Based on the graphic novel of the same name, I, Frankenstein basically sets up the Frankenstein monster as an action hero, and yes, it’s as bad as the premise sounds…
The film picks up where the book ends, with Victor Frankenstein pursing the monster into the arctic and consequently freezing to death under the extreme conditions. The monster buries his creator and is left to his own devices. Others in the supernatural world (demons and gargoyle-angels more specifically) discover the monster and begin pursuing him, each for their own reasons. At some point, the hunt for the monster falls apart and we move forward about 200 years to more modern times. Eventually the monster picks a side, gets some nifty weapons and becomes the hunter of those that still pursue him.
The demons are led by Prince Naberius (played by the excellent Bill Nighy) who is determined to unleash his demon army on the world using technology developed by Victor Frankenstein. So there’s a lot going on here but it’s basically an action film with lots of effects and monsters but not a lot of depth. The writing is formulaic and predictable and the dialog is super cliche’ at times. There’s no real character development here, not that a film like this is going to deliver that anyway but it would’ve been helpful to add some depth to the film.
There a plenty of big-budget effects (the film had a 65M budget) but they don’t make up for the bad writing or directing or the gimmicky mechanisms used in the film. One oversight with regard to the effects is that the monster, otherwise known as Adam (played by Aaron Eckhart) doesn’t look very much like a monster. Actually, he looks like an action hero actor with some extra scars. Even when he’s shirtless, he just looks like a dude with some scars. This creature is supposed to be comprised of different body parts from different sources charged by electricity, this incarnation has none of that. Other than the theory of how he was created, there’s nothing here that backs him up as being a monstrous threat.
The actors are ok (Nighy is always good) but noone really jumps out for me as being particularly compelling to watch. Even Aaron Eckhart is ok at best in this film when I’ve seen him turn in much stronger performances. In this film he’s just kind of angry-monster-guy the whole way through not really offering much else to his character’s personality even though he shows a lot of intelligence, so brainless monster doesn’t really apply here. The cast includes Miranda Otto, Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Mahesh Jadu, Caitlin Stasey and Steve Mouzakis.
If you remember the film Van Helsing, this film has a similar vibe although it’s not quite as cheesy but it’s not too far from that either… Ugh, the film tanked in the theaters and it’s pretty evident as to why.
reviewed by Sean McKnight