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I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein: Shallow Reimagining of Literary Classic

  • Aaron EckhartAaron Eckhart...
  • Action & AdventureHorror...
  • Stuart Beattie
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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I, Frankenstein: Shallow Reimagining of Literary Classic

Based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, I, Frankenstein reworks Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale of loneliness and despair into a rather atypical and unsophisticated Hollywood adaptation that drains the soul of what many consider the first example of sci-fi literature.

The story starts off in the late 18th century with a short recap of how scientist, Victor Frankenstein (Young), first begins creating his monster. However, his mighty creation soon turns on his him with disastrous consequences.

Centuries later, the monster, dubbed Adam (Eckhart), is now caught in a century-old battle between the Gargoyles – Goth-like creatures that have descended from heaven – and Demons – metamorphic beings from hell. The Gargoyles, led by queen Leonore (Otto), are keen to offer the troubled monster shelter and use his enormous strength to their advantage. On the other hand, the Demons’ leader, Dark Prince Naberius (Nighy), wants to use Adam in creating his own army of corpses, with the help of a human scientist, Terra (Strahovski).

On the run and desperate to learn more about his painful existence, Adam must choose sides. However, the discovery of Victor’s ancient diary soon sends Naberius and his commander, Zuriel (Otto), on mission out to destroy Adam – and the Gargoyles – once and for all.

Eckhart seems to be a fitting choice for the part of the grunting monster, though the third-rate material doesn’t do him any justice, leaving the actor to spend most of his time lurking in the shadows, looking miserable and shirtless. Nighy, as the big, bad Naberius offers a surprisingly affective performance; however, just like the rest of the supporting cast, which includes Otto as the Gargoyle Queen and Strahovski as the wise scientist and Frankenstein’s love interest, there is nothing striking about the characters, leaving them more as part of the scenery.

Unfortunately, the latest adaptation of Mary Shelly’s classic takes itself a little too seriously with an unnecessarily complicated plot; the script is caught up in a mess of mythical terminology that only serves to confuse.

The special effects are the film’s saving grace and the clever use of CGI is effective enough that plenty can be taken away from its visual style.

In the end, though, the spectacular production design and pretty imagery are not enough to make up for its failings; with gaping plot holes and very little exploration of its titular character, I, Frankenstein does little to channel the tones and themes of the original novel, leaving it somewhat empty and shallow.

Like This? Try

Frankenstein (1931), Underworld film series (2003-2012), Van Helsing (2004)

360 Tip

The first motion picture adaptation of Frankenstein was made in 1910; the whole story was told in exactly 12 minutes. 

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