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  I, Frankenstein What A Stitch UpBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, Socratis Otto, Aden Young, Caitlin Stasey, Mahesh Jadu, Steve Mouzakis, Nicholas Bell, Deniz Akdeniz, Chris Pang, Kevin Grevioux, Bruce Spence, Virginie Le Brun, Penny Higgs
Genre: Horror, Action
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Over two hundred years ago, the Frankenstein's Monster (Aaron Eckhart) was brought to life by his creator Victor, but the results, a man fashioned from stitched together corpses and shot through with electricity to bring him to consciousness, so horrified Victor that he tried to dump it in a river. However, angered by this rejection the Monster wreaked vengeance upon him and murdered his wife, then chased him north to the Arctic where he caught up with him, finding him frozen to death. Filled with remorse, the creature carried the body back to the Frankenstein family plot and buried him, thinking that would be the end of it, but as he looked up he noticed a couple of mysterious figures advancing...

I, Frankenstein was an attempt to do for the celebrated literary character what all those twenty-first century revivals of vampires and werewolves had done for traditional horror dependables, brought to the screen by some of the team behind the Underworld series who had carried out just that injection of new blood into what might have been tired tropes and clichés. That franchise picked up a cult following among those happy to latch onto the complicated, and to non-initiates pointlessly overinvolved to the point of disinterest, plotlines, and you could tell this particular effort was cut from the same cloth, even if it was not officially part of the Underworld fictional realm.

Nevertheless, there were distinct similarities, mostly in its love of arcane plotting with its secret societies pitted against one another, and the resulting CGI-heavy setpieces where they would play out their differences of opinion with slick, athletic but empty violence. Most of this took place in the present day, after a lengthy prologue which might as well have been a lecture to inform us of what we were dealing with, and featuring some of the worst explanatory narration since Melanie Griffith in Shining Through. The gist of it was, Frankenstein's Monster, or Adam as he is properly called, is doomed to wander the Earth never to die thanks to his lack of soul, not in a James Brown sense but because he has no animating spirit, simply the forward motion through time the initial jolt of electricity offered him.

Now, a bunch of demons from the depths of Hell, six hundred and sixty-six to be exact (aah!) want to inhabit proper bodies and led by Bill Nighy in the guise of Naberius they plan to use the notes in Victor's journal to devise a way of doing so. This will not stand with the angels, so an equal amount of them (inexplicably in gargoyle guise), led by Miranda Otto as Leonore, are out to stop the demons in their tracks with a load of computery-fiery effects as each meet their demises, though Adam is not hugely keen on either side while recognising the denizens of the netherworld must be prevented from making more mayhem. One odd thing is that we humans remain utterly oblivious to all this, in spite of elaborately staged destruction every five minutes or so, leaving you wondering exactly what we are supposed to think is happening when cars are crushed and buildings collapse.

Needless to say, with lines like "It was just the beginning!", "It ends tonight!" and "Destroy them - destroy them all!" this was not going to win any prizes for originality even bearing in mind they were using a centuries-old Mary Shelley text in a manner that she would likely not have approved of, though doubtlessly she wouldn't have been too keen on The Groovy Ghoulies or Frankie Stein either, which is about the level of this, only stern. Not that Eckhart sported the electrodes through the neck, green skin and flat head of the Boris Karloff classic, all he had were a few scars, making for an incarnation neither brutish and mute nor soul-searching and spiteful, he was just a plot device. A plot device who happened to be the central character, but not much better thought out than that, not even getting love interest in the Sophia Myles-alike lady scientist Yvonne Strahovski, in fact the overall impression all this sound and fury left was very light. Little wonder it failed at the box office: you can play games which have equivalent graphics but more involvement. Noisy music by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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