Movie Review: I Frankenstein
Director: Stuart Beattie
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Miranda Otto
Oh boy. Here it is. The first big stinker of 2014. From the bottomless depths of Hollywood. Served right up in the compost pit of movie releases — the dreaded January season. It’s called I Frankenstein and it is a train wreck from start to finish.
The best thing that one can say about I Frankenstein is its mildly meta title. Just like its protagonist, the movie is an ugly stitch-up job of various movie clichés and is a resurrection of a long dead franchise. And like its hero, it even attempts to render something new. It fails at every dramatic turn, falls hard at every storytelling attempt and slips and lands flat on its face at every narrative point.
This is indeed a monstrosity lumbering stupidly, labbering nonsensical drivel, and it will only end up being poked with pitchforks and driven away from screens.
Firstly, I Frankenstein is just a rehash of 2003’s Underworld. Just like in that movie, there are two factions of mythical beasts at work here, and a heroic monster entangled in their crossfire with a soft spot towards humans and the lone mission to save the Earth. Except instead of eye candy like Kate Beckinsale in black leather, you get Aaron Eckhart looking bored and confused and running around from one fake set piece to the next. There’s even Bill Nighy as the beast boss, just to make it crystal clear that there was absolutely no attempt made by the filmmakers to differentiate this film from Underworld.
The battle pitched here is between Gargoyles and Demons, both of which have cool designs, but look terrible because of the low budget awful CGI. Then there’s the terrible dramatic element coming from the chief villain (Miranda Otto) and the scientist-cum-hero-squeeze Terra (Yvonne Strahovski), who predictably holds the key to Frankie’s success.
The fight sequences are cheap looking and the story is woefully predictable, so there’s absolutely nothing to keep you interested. The green screen work is just hilarious at times, bringing back memories of Milla Jovovich’s misbegotten Ultraviolet. It doesn’t help that Miranda Otto hams to the hilt, forcing you digest the fact that this was the same talented actress from Lord of the Rings and The Thin Red Line.
There’s no humour to be found in the film either, it’s extremely serious and hence bizarre to look at. These people actually want you to take them seriously. If the filmmakers had gone the whole hog and cast Govinda as Frankenstein, it could certainly have been a more entertaining movie.