Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie: why reviews are subjective, and subjective reviews are good.

Last week I saw Frankenweenie, Tim Burton’s new animated flick about the lengths a boy will go to to keep his pet dog.

It wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it was entertaining. I, however, had a massive emotional response. See, the story is vaguely based on Frankenstein. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not spoiling to say that Victor brings his dog Sparky back to life after he’s hit by a car.

In other news, my twenty year old cat is currently dying of a kidney disease, and I’m very sensitive about it. The vet suggested to me that she might need to be put down. I can’t really cope with the idea of losing my cat that I’ve had since I was six years old. Watching a film about a boy who refuses to let go of his pet really upset me. It made me think about my cat and how I’d do anything to keep her alive and how I’d bring her back to life if it were possible. It made me think about how in the worst case scenario, she’s only got a few more months to live. It made me think about how torn up I know I’m going to be when she does die.

So when Sparky got hit by the car, I cried. When Victor grieved, I grieved. When Sparky risked his second life to save Victor, I bawled. I full-on ugly cried in a cinema filled with children, trying my hardest to keep silent because unless you knew that my cat was dying you’d think I was some weirdo at the cinema who couldn’t control herself.

The huge emotional response I had is entirely subjective. If I’d never had a pet, maybe I wouldn’t have even batted an eye. Maybe I wouldn’t care about some stop-animated dog and his devoted best friend. Maybe I would have left the film going ‘Meh’ instead of agreeing that it was an awesome film.

This is subjectivism. I will tell anyone who wants to listen about the response I had, why I had it, and how the film made me feel. If I was to look at the film objectively, I’d have to ignore the fact that my companion I’ve had for 20 years is dying and this obviously helped me frame the film.

Subjectivity is awesome. This is why the subjective reviews of books are so great. When I read reviews (not of my own work – I don’t do that) I want to know the opinion of the person as an individual. I value their opinion as an individual with a completely different background to me and different tastes in books or films and everything they bring to the book or film. I want the piece of their soul they put into their review when they feel passionately about the work.

If I want objectivity, I will read a review in some boring broadsheet. Those guys are paid to be boring and non-offensive.

UPDATE:

I wrote this post on Friday while I was at work. Today it’s Saturday, and my cat is dead. The end.

 

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5 thoughts on “Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie: why reviews are subjective, and subjective reviews are good.

  1. Belle says:

    So sorry to hear about your cat, Lissa. Losing a pet is incredibly hard, especially one you’ve had for so long. It must have been lovely to have that companionship over the years. Sending you hugs! (and I totally agree with your post, subjectivity in reviews is awesome)

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