Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Superhero Media: I, Frankenstein

Every review and opinion I've managed to find on this film does not have nice things to say, which is actually a bit of a shame as there are some things to recommend it. Sure, I, Frankenstein is not a good film, but it's a fun popcorn, supernatural, action film in the vein of Blade or Underworld and that was enough for me. Also the writers of the film seem to have had a genuine respect for Mary Shelly's seminal novel, with the film taking off from the last chapter of the novel, the monster having the name "Adam" and even a mention of the eels used to generate the electricity (the lightning is a Hollywood addition). The problems really are the poor dialogue and lackluster CGI, more so than the concept. Even talented actors like Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy struggle to make the "grandiose" lines sound like anything other than a teenager's fan fiction. 

The story follows the titular monster as he discovers the existence of demons and their divine opponents, the gargoyles (earthbound guardian angles), the demons want the monster because, without a soul of his own, he's the prefect vessel for a higher-level demon. The Demons plan to capture the monster, figure out how he works and make enough to win their war with the gargoyles; not a brilliant plot, but about on par with similar horror/action/superhero films. There's a copy of Victor Frankenstein's diary rolling around for the sides to fight over and a bunch of disposable characters to provide the monster with some pathos. Probably the most fun I had watching was spotting all of the places they'd filmed in Melbourne, my home town; there is, of course, the Melbourne Uni car park that was featured in Mad Max, several famous laneways and the National Gallery of Victoria masquerading as "Central Station". I actually kind of like the "Central Station" as our main train station (Flinder's Street) is rather iconic and would have planted the film too much in Australia. 

I, Frankenstein features a cameo from Australia's greatest living actor, Bruce Spence, but blink and you'll miss him. In researching this article, I discovered that I, Frankenstein is based on an indy graphic novel which I have never read but would be interested to see if it's better, or at least better written. As DC comics have shown for decades, the idea of the Monster walking around today and being heroic has some potential, it's almost a shame that Universal Studio's "Dark Universe" won't come to pass, I would have liked to see something like that tackle the Modern Prometheus. Not an essential watch, but fun enough whilst painting or whatever.

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