I, Frankenstein

Dir: Stuart Beattie
Star: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto

This noisy and energetic updating follows the story of Frankenstein's monster (Eckhart) after the death of his creator. 200 years later, he's dropped in the middle of a long, ongoing war between angels and devils. The latter us under demon prince Naberius (Nighy), who has figured out that if he can reanimate the dead, all his troops lost over the course of the struggle will be able to come back and possess the soulless vessels so created, giving him a decisive edge. Frankenstein's journal, and his creation, may give him and pet scientist Terra Wade (Strahovski) the knowledge necessary to do just that. The angels, under their queen, Leonore (Otto), have no intention of letting this happen, naming the monster (with a frightening lack of imagination) Adam, and locking him up in their quietly, understated headquarters which no-one would ever notice. Oh, who am I kidding: it's a massive cathedral in the center of town, lit up like a fucking Christmas tree. Though no-one seems to notice, even when it's attacked by swarms of hundreds of demonic entities, or the resulting lightshow which resembles Guy Fawkes night in a Ukrainian arms depot.

Universally panned, I can see why, because "noisy and energetic" certainly doesn't equate to good, with story logic containing massive holes. For instance, the demons have been aware of Adam's existence for 200 years; after all, he dispatched a few of them while burying his maker. But there's no indication Naberius had made any previous effort during those two centuries. to get his hands on this key component. However, with the exception of the gargoyle/angels, which never appear better than mid-budget CGI and lack physical presence, it looks very nice: the backdrop scenery is particularly luscious. Proceedings are also partially redeemed by a better than normal cast for this kind of nonsense. Nighy and Otto deliver their lines with much more weight that they deserve, even extremely cheesy ones such as "I am a demon prince!" However, this is little more than an Underworld knockoff [and there are some common hands at work here], with Frankenstein's monster thrown into the mix, because... reasons? And a stitched-together Eckhart represents a fairly-poor substitute for a PVC-clad Kate Beckinsale.

[February 2015]

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