I, Frankenstein (2014)

I FrankensteinHaving been created and then rejected by Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young), Frankenstein’s monster (Aaron Eckhart) kills his master’s wife (Virginie Le Brun) and leads the man himself into a blizzard where he eventually freezes to death. An anomaly in nature, the creature is sought after by both the forces of heaven and hell, represented on Earth by gargoyles and demons. Sick of being hunted, however, it — named Adam by the gargoyle queen — goes on the offensive, hunting down Naberius (Bill Nighy), a demon-prince masquerading as a businessman who is trying to recreate Frankenstein’s success with the help of scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski), with the aim of reanimating hosts for his demon hordes.

Everything about I, Frankenstein is preposterous; the story of a corpse not only resurrected but made immortal by electric eels, it only gets more ridiculous as good gargoyles and bad businessmonsters battle it out for the future of a city that seems to have a population of about four. Eckhart has clearly taken acting tips from his The Dark Knight co-star, Christian Bale, as he too drolls on in a wearying monotone supposedly indicative of gravitas, this time about how he is a composite of a dozen parts and eight bodies, despite looking for all the world exactly like a bedraggled Harvey Dent. If anything, he seems to have healed a bit since his run in with the Joker.

Billed as being from the producers of Underworld, I, Frankenstein certainly seems to follow in the footsteps of Len Wiseman’s series. Whereas the Underworld franchise had some novelty value (the first film was released years before “vs.” movies became ubiquitous), and featured both Kate Beckinsale in a leather catsuit and some of the best werewolf designs in recent memory, Stuart Beattie’s adaptation of Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel of the same name feels like an unofficial and unwanted spin-off. Substitute vampires for gargoyles, werewolves for demons and Scott Speedman for Aaron Eckhart, and you have I, Frankenstein. What’s more, it even features Bill Nighy in the same role, only with slightly different prosthetics.

And yet, while the acting might be dire, the story absurd and the script humourless, there is the merest trace of a pulse to be found during the action sequences. The CGI is weightless yet workable, and though the practical effects may look like something out of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (circa 1997) the computer-generated elements are almost impressive. A second act attack on the gargoyle’s monastery is surprisingly engaging, with A Good Day To Die Hard‘s Jai Courtney (and an uncanny stone likeness) leading the defense. The souls of slain gargoyles — did I mention how silly the film is? — flare into the clouds, while “descended” demons emit giant fireballs which carry their essence back to hell. Ignore the dialogue and it’s almost entertaining.

I, Frankenstein is not a good movie; it’s dreary, idiotic and derivative, and fails to convince — let alone impress — on any level. Eckhart — who is at times referred to as Frankenstein, to the irritation of anyone even remotely familiar with Mary Shelley’s novel — brings nothing of interest to one of the most fascinating characters in fiction, and looks almost as bored as the audience he is supposed to be engaging with.

1.5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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