Monday, February 03, 2014

I, Frankenstein

Year: 2014
Director: Stuart Beattie
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney

Plot: Frankenstein's monster, after living for 200 years, finds himself caught in a war between the immortal gargoyles and evil demons.

Review: I had already read all the bad reviews that came with this film, and decided to give it a shot anyway. As it turns out, it's not as bad as I feared.

This vastly different take on the Frankenstein story, just like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a different tale of the great president, sees the famous monster wandering the earth after his creator's death. Because he's essentially a dead corpse brought to life, he is of great interest to demons who seek to use him in finding a way to take over the world. The demons are opposed by the gargoyle order (descendants of the archangel Michael), who offer him protection and even name him Adam. Adam however wants no part of their struggle and chooses to be on his own, until we get to the modern era, where the demons are finally close to achieving their goal, and Adam is the last thing they need.

What I like about this film is that it doesn't pretend to be anything more than a CGI filled supernatural action fantasy piece. It doesn't try to be cerebral, it just wants to have some fun, though I do admit the film is almost absent of humour. The script and dialogue is about as corny as a fantasy comic book would be, but the cast makes it work. Stuart Beattie paces the film decently and doesn't stretch it beyond 90 minutes, which is a plus point as it doesn't feel like it overstayed its welcome. The action sequences are quite good, though the ones not affected by CGI are the best, of which sadly is the minority, like the stick fight between Adam and a demon.

Aaron Eckhart should be commended for portraying Adam very convincingly, as in he gives the character believability and soul, even when his lines sound very cliched. It's rather obvious he's given a lot of time and training for the role, so he deserves the credit. Bill Nighy, once again playing the villain he's done a dozen times before, gives demon prince Naberius the presence it needs. Yvonne Strahovski from TV's Chuck gets the damsel role unfortunately. Pity, since we all know from that show that she can kick ass. Miranda Otto and Jai Courtney round out the cast as the gargoyle queen Leonore and her enforcer Gideon respectively, both looking rather confrontational most of the time. Basically the cast is made up of people having trouble getting the top roles in the top movies as of late (and I don't mean that as an insult, rather as a sad matter of fact), but they do make it work.

The film isn't meant to be perfect, it is a fantasy film, I get it. But still, some logic could have been put into the script, like how is it there are no humans around when the two sides go to war? And did the whole story take place in one day? Because I don't recall seeing daylight at all here. And yes, some of the CGI looked shabby, and the dialogue was as I mentioned: corny.

Thing is, this is the kind of film the audience can digest for 90 minutes and forget it later. It's what I expected, and it's what I got. I, Frankenstein could have been much worse, but it's decent entertainment, and I can't fault it for that. If you liked the Underworld films (same producers, and Kevin Grevioux, who acted in those films wrote the graphic novel of this film), you'll like this one too. (3/5)

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