Taken 2 vs. Frankenweenie

Kenny D October 5, 2012 1
Taken 2 vs. Frankenweenie

When mentioning Taken 2 and Frankenweenie in the same sentence you can’t help but combine the names to create the hybrd, TakenWeenie! But we all know that TakenWeenie would be a different kind of movie altogether and most likely not play anywhere outside of seedy theater districts. A friend of the site calls it “The Lorena Bobbitt Story.” Have I talked about TakenWeenie enough? Because I could take it further….

So you have 2 main options for entertainment this weekend. A revamp of an early Tim Burton short or Liam Neeson killing Europeans again. Or you could be smart and see Looper. I’m just saying.

tim burton sucks, tim burton hack, sparky, victor, frankenstein, classic horror
“What, Sparky? We’re in black and white because you’re dreaming right now?”

Many times I have lamented the loss of Tim Burton. No, he’s not dead, but his talent is. It is said that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Burton has taken that to heart and feels the need to compliment himself with every movie. He hit his stride in the late 80’s early 90’s and everything he does now is a pale carbon copy of greatness. Many people shrink when I bring up Tim Burton’s flaws. Tell me, besides Big Fish and Sweeney Todd, what good movies has he made in the past 18 years? I would shower Burton with praises if he announced he was going to direct a straightforward drama or comedy, and without the aid of Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter.

Frankenweenie stretches out the story of Burton’s short of the same name and adds some elements of his other stories, Vincent, for example. It’s the story of a boy, Victor, and his dog, Sparky. Victor lives in the quirky town of New Holland, where there is a lightning storm every night, his classroom if full of what seems to be the lost children of Edgar Allen Poe, and his new science teacher is a dead ringer for Vincent Price.

After Sparky dies, Victor (Frankenstein) brings him back to life using the lightning storm. A patchwork Sparky comes back and is the same lovable dog, but Victor hides him. His classmates, all vying to win first prize at the science fair, learn of his secret and resurrect their former pets. This does not go so well, as their pets become monsters.

This movie falls flat in every way, whether by homage or humor or even story. When Victor’s parents are watching a Christopher Lee Dracula film on TV, it’s not a clever reference, it’s just lazy. There is not one joke in this movie. This movie wants you to laugh at how creepy the kids are, but that doesn’t last long. “Weird Girl” and her poo-premonition cat make you smile, but that’s about it. The best scene depicts the science teacher (voiced by Martin Landau) chiding New Holland’s citizens in the town hall about their close-mindedness about science.

weird girl, bad cat, cat poo, cat dreams, homage, tim burton
“This is how my cat feels about Planet of the Apes.”

The Nightmare Before Christmas¬† is the standard of stop-motion spooky movies. Tim Burton received all of the credit for that one, but it is actually directed by Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach). Tim Burton has proven that he just can’t compete on his own with The Corpse Bride and now Frankenweenie.

This movie is not made for your kids. It’s a little too eerie and far too slow. In fact, literally no thrills happen until the last 20 minutes. Frankenweenie is a miss. Though I’m sure Weird Girl will be all over T-shirts at Hot Topic.

Taken 2
taken movie, taken sequel, taken, hygiene, liam neeson, wash hands
“I have a special set of skills and I didn’t wash my hands in the restroom.”

The first Taken was a complete surprise. Who can forget the trailer where Liam Neeson is threatening his daughter’s kidnappers? Classic. That movie was very, very far from great but it did a lot of things right. I think most people were expecting to see an action movie and instead got a Man on Fire-esque torture interrogation movie involving the underground sex trade. It was a very dark movie that solidified Neeson’s place as a certified bad a$$.

Now we get Taken 2. Yes, taken again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Neeson. I don’t mind seeing Neeson’s character in more elderly adventures but I just wish it was called Vengeance and didn’t center around he and his family being….taken.

Neeson’s daughter is still recovering from her experiences of the first film. She and her mother (Famke Janssen) visit Neeson in Istanbul while he is on a recent security job. All the while, the families of the men he killed from the first movie have sworn revenge on Neeson and his family. Their plan is to kidnap them and bring them to the families of the dead so justice can be brought to Liam. But there’s a problem when you kidnap Liam Neeson and the people he loves….he has a special set of skills. And so on.

The twist with this one, is that the only one who doesn’t get taken is his daughter (Maggie Grace). But everything that made the first movie different from a standard action flick was the dark elements. A man saving his daughter from the criminal underworld is a threatening thought. Neeson shooting people to escape imprisonment is not.

call me maybe, call me meme, taken 2 meme, neeson, liam, badass
Kill her now! Then find Rebecca Black please!!!

Taken 2 is a straight up B movie. If the film was more grainy, it could pass as grindhouse cinema. Neeson can’t be touched by bullets or punches. Not at any point do you worry about his character’s safety. If this movie does well, you can guarantee there will be another sequel. What I would love to see is Liam Neeson kept as a prisoner from the start and someone like Jack Bauer coming to his rescue. Make it happen Hollywood!

Taken 2 is only for action junkies that don’t care about reason or character development. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone in good conscience, but it will make for good background noise when it comes out on video. Don’t take it seriously and it will be redbox worthy.

One Comment »

  1. Sarah October 6, 2012 at 5:03 am -

    I did think it was odd that Tim Burton chose to remake one of his own film shorts. Especially when that film short is unique and charming. Besides that, there isn’t enough plot to flesh out the film to a feature length movie. But you know, I really like Liam Neeson after his aids skit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKTh7zBIcrM This skit just really makes me like the guy.

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