With his early live-action short Frankenweenie (1984), Tim Burton paid loving tribute to the classic Universal monster movies and to amateur filmmaking; with this slick feature-length animation he seems to be paying loving tribute to himself. Essentially a greatest hits exercise, it has animated characters resembling those from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, a squeaky suburban setting that recalls Edward Scissorhands, and father-son schmaltz straight out of Big Fish. (Martin Landau, giving voice to one of the characters, even affects a Hungarian accent as he did in Ed Wood.) Missing, however, are the authentic feelings of morbidity and alienation that once made Burton an interesting filmmaker. With the voices of Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, and Winona Ryder.
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