Poor fall film selection gives rise to hybrid ‘Takenweenie’ anomaly

Jack C. Evans

Imagine yourself in a theater with a ticket to any 8 p.m. movie. Imagine there’s not a single interesting feature showing then. Also, imagine you are Jack C. Evans—and The Bark Online needs its movie reviews. As Editor, it’s your job to go and get them. But do you really want to sit through two arrogantly animated hours of the latest Tim Burton movie? Does the sequel to Taken promise anything more than more Taking? No, and those are basically your options. Yet what if you could see… both? It’s clear what’s going to happen in each, and by alternating theaters at 15-minute intervals, little will be missed. And so, Frankenweenie begins. Then Taken 2, then Frankenweenie, etc. The first thing that’s clear is that they’re not really all that different. Both are movies. Well, here the similarities end, but the point is that the perky boy-and-his-dog tale of paranormal reanimation and the violent father-daughter bonding/abduction flick work well when spliced together. The transitions are a bit forced, yes, but the plot of this Takenweenie concoction is relatively easy to follow. It begins with a young boy enjoying an otherwise-lonely life with faithful dog Sparky. Spoiler alert: Sparky dies. Boy then attempts to piece the grave-decayed bits together and electrify life into his dead pet. A quick jog down the aisles and we find our hero Liam Neeson’s daughter being kidnapped by Albanians. He charges through the narrow alleyways of Istanbul after her captors… when Sparky comes to life… slaughtering several in a taxi chase… and igniting a pet-resurrection fad that gives life to a Godzilla-sized box turtle demon… which shows us all that sometimes you just have to let go. It can be concluded that Frankenweenie was tiresomely cute and Taken 2 infuriatingly predictable (and it should be said that the former’s Godzilla-turtle awakening was considerably more believable that the latter’s scene of a 17-year-old girl expertly drifting a Turkish taxi around the bad guys’ van), but Takenweenie? Takenweenie was great; it had action, tragedy, jokes, Liam Neeson’s accent, puppies, and Albanians. There is little more that can be asked of a single, randomly chosen hybrid movie feature. The timing of alternations could be improved, lest you find yourself watching both the sappy family values-y bits that Taken 2 begins and ends with and the duo of heart-shattering puppy deaths that bookend Frankenweenie (not a spoiler because puppy revival is the theme of the movie—you just never know when it will work!), but it’s otherwise flawless. The unintended advent of Takenweenie that you have just experienced will surely give rise to a new genre like electricity to a stitched terrier. Poor theater offerings have been forever replaced by exciting show-hopping remixes. Try it next time! You know upcoming Django Unchained will want in with The Hobbit and Les Miserables. Madagascar 3 and Silent Hill, anyone? So don’t ever wonder what movie to choose from. Just buy a ticket to whatever’s rated G and make your own. Overall Rating Frankenweenie: 5/10 Overall Rating Taken 2: 4/10 Overall Rating Takenweenie: 9/10 Jack Evans is the Editor-in-Chief of The Bark Online. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.