This 2012 animation isn't quite on a par with Tim Burton's other animated movies, but it was still quite the return to form for the director after the disappointing Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows. It was also a far more personal work for Burton, as a feature-length adaptation of a story he first told in a live-action short film way back in 1984.
Playing on Universal horror iconography to the extent that it's presented in black and white, Frankenweenie re-envisions Victor Frankenstein as a suburban schoolboy who is distraught when his pet dog dies, and endeavours to return him to life via the power of electricity. It's at once an audacious and poignant tale: the loss of a pet is very often the first encounter a child has with death, and in some ways serves as a necessary experience to prepare them for dealing with it in the future.
While the deluge of classic horror references will likely go over the head of most younger viewers, they'll still enjoy the overall spectacle, which is just that bit cute and cartoonish enough to offset the Gothic and tragic elements. It also marks a reunion of sorts for Beetlejuice stars Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder, who are among the voice cast.