stepped on by Shelley, while the rat and Shelley are returned to their original, deceased forms after being electrocuted. During the chaos, Persephone, Elsa Van Helsing's pet poodle, is grabbed by Mr. Whiskers and carried to the town windmill with Elsa and Victor chasing after. The townsfolk blame Sparky for Elsa's disappearance and chase him to the windmill, which Mayor Burgermeister (also Short) accidentally ignites with his torch. Victor and Sparky enter the burning windmill and rescue Elsa and Persephone, but Victor is trapped inside. Sparky rescues Victor, only to be dragged back inside by Mr. Whiskers. A final confrontation ensues, and just as Mr. Whiskers has Sparky cornered, a flaming piece of wood breaks off and impales him. He gives one dying screech and the windmill collapses on Sparky, killing him again. To reward him for his bravery, the townsfolk gather to revive Sparky with their car batteries, reanimating him once more. Persephone, who has a hair style similar to the Elsa Lanchester's Bride of Frankenstein, comes to Sparky as the two dogs share their love.
- Charlie Tahan as Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who brings his dog (and best friend) Sparky back to life.
- Martin Short as Edward Frankenstein, Victor's father / Nassor, Toshiaki's partner and Victor's other rival-like former enemy, who has a flat head inspired by Frankenstein's monster and whose voice and face resemble that of Boris Karloff / Mr. Bergermeister, the grumpy Mayor of New Holland, the Frankensteins' next-door neighbor and Elsa's uncle; a homage to the villainous Burgermeister Meisterburger from the Rankin/Bass film Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.
- Catherine O'Hara as Susan Frankenstein, Victor's mother / Gym Teacher, an unnamed teacher who replaced Mr. Rzykruski / Weird Girl, an eccentric girl who is one of Victor's classmates and obsessed with the psychic predictions of her cat, Mr. Whiskers
- Martin Landau as Mr. Rzykruski, the eccentric but wise science teacher at Victor's school who speaks in a thick Eastern European accent. His teachings inspire Victor's effort to resurrect Sparky, and he acts as a mentor to Victor. The character was inspired by Burton's childhood icon, Vincent Price.
- Winona Ryder as Elsa van Helsing, a kind next-door neighbor, and one of Victor's classmates.
- Frank Welker as Sparky, Sea Creatures
- Atticus Shaffer as Edgar "E" Gore, a hunch-backed child (inspired by Igor) and one of Victor's classmates. He's the first to know of Victor's success in bringing Sparky back to life.
- Robert Capron as Bob, an obese boy who is one of Victor's classmates.
- Conchata Ferrell as Bob's mother, an obese and stereotypical suburban housewife who dotes upon her son. She believes in the status quo, and that her misguided actions are in Bob's best interest.
- James Hiroyuki Liao as Toshiaki, Victor's rival-like former enemy and one of his classmates.
- Tom Kenny as Fire Chief / Soldier / Townsfolk
- Christopher Lee as Dracula (in stock footage from Horror of Dracula).
- Frankenweenie at the Internet Movie Database