Film Screening 16th February, 2013

Poster for Frankenweenie


7:00 PM, 16th February, 2013

  • PG
  • 87 mins
  • 2012
  • Tim Burton
  • John August
  • Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Martin Landau

I could write this short review: ‘Tim Burton is the director, so you must see the stop-motion animated film Frankenweenie’. But the ANU Film Group ground rules require me to give you more details before ordering you to see Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.

When Tim Burton was a young filmmaker in 1984 he created a shorter live-action version of Frankenweenie for Disney. And Disney fired him, because the conservative powers-that-be thought that the concept was too scary for children. But with Pixar’s John Lasseter now in creative control at Disney, Tim Burton was welcomed back for the 2012 remake.

The not-very-scary PG rating is well-deserved. ANUFG parents should have no hesitation in bringing their children, as gore is totally absent from the film. Furthermore, the child protagonist Victor Frankenstein (Tahan) is consistently depicted as living with loving parents – even when the parents are startled by Victor’s cleverness.

The black-and-white movie is set is the apparently 1950s/1960s idyllic suburb of New Holland. But there is a prophetic cat and a sinister science teacher (Landau) suggesting that strange things might happen…

And there is Sparky, the lovable and loved dog of Victor. If for nothing else, come along to see Sparky.

Richard Hills

Poster for The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas  

8:42 PM, 16th February, 2013

  • G
  • 76 mins
  • 1993
  • Henry Selick
  • Caroline Thompson
  • Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Danny Elfman

Jack Skellington is the ruler of Halloween: every year, without fail, he sets out to give the world the best darned Halloween ever – and by now, he’s bored silly. This mid-eternity crisis coincides with his discovery that there are other kingdoms out there like his, perhaps dozens, and he falls in love with the first one he sets foot in, which happens to be Christmas. He doesn’t quite understand what he sees, but he’s determined to change jobs, and give the world the best darned Christmas ever.

An instant classic from its release in 1993, this film probably managed to appeal simultaneously to two impulses we all feel: we all love Christmas, and we all hate Christmas. On some level we are all entranced by the presents and pine trees and puddings. When Jack goes gaga seeing all this stuff for the first time, so do we. But on some other level, we’re as sick of it as Jack is of Halloween, and some part of our souls would be rather pleased to see a coalition of ghouls and vampires take over for a year.

So our affection and our malicious spite are indulged at the same time, and we walk out grinning. Part of the reason this works so well is that it is presented so well – like a great big black Transylvanian wedding cake, crawling all over with gothic spiders.

Henry Fitzgerald