I, Frankenstein Review

So I watched I, Frankenstein…

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I remember avoiding this movie when it had its theatrical run because I found its trailer incredibly boring and didn’t really see the point of the story it was trying to tell. Often when I have this feeling about a movie’s trailer, the actual movie ends up being amazing and I regret waiting so long to see it and…this was NOT one of those times.

Okay, basic plot: Dr Victor Frankenstein attempts to play God by re-animating a corpse, Frankenstein succeeds but ends up creating a monster (Aaron Eckhart). Frankenstein’s monster becomes embroiled in a war between The Gargoyles (a subset of angels charged with the protection of Earth) and Demons, villainous creatures set on…actually, I don’t know what they wanna do? The Demons want to kill The Gargoyles and The Gargoyles want to kill The Demons; and both groups want Frankenstein’s monster to join their side.

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This doesn’t feel like a ‘Frankenstein’ movie, the monster depicted in this movie is just too much of a deviation from the original. I can appreciate a fresh take on a well-established character, movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes have shown how much fun it can be to look at a familiar image through a different lens. Now while these movies gave these iconic characters extreme makeovers, they managed to retain the core elements that define the character. Frankenstein’s monster in this movie just feels far too different. He isn’t made from different people’s body parts, he doesn’t have bolts sticking out of his head; he’s a completely different character and never feels like the original monster we know and love.

This movie reminds me a lot of The Priest starring Paul Bettany. Both movies have cool concepts regarding mystical creatures, both have great actors at their helm and both are severely undercooked! It’s really disappointing because (like The Priest) this movie has so many elements that could have been really memorable if they had been properly developed and incorporated in the story. The idea of the gargoyles we see on the tops of buildings actually being angels who wage war against demons from hell is a really cool concept. Unfortunately, instead of the movie focusing on these characters, developing them and making them active participants in the story; the movie relegates them to a faceless gang of warriors who have absolutely no personality. It’s just a wasted opportunity. Another one of these was the idea of Frankenstein’s monster not being some immobile, clunky zombie but a badass, Blade-like, demon-slayer is really innovative; but the movie doesn’t give the character the focus or attention he deserves.

The version of Frankenstein’s monster in this movie is still a mystery to me. His personality is composed entirely of boring and predictable film clichés. He goes from being a villain to an anti-hero to a full-fledged saviour depending on whatever the script’s needs are instead of the character’s actual motivations. There were so many times, during this movie, when I found myself asking, “but why’s he doing that?” or saying, “nothing about what we’ve seen about this person’s character would lead to him acting like this.” You would think with Frankenstein’s monster being the main character in this movie, he would be properly developed; but no, he’s given the same attention and care as an extra walking behind the main character.

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The acting in this movie is actually competent but the poor quality of the script cheapens the actors’ work. Aaron Eckhart does the best he can but you can see that he’s fighting against the poor writing of his character. I’ve heard quite a few people criticise Jai Courtney, saying that he’s too “Jai Courtney” in every role. I’d never really seen the reason for this constant criticism but after seeing his performance in this movie, I finally get it. He’s just so incredibly monotonous and delivers his lines like he thinks he’s in his dressing room and not on camera. Bill Nighy tries to be villainous and menacing and he comes so close to succeeding; but, unfortunately, he can’t break free from the shackles this horrible script has him trapped in.

Not only in this movie’s script poor, it’s also unbelievably unoriginal. I don’t want to spoil anything, in case you hate yourself and still intend on watching this movie; but this movie’s entire plot is stolen from Van Helsing. All that was missing was for Frankenstein’s monster to turn into a werewolf for the finale and then it would have been a carbon copy of Van Helsing. This movie also steals elements of its action and fight sequences from similar films like Blade, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Van Helsing. Unfortunately, the things it rips off were done better in those other movies and the dull recreations I, Frankenstein offers takes the movie from boring to unbearable.

i also don’t understand the point of setting this movie in modern day. It would have been cool if Frankenstein’s monster had been doing things like using an iPhone or Google. If there had been a clear juxtaposition between modern culture and technology against the archaic and ancient feel of this story, this movie could have been really entertaining. Unfortunately – like many things in this movie – the setting isn’t utilised to its full potential and the film suffers as a result.

Overall, this movie is a massive let down. You can see there are so many places where it could have been better and truly entertaining but it never lives up to its potential. I wouldn’t recommend watching this; unless you are having trouble sleeping and have already taken your maximum dose of sleeping pills. 3/10

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2 thoughts on “I, Frankenstein Review

  1. My brother was slated to work with Guillermo del Toro in a Frankenstein reboot. Playing the monster would have been possibly the most defining role of his career, but movies like this one seem to have put the project on the back burner at best. Silently grieving…

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  2. Undercooked is a great way to describe it. I’ve seen Van Helsing, also terrible, but I think this ripped off another movie even mote directly, Underworld. That also involved a war between opposing supernatural factions, with both chasing after the same entity. Then again, I can’t even say ripped off since they have the same writer.

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