Warning, to avoid spoilers, read no further if you haven’t seen I, Frankenstein. If you’re looking for a Spoiler Free Review Click Here.
Last night I was thrilled to see I, Frankenstein as soon as it came out. I could tell by the panel at SDCC 2013 as well as the trailer, that this movie was going to be one to enjoy on the big screen, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Without giving too much away, I can list three main things that made this movie amazing, especially in the theater.
While my tiny blog can do them little justice, the visuals in this film were perfect for feeling both fantastic and realistic.
My only complaint is compared to the brutal gargoyles, with the exception of Bill Nighy, the demons were visually not as intimidating as I would have expected. This isn’t so much a criticism of the effects used, or their execution, just my impression of them
Also, while it may seem like small potatoes compared to the sweeping views of possession ready corpses, or ascensions & decensions, the wings to cape was my favorite effect, both in terms of concept and execution.
Second is the cast.
Obviously Aaron Eckhart was perfectly cast. Having only seen him in The Dark Night, and Thank You For Smoking, I was initially unsure what to expect from Eckhart. What I’ve seen of him has been witty and charming, and with him as I, Frankenstein‘s leading man, I wondered if they were taking a completely non-traditional route with the Creature or story. Thankfully my concerns were put to rest. Eckhart brings emotion to what is deliberately and arguably a simple character. The creature is an almost-man searching for answers and purpose, and Eckhart was able to pull off the balance between simplicity and hurt, so that the audience could empathize with what would otherwise be a character difficult to empathize with.
The supporting characters of course drove the plot, and were what really brought the story to life. While I feel like had I been in Terra’s (Yvonne Strahovski) shoes, I might have been a bit more freaked out by the events of the movie, her acting was great, and her humorous “Hello” did feel natural in that I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t have felt awkward being introduced to a man that had just crashed through my lab. Also, while this goes without saying Leonore (Miranda Otto) was wonderful, and Bill Nighy, as Prince Naberius stole every scene he was in.
Finally, the third thing wasn’t so much the plot in and of itself, but how it fit with the original story.
The original story of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley focused heavily on Victor, not his creation as well as the issues of the spiritual, not the supernatural. It asked questions about purpose, if a creature has any right to question its creator, and if a creator has any responsibilities for its creation. As a fan of the original story I knew I’d have to have an open mind about any re-imagining.
I, Frankenstein flipped both of these things. The focus was all on the Creature, and his interactions with the supernatural. By doing this the film makers could more delicately ask some of the spiritual questions though. While Gargoyles and Demons have an easy answer to the “What’s my purpose” and “What happens when we die” questions, Adam, left out of humanity, is left searching for answers. The film, in my opinion though hit the nail on the head though when it came to the Creature’s outlook and personality. The only thing I would have changed is mentioning more directly, and earlier in the film why he took the life of Victor’s bride (because Victor Frankenstein had promised a bride, and then after creating her destroyed her out of fear). Doing so would have made the Creature more sympathetic, and better highlighted his deep bitterness and lack of faith in humanity.
All in all I have to give this film a combination of “SO MUCH AWESOME” and “Hmmmm”
If only because I wish that the demons were more frightening than the gargoyles.