Sunday, July 27, 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014)

While it took a huge beating in terms of reviews and ratings, I, Frankenstein is in actuality a completely watchable and passable movie.  The film takes the classic monster created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein and puts him in modern day in the middle of a feudal battle between demons from hell and gargoyles who are actually protectors from heaven, both clans disguising themselves as humans as they contest for dominion or sanctuary of the human race.  What I really like is that this adaptation takes the approach of having Frankenstein's monster actually speak fluently and have a philosophical and spiritual component to his character.  I'm not saying this movie matches the intellectual and amoral social conflict of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), but it's more interesting than grunts and growls (as great as Boris Karloff was in Universal's Frankenstein films from the 1930s) and allows lead cast Aaron Eckhart to act well as an absurd yet iconic character, and his acting goes a long way to keep the movie afloat amongst a group of relatively flat characters.

The story is that Victor Frankenstein's creation kills his wife Elizabeth and outlives Victor himself.  The monster survives for hundreds of years but is tracked by demons who want to possess his soulless body so they can fill it with their own legion of spirits.  That's the one good plot device that allows for what is essentially Frankenstein meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a dose of Constantine for good measure.   Yvonne Strahovski (the hot Australian from 24: Live Another Day) discovers Dr. Frankenstein's journal and how to create life after the secret was lost since his death.  Demons want the power.  Gargoyles don't want them to have it.  They fight.  The action consists of Buffy-like weapon/hand-to-hand fights on the ground and CGI aerial fights in the sky.  Nothing that special, but it's entertaining.

A great thing about the movie is that it's a modest 92 minutes long.  None of this 165 minute Michael Bay Transformers crap.  I, Frankenstein might be shitty, but it's no bullshit, and that's something worth saying and, amidst a nearly empty Redbox kiosk, something worth watching.

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