I, Frankenstein (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/01/2014

One out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Dreadful fantasy thriller that's let down by a derivative, badly written script, dodgy special effects, poor pacing, dismal dialogue and a dull central performance from Eckhart.

What's it all about?
Directed by Stuart Beattie and based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, I, Frankenstein (sadly, the I doesn't stand for Ian) stars Aaron Eckhart as Frankenstein's monster, who's still roaming the earth some 200 years after murdering his creator, mad scientist Victor (Aden Young). When two demons try to kill him, Frankenstein is rescued by a pair of gargoyles and taken to meet Leonore (Miranda Otto), High Queen of the Gargoyle Order, who explains that there is a centuries-old war between the gargoyles and an army of demons led by Naberius (Bill Nighy).

On top of that, Frankenstein discovers that Naberius is after Victor's journal, which will unlock the secrets of creating an army of zombies from the human corpses they've been harvesting. Meanwhile, Frankenstein is torn between agonising over whether or not he has a soul and sparking a connection with Terra (Yvonne Strahovski), Naberius' oblivious human scientist, who seems rather keen on him, perhaps because of his rippling 200 year old undead abs.

The Bad
There's so much that's wrong with I, Frankenstein that it's difficult to know where to start, but one of the biggest problems is that there's no sense of who Frankenstein actually is - consequently there's nothing to Eckhart's performance outside of monosyllabic growling, a few facial scars, a large pair of boots and a disconcerting amount of eye shadow. The supporting cast don't fare much better - Bill Nighy gamely goes through the motions, but you can tell he's thinking of the paycheque, while Miranda Otto and Yvonne Strahovski both do the best they can but are saddled with dismal, exposition-heavy dialogue.

Given that I, Frankenstein shares producers, a writer and an actor with the Underworld franchise, it's perhaps no surprise that it resembles those films so closely, but this backfires badly because it feels completely derivative (there's never any suggestion that it's actually the same universe), as if someone had just crossed out "vampires" and "werewolves" and written "gargoyles" and "demons" instead. On top of that, the CGI effects are extremely dodgy throughout (they look like draft versions for a video game) and the poorly directed fight scenes essentially amount to various badly designed CGI creatures hurling other badly designed CGI creatures at or through walls.

The Worse
However, the worst thing about the film is that it's just so damn boring, flitting from soporific, lengthy exposition sequence to tedious fight sequence and back, ad infinitum, till the credits roll. Worse, there's no attempt at humour in the dialogue, which instantly renders all the performances intentionally po-faced - it's fair to say that the odd wisecrack here and there would have gone a long way.

Worth seeing?
I, Frankenstein is a thoroughly dismal 92 minutes that lacks anything even remotely resembling a sense of fun. Avoid.

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Content updated: 19/09/2018 20:12

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