Frankenweenie is a 2012 American 3D stop motion-animated science fiction comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a feature-length remake of Burton's 1984 short film of the same name and is also both a parody of and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley's 1818 book Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The voice cast includes five actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands), Martin Short (Mars Attacks!), Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas), Martin Landau (Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow), and Conchata Farrell (Edward Scissorhands) along with some new voice actors, such as Charlie Tahan and Atticus Shaffer.
In the film, a boy named Victor Frankenstein uses the power of electricity to resurrect his dead Bull Terrier, Sparky, but is then blackmailed by his peers into revealing how they can reanimate their own deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in mayhem. The tongue-in-cheek film contains numerous references and parodies related to the book, past film versions of the book, other literary classics, and other films which Burton has directed.
Frankenweenie, the first black-and-white feature-length film and the first stop-motion film to be released in IMAX 3D, was released in the United States on October 5, 2012 and met with positive reviews and moderate box office returns. 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 Animated Film in each respective category.
Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, lives with his parents and his beloved Bull Terrier dog, Sparky, in the quiet town of New Holland. Victor's intelligence is recognized by his classmates at school, including his somber next-door neighbor, Elsa Van Helsing, the mischievous Edgar "E" Gore, the obese and gullible Bob, the overconfident Toshiaki, the creepy Nassor, and an eccentric girl nicknamed "Weird Girl". Despite their admiration of him, he 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; Sparky, seeing Victor's hit, runs away from the bleachers to pursue the ball, to which he is struck and killed by a car, leaving Victor saddened.
Inspired by his new science teacher Mr. Rzykruski's demonstration of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, Victor digs up Sparky, brings him to his makeshift laboratory in the attic, and successfully reanimates him with a bolt of lightning. Seeing Weird Girl's cat, Mr. Whiskers, the resurrected 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. Together, the two reanimate a dead goldfish which turns invisible due to an error with the experiment. Edgar brags about the fish to his classmates, but when he tries to show it to a skeptical Nassor, it is gone, leading him to speculate that they can only last for a short time. In fear of losing the upcoming science fair, Toshiaki and Bob make a rocket out of soda bottles, which causes Bob to break his arm. Mr. Rzykruski is blamed for the accident and fired. The Gym Teacher replaces him; before Mr. Rzykruski leaves town, he advises Victor to use science wisely.
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. Confronted by his parents, Victor reminds them that if they would, they could bring back Sparky, but they told him while that is true, it's also different since they can't and tell Victor that what he did, bringing back Sparky, was extremely serious, but also understand his desperation to be with Sparky again and decide to help him find his dog. While Victor and his parents search for Sparky, 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, resulting in him becoming a monstrous vampiric feline, 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 Miracle Gro and turns into a Gamera-like monster, and Bob's Sea-Monkeys grow into Gremlin-like amphibious humanoids. 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 heading to the fair and goes with his classmates to help 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 both are electrocuted. During the chaos, Persephone, Elsa's pet poodle, is grabbed by Mr. Whiskers and carried to the town windmill with Elsa and Victor giving pursuit. The townsfolk blame Sparky for Elsa's disappearance and chase him to the windmill, which Elsa's uncle 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, who is fatally impaled by a flaming piece of wood during their confrontation before the windmill collapses on Sparky, killing him again. To reward him for his bravery and saving Victor, the townsfolk gather and revive Sparky with their car batteries. Persephone runs to Sparky and they kiss.