I, Frankenstein (2014)

I, Frankenstein (2014)

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L'Oreal. Because he's worth it.
L’Oreal. Because he’s worth it.

Twitter Plot Summary: Picking up after the events of the novel, Frankenstein’s monster becomes embroiled in a fight between Gargoyles and Demons.

Five Point Summary:

1. It’s Alive!
2. Gargoyles VS Demons. Really?
3. Bill Nighy seems to be enjoying himself.
4. So… is she living there? Seems a bit of a dump.
5. Inevitable finale. Inevitable silliness.

As soon as you read that this film is from the producers of the Underworld series, you know pretty much where it’s heading. And that is sadly the case, a combination of bad CGI, superfluous 3D and a story that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. Welcome, one and all, to the world of I, Frankenstein. Picking up from the end of Mary Shelley’s novel, Dr Frankenstein has pursued his creation to the far reaches of the Earth and frozen to death in his hubris. The creature returns his creator to his home intending to bury him, however at that point he is set upon by a gang of demons intent on bringing him to their master, Prince Naberious. Then Adam (as he is shortly named) discovers that there is an ongoing war between Gargoyles and Demons whereby the fate of humanity lies in the balance. Centuries pass and

Whilst it’s always a pleasure to see Yvonne Strahovski, she’s wasted as scientist Terra. Having seen her performance in Chuck (well worth seeing, if you haven’t already), she’s perfectly capable of holding her own in a phsyical confrontation, yet sadly this wasn’t utilised here. Instead she gets to spout a little technobabble and be chased/attacked by demons. Hardly the stuff of legend, it has to be said. Aaron Eckhardt meanwhile does a very good tortured soul performance and is faultless in that respect, although his Batman voice leaves a little to be desired. Bill Nighy on the other hand seems to be the only person actively enjoying himself, ramping up his typical mannerisms to 11 as Naberious.

Bill Nighy. Clearly a villain. He's wearing a suit.
Bill Nighy. Clearly a villain. He’s wearing a suit.

I watched this in 2D despite a 3D option being available. I did consider going for the 3D as it seemed an appropriate film to do so, but in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t. The film is incredibly dark – visually dark, that is – rendering any attempts at 3D almost moot.  There’s also a distinct lack of standout 3D moments, even when watching it in 2D, so it’s no great loss that I didn’t see it in that format. The fact everybody speaks in an English accent is slightly disconcerting at first, but you soon adjust. Years of Hollywood brainwashing has made me expect every British accent to represent a villain, so I was assuming that everybody would turn out to have evil intents. Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case. The biggest problem I had was that there’s no depth to the story nor to the characters beyond Eckhardt’s efforts as the creature. It’s very much a surface level production, all special effects and no heart.

I appreciate what they were trying to do here, but ultimately it’s basic popcorn cinema and nothing more. If perhaps they had gone to the effort of making it a post apocalyptic world instead of shoehorning into our current one then it may have been a better movie. On that note, other than a couple of scenes towards the beginning we don’t see anybody the real world in any capacity – streets are empty, and the carnage ensues without any substantial loss of human life. The story, too, is one we’ve seen loads of times before and it would have been better to focus more on Eckhardt’s creature and his journey of self discovery rather than the epic war between good and evil that rages around him. On a positive note, they didn’t go out of their way to cram in a pointless love story between Adam and Terra, although it was hinted at. Hints are fine, but it would’ve been too much to take it into that territory. Then again, who am I to judge? If you really enjoyed the Underworld films or even, dare I say it, Van Helsing, then you’ll probably love this. For the rest of us, it’s unlikely to have any significant lasting appeal.

Score: 2/5

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