Tim Burton returns to his Disney roots as an animator with the 3D black-and-white stop-motion “Frankenweenie.” John August’s commendable screenplay is based on the original by Lenny Ripps, Burton’s collaborator on the twenty-five-minute short with the same title from 1984. Ten-year-old Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), like the little Burton in real life, makes Super-8 horror movies. His dog Sparky is cast and costumed to play a city-stomping monster. But when a car kills his four-legged pal, Victor can only watch him come back to life on the screen. Then he gets galvanized by a late frog’s leg reflex in science class. Can he re-animate the exhumed corpse of a canine? Flying kites in thunderstorms will channel lightning to re-spark Sparky. Science-fair rules may stipulate “No death rays.” Victor’s competitive classmates conspire to steal his life-giving invention. Classic horror tropes ensue. It is all fun enough but this does lack the macabre idiosyncrasy of Burton’s earlier “Corpse Bride” and “Edward Scissorhands.” Best supporting character is Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau), whose name is pronounced like “Rice Krispie,” a Transylvanian-accented character I wholeheartedly recommend to the National Science Teachers Association for outreach purposes. With the voices of Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, Winona Ryder. 87m. (Bill Stamets)
“Frankenweenie” opens Friday.