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Frankenweenie | 2012 | PG | - 1.4.2

A young boy scientist in a small-town (voiced by Charlie Tahan) loses his best friend when his dog Sparky (Frank Welker) dies. The boy finds an electrifying way to bring Sparky back, but when the townspeople find out, a pet cemetery releases its dead and chaos ensues. Also with the voices of Martin Landau, Martin Short, Atticus Schaffer, Robert Capron, Wynona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara. Directed by Tim Burton. [1:30]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A man and a woman kiss briefly. Two dolls in a play set kiss. A male dog and a female dog sniff each other's faces and play; later, they touch noses and a small electric spark arcs between them noses. An elementary school girl is interested in a boy in her class, but he avoids her.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - The film is black and white, with many shadows and the dim lighting of 1930s horror classics.
 One character is a grotesque hunchbacked child with buckteeth, another child has a flat-topped head like the Frankenstein monster and he speaks like Peter Lorre while threatening other kids to stay out of his way, and another boy wears a constantly malevolent expression as he frowns and glowers. A dog appears made of sewn-together pieces; some pieces drop off and the dog's human companion sews them back on (all without blood). A girl with huge staring eyes carries a cat with similar eyes everywhere she goes and speaks of bad and good dreams coming true; she carries pieces of facial tissue containing alphabet letters made of cat droppings.
 A boy bats a baseball and his dog follows it into the street; we hear a thud off screen as we see a car driving down the street and we see the car stop as the boy yells "Nooooo" and his parents hold him back from his dog; we hear that the dog died and we see the boy's family put a small wooden box into a hole in the town pet cemetery.
 A boy digs up his dead dog, sews the dog's wounds off-screen and covers him with a blanket; the boy attaches jumper cables to bolts in the dog's neck, raises him by pulleys through an attic skylight where the night sky is full of lightning, he switches on many electrical appliances wired to the dog's body and sends two kites and an umbrella up on cables to catch lightning, and when lightning strikes the dog comes back to life. A dog gets tired and his human companion attaches him to a battery to revive him.
 Children attempt to re-animate animals using jumper cables, kites and lightning and one boy says, "Tonight, we will bring the dead to life": A dead fish is re-animated but is invisible and it casts huge fish-skeleton shadows on walls and bites the finger of one of the kids (we see no blood), children attach jumper cables to kites flying in lightning and then clamp them onto a dead rat, a turtle, a bat, packaged sea monkeys in a swimming pool and a tiny mummy-wrapped animal that crawls out of a mausoleum; when struck by lightning, the rat and turtle become huge (the turtle looks like Godzilla with a shell), the sea monkeys bounce after townspeople while giggling menacingly and trap a man and a woman temporarily in a phone booth (the creatures look like gremlins with frog feet), a cat picks a bat up in its mouth and is electrocuted (it turns black, we see it become a werewolf and it then grows bat wings to become a large hissing bat-cat), and the tiny mummy creature stays small and hisses in its bandages.
 A giant turtle stomps through a town at night and wrecks a carnival after squashing a police car underfoot, and it stands in a puddle of beer and eats a phone booth until a broken electrical box on a pole falls into the liquid and the animal is electrocuted; we see the animal turn black and the shell is shown empty, Sea monkeys eat salted popcorn and explode in a curtain of slime. A tiny mummy creature, urged by its owner to kill a turtle, gets stomped flat by a turtle after it is electrocuted. A huge rat that had been chasing people is electrocuted and becomes a small dead rat.
 A boy falls off a roof after his friend attaches several 2-liter bottles of bubbling fuel of some type to his back; the bubbles escaping the bottles propel him from the roof and he breaks his arm in the fall, and he screams as his mother discovers him lying on the ground, injured. A boy is struck unconscious by a ball during a baseball game but is revived and is not permanently injured. A young girl becomes a carnival queen and must wear a hat with 5 lighted candles that are smoking; she says the hat is not safe and her uncle, the mayor, reminds her of the fire chief standing by (he looks skeletal with tight skin and sunken eyes).
 A woman finds a dog in the attic and screams; the dog becomes frightened, breaks a mirror and a lamp and runs outside. A dog's silhouette behind a sheet on a clothesline scares a woman and she screams. A teacher speaks of angry storms and lightning, shouting BOOM and scaring the children in class, who gasp; then he attaches electric cables to a dead frog and makes its legs jump. A cat with sharp teeth jumps toward the audience from a headstone and hisses. A bug or two crawl out of boxes and across tables in a few scenes.
 Several scenes take place in a pet cemetery late at night during lightning storms; headstones are shown with sculptures of animals, including rabbits, squirrels, turtles and dogs while there are open holes in the ground that are presumed to be graves waiting for pets. A dog finds his grave and goes to sleep on it, where his human companion finds him.
 A man snaps a pair of hedge trimmers in a boy's face. A man backs a woman into a corner and menacingly touches her throat on a TV screen.
 Townspeople gather torches and the mayor shouts to track down a re-animated dog they think killed a missing girl, yelling, "Get the [mild obscenity deleted]!" The mayor of a small town speaks harshly to neighbors, children and pets. A teacher is called to a meeting and blamed for an accident in which a child was injured, whereupon he takes the podium and calls the audience stupid, ignorant and several other names and he is fired; he says he likes to crack open the heads of children (figuratively) to get at their brains to teach them.
 A female poodle sniffs a re-animated dog and accidentally touches a bolt on his neck; she is shocked and thrown back and we see a white streak on both sides of the hair on her head (resembling the Bride of Frankenstein). A man accidentally sets a windmill on fire with his torch.
 A re-animated dog eats a fly that flies out a seam in the dog's neck. A re-animated dog drinks water and it spurts out from a seam in the dog's body. In a science classroom, a skeleton appears briefly in close-up.
 A science fair is announced, with the stipulation that children may not make death rays. A boy makes a short film that includes fake fire (painted cardboard) and a fake-fire breathing dragon.
 A large spitting bat-cat chases a girl and a boy into a burning windmill that begins to collapse with large burning pieces of it falling to the ground until a re-animated dog runs in to save the children: the girl swings to the ground on a rope, while the boy and the bat-cat lie unconscious on the floor inside, the dog pulls the boy out by the shirt collar, but the bat-cat revives and drags the dog back inside as the dog's human companion shouts, we see the windmill burnt down and smoldering as a fireman brings the dog out and lays it on the ground; it is dead until adults attach jumper cables to several cars and the dog and try to charge him up again and is eventually revived.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 1 mild obscenity, 2 mild scatological terms, name-calling (crazy, weird, insane, menace, Mr. Rice Krispy, ignorant, stupid, unenlightened, primitive, witchcraft), stereotypical references to children, parents, German scientists, Asians, the physically challenged, fat people, suburban housewives, small towns, bigots, gym teachers, Asians, 1 religious exclamation.


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SUBSTANCE USE - We see glasses of wine on a table at a family dinner (they are untouched), and small monsters pour beer from a keg and drink it at a carnival and the beer spills into a large puddle.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Science, superstitions, friendship, relationships, people who are different, death of pets, responsibility, love, letting go.

MESSAGE - Science can be used for good or evil.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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