I, Frankenstein is not only dumb movie but worse of all, takes itself far too seriously so you take something that could’ve been a fun little ride into a dark and dank film that instead is forgettable in nearly every regard save for Bill Nighy who is perhaps the only good thing in this mess of a film.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Action
Lionsgate | PG13 – 92 min. – $39.99 | May 13, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Every year there comes a movie that moves and surprises you; I, Frankenstein is one of those films… it’s far dumber than even I anticipated from the crappy trailers. This $65 million movie is heavy on inane action and effects but falls far short in story and genuine-feeling character development.
The movie opens with a quick rundown on the history of Frankenstein’s monster (AARON ECKHART), the killing of Frankenstein’s wife and ultimately, as Frankenstein chases down his abdominal creation through the cold wilderness where the monster is immune to the elements, ultimately dies from exposure.
So he takes the body and buries in Frankenstein’s family plot whereupon he is attacked by a group of demons, attempting to capture him for some unknown reason but ultimately Frankenstein’s monster is saved by Gargoyles who are in fact angels I guess and taken to meet their queen and spiritual leader, Leonore (MIRANDA OTTO). She stops her right-hand guard Gabriel (JAI COURTNEY) from destroying him after looking him in the eyes and believing there is more there than just a monster, and thusly names him “Adam”. In a bit of exposition, Adam gets the lowdown on the ongoing war between the angels and demons, a fight for the saving or destruction of humanity and has hopes that he will join their ranks as he’s seemingly indestructible. However, Adam has an understandable mistrust of humanity thus no skin in the battle to save it, so he goes it alone, though not before procuring a couple blunt objects for his own hunting.
Also should mention that along with Adam, they also find Frankenstein’s personal journal which outlines Adam’s creation and the technical specs. Leonore and her order decide to hide it from him and keep it in a safe place, though we all know this will come into play down the line…
Flash forward a couple hundred years to presumably modern times, and Adam has mostly kept a low profile yet continually hunted by the demons so he decides to take the fight directly to them leading to the death of a civilian which draws Leonore’s ire as she scolds Adam after he’s captured. She considers destroying him as was suggest centuries earlier, but before the decision could be made, the demons, really wanting Adam, attack the angels, in the process Adam is let out to join the malay and in this sequence we see each side take causalities.
In the meantime, we do get to meet our villain for the duration: a demon-prince named Naberius (BILL NIGHY) taking on the mortal persona of billionaire Charles Wessex, who is funding an experiment led by Dr. Terra Wade (YVONNE STRAHOVSKI), who is an innocent in this, unaware of the angel-demonic war, tasked with trying to regenerate the dead. I think you can figure out why Naberius wants Adam so badly.
I, Frankenstein was helmed by Stuart Beattie, who marks his second feature outing following Tomorrow, When the War Began and prior was best known for his scripting on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Despite a relatively healthy $65 million budget – albeit I will give some credit to some of the visual effects which, while hardly amazing, was decent considering the budget – this movie is quite forgettable from the angels vs. demons storyline and the acting by the usually charismatic Aaron Eckhart, not to mention some laughable make-up design that must’ve been culled from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and truly terrible dialogue including the final lines which force feeds us the title…
Now, on the positive front, even if he might’ve been phoning his performance in, Bill Nighy is once again a delight, so there is that, though hardly worth the cost and time investment. If you need some time waster and can nab this for $1 rental, maybe it’s worth checking out but there are so many better options in the fantasy genre. Heck, I might even give more of an advantage to Underworld (Beckinsale + tight PVC outfit, you do the math).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
This release comes with a glossy, semi-reflective slip cover. Inside is an authorization code for the Digital Copy (UV and iTunes) as well as the retail DVD Copy.
Audio Commentaries – Amazingly enough, this movie got two commentaries: 1) Co-Writer/Director Stuart Beattie and 2) Producers Gary Lucchesi and Richard Wright, Executive Producer James McQuaide and Executive Producer/Writer Kevin Grevioux.
The Beattie track is pretty specific taking us through the history of the project and how he became involved before revealing different elements of certain shots while the second track gives more background and specifics on taking the graphic novel into feature film.
Creating a Monster (13:00; HD) looks at the overall creation of the film and includes on-set footage and filmmaker/cast interviews chatting up on the project plus a focus on the make-up design.
Frankenstein’s Creatures (14:18; HD) focuses on the characters that fill this world.
Theatrical Trailer (2:33; HD)
Previews – Daybreakers, Conan the Barbarian, The Crow
2D VIDEO – 5.0/5 | 3D VIDEO – 4.25/5
I, Frankenstein stitches itself together with spare parts including a Blu-ray disc presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here is nothing short than fantastic with sharp detail levels and dark elements, for which there are plenty of scenes to judge, come across quite well showing no obvious signs of artifacting and/or pixilation.
The 3D presentation meanwhile isn’t all together bad with good depth throughout and ghosting seems non-existent. There are many times where the movie throws objects at the viewer and they come across fairly well and although the 3D itself is fine, it’s just a gimmick and doesn’t add much of anything to the entertainment value, just more of the same.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The movie comes with a strong 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, showing off the seemingly infinite number of inane action sequences with a certain robustness and, most importantly, depth, being able to discern various elements coming from the front and rear channels. Dialogue levels are also good which is nice and clear throughout.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, I, Frankenstein is not only dumb movie but worse of all, takes itself far too seriously so you take something that could’ve been a fun little ride into a dark and dank film that instead is forgettable in nearly every regard save for Bill Nighy who is perhaps the only good thing in this mess of a film. The Blu-ray at least offers up a couple decent commentaries, two throwaway featurettes and, best of all, solid audio and video transfers.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.