Release Date: April 5th, 2013 MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Frank Lucatuorto Actors: Danielle Argyros, Phillip Daniel, Nick Dillinger, Alan Heyburn, Meghan Lucatuorto
leverly blending Frankenstein with all things Tim Burton, “Amelia” both spoofs the imitable director and creates its own gothic identity. In glorious black and white, Frank Lucatuorto’s film borrows the best bits of Mary Shelley’s premise and adds plenty of humor and not-so-subtle nods to Burton’s renowned style, including his Victorian costuming and distinguished casting choices. Complete with a poetic narration weaving throughout the enchanting visuals, “Amelia” comes alive like few fairy tales do and relates a bittersweet story not unlike a mixture of the best of its inspiration’s canon.
Forlorn clockmaker Ned (Nick Dillinger), dispirited with his recent work, realizes the key to remedying his loneliness is to create his own mechanical dream girl. Gathering old doll parts and enlisting the aid of his wild-eyed, Igor-like assistant Gregory (Phillip Daniel), Ned sets about building the perfect woman, dubbed Amelia (Danielle Argyros). Yet as each successive attempt finds him closer to fulfilling his fantasy, life still eludes his creation. Undaunted, Ned gives half of his own heart to Amelia, finally sparking animation into his beautiful companion. But his happiness steadily turns to despair as Ned begins to doubt how alive his seemingly emotionless automaton truly is.
Chronicled by clever rhymes, the film smartly avoids utilizing spoken words, relying instead on the actors’ expressions and nuances. This is aided by befitting lighting, makeup, photography, editing, and end credit music that are, while derivative (is it a coincidence that the art director’s name is also Burton?), pleasantly appropriate. The lead character is unavoidably reminiscent of Johnny Depp’s styling in both “Alice in Wonderland” and Edward Scissorhands;” sister Mayble (Meghan Lucatuorto) does her best to channel Lydia Deetz of “Beetle Juice;” and the narrator tinkers with a Vincent Price approach. It is of course a tragedy, with a joke of necrophilia, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” title fonts, and the aspirations of replacing humanity with robotic esprit de corps in need of unrequited interestedness – all clocking in at an impressively swift twenty-minute runtime that proves ambition and inspiration trump feature-length filmmaking resources.
– The Massie Twins