So I watched Victor Frankenstein…
I think in the same way that we’ve earned a reprieve from Zombie and Vampire movies, Hollywood needs to give us a break from Frankenstein movies. First it was 2014’s horrendous I,Frankenstein and now 2015 has given us another horrid Frankenstein story in the form of this film.
Okay, basic plot: while searching a travelling circus for animal parts to use in his experiments, medical student, Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) comes across a rather intelligent hunchback clown (Daniel Radcliffe). After seeing the hunchback’s unexpected medical expertise, Victor decides to free him from the circus. Victor takes him back to his home which also serves as the laboratory where he conducts his experiments. Victor is on the threshold of groundbreaking research that will forever skew the line between life and death. With the hunchback’s help (who he know calls Igor), Victor sets about attempting to reanimate deceased tissue. He originally sets out to restore the beauty of life in death; but he and Igor create something that was better left dead.
This movie is horribly disorganised. It’s technically classified as a science fiction action horror – wow, that’s three different genres; that makes its failure to conform to any of these genres rather impressive. This movie is a comedy. No wait, it’s a failed comedy. Actually it’s a parody. Wait, a failed parody – there we go, that’s the proper classification. It feels like the people who made this movie did so with the express intention of producing a spoof of 1994’s Marry Shelly’s Frankenstein. This movie is goofy and comical, and there are parts where I was wondering why they didn’t just make it into an animated feature because it’s so ridiculous at times. I laughed several times throughout this movie but not at the actual moments of humour but rather at the deep and constant failure this film experiences whenever it tries to be serious.
This film is completely lacking substance. There’s nothing at stake, there’s no story being told. This movie is simply a series of gags strung together; which would be fine, if it was actually trying to be a comedy. The sad part is this film thinks it’s serious and telling a worthwhile story. This film’s premise did intrigue me – the idea of a movie focused on the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his faithful assistant, Igor, is uncharted territory and this excited me. Unfortunately this film never quite delivers the story that it promises. It doesn’t give you a meaty depiction of the friendship between Victor and Igor nor does it provide much insight into the character of Victor himself. The two are friends because the script says so and Victor is who he is because…well…the script said so. The two leads (but in truth everyone in this movie) never like real characters. They’re bumbling buffoons who have no identity outside the words on the script.
I think Daniel Radcliffe is an actor with some potential who could parlay his childhood success into a solid career as a leading man; but he can’t do it with performances like this. There wasn’t a point in this movie where I felt like he was actually acting. It felt like he was being himself and simply reciting the script. You don’t feel his presence or that he’s moulded the character at all – it’s bland and completely lacking. Now, James McAvoy takes the opposite approach and overacts the hell out of this role. Everything about his performance is exaggerated and over-the-top. It’s almost as if there was a quota of ‘acting substance’ made available in this film and McAvoy took it all for himself and left Radcliffe nothing. These are two talented actors but this movie’s a throwaway for both of them.
This film’s plot is also unbelievably cliché and unimagined. You know when you describe a character to someone and you say things like, “oh, he’s the bad guy,” or “he’s the good guy” or “she’s the good guy’s girl”. It’s the most basest quality of each character and is devoid of any real detail or spirit – I’m 100% sure that’s how much effort screenwriter – Max Landis – put into creating these characters. They’re one-dimensional, unremarkable and every action they take is done so in the most cliché and ludicrous way possible. This is the second Max Landis film that I’ve seen (the first being American Ultra) and I’m not a big fan of either. He has great imagination but he often makes things too ridiculous to a point where they seem goofy and stupid.
Overall, Victor Frankenstein is probably one of the worst comedies I’ve seen in a while. Everything in this movie feels like it’s out of The Big Book of Film Cliches and the acting isn’t much better. This film isn’t worth watching unless you plan on playing a drinking game to it.2/10