Frankenweenie is Fun, Maybe Not for the Really Young

Frankenweenie is beautiful, fun, and full of the things that make Tim Burton great. I greatly enjoyed watching it, especially taking in all of the rich character details. The difficultly was watching over my six year old’s head, as he was watching from my lap, often curled up against me.

In retrospect, the movie wasn’t for him. Nor was is for several of the other little kids in the audience, who – like my son – needed to visit the lobby or the bathroom for a break from the scary movie. The movie is rated PG, so my son’s discomfort was my own fault. Both of my kids have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas and loved it, although I didn’t think about this point until after the Frankenweenie screening, which was that we saw Nightmare from our home, where my son was free to walk around, and play with toys, while also taking in the movie. That’s very different from being in a dark theater with strangers. I’m not saying that six year olds shouldn’t go to see Frankenweenie, but parents should think twice for kids who get scared.

My 9-year-old, too, had moments of being frightened, but at her age, she rolled with it as part of a Halloween movie. Although when my son took over my lap, my daughter moved into his seat, next to me.

The movie has a lesson about science, and how people like the benefits science brings, but not the questions it raises, including a fabulous talk to parents by the science teacher that was the highlight of the movie for me. Not only for me, but for my kids to hear, too. It’s refreshing to have a movie stand up for science.

The unexpected teachable moment revolved around Edgar, who I thought was creepily adorable. On the drive home, both kids asked why he betrayed a promise to Victor, leading into a good talk on his motivations and how some people are so desperate to be liked or accepted, that they’ll do things they shouldn’t.

By the next day, both kids were talking about the movie, retelling the details to friends, and my son was underplaying his fear. If I had to do this again, I’d only have taken my 9 year old to the theater, then let my son watch it later at home, when we eventually buy the DVD. (If The Nightmare Before Christmas is any indication, we’ll watch Frankenweenie every Halloween.) The movie is fairly short at only 87 minutes, making it the perfect kid length.

Watching Frankenweenie is exposing kids to art. It’s not a museum, but that doesn’t make it less of a beautifully creative work. From the music to the art, it’s awesome.

Despite the rough start for my son, I know this is a movie we will watch again.

Disclosure: My family and I attended a Frankenweenie screening courtesy of Disney. No coverage stipulations were given and all opinions are my own.

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