My Mother has a peculiar habit of walking in the door cradling dreadful movies that she has bought in an attempt to pleasantly surprise me. It’s a nice thought and her taste isn’t especially bad it’s just that the wrong stuff always peaks her interest. First it was “R.I.P.D.”, secondly it was “The Day After tomorrow” and now it is “I, Frankenstein”. As the great prophet Miley Cyrus once said “Everybody makes mistakes”. Good job Miley. Good job.
Back on track, “I, Frankenstein” concerns Frankenstein’s monster (Aaron Eckhart), who is going by the name “Adam” as he did in the original 1818 novel, who is struggling to find out who and what he is. Such a clichéd story should be illegal by this point but we are still stuck with it and the film does it with sub par execution, to say the least. Adam has become embroiled in a war between gargoyles and demons, and he is the catalyst to the demons master plan to possess human corpses in an attempt to re-animate them and create a demon army. bill Nighy plays Naberius, the demon prince who is the mastermind and main antagonist. He is using a scientist, Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski) to discover how exactly to reanimate the corpses, unbeknownst to her of course. It sounds like schlock and that exactly what it is, but it doesn’t even know it’s schlock, and that’s the capital offense here
Aaron Eckhart is clearly working hard with what he’s being given but it’s like he’s trying to build the Taj Mahal out of matchsticks. The main character of Adam is flat out boring and his story is so clichéd and, quite frankly, completely disengaging that it’s impossible to care about his inner struggle. We don’t care as much as Adam apparently does when characters around him alternate between calling him “it” instead of “him”. Considering that’s the sole attempt at, and I use this term warily, character development in the film the fact that it absolutely flops means that their is little left over to enjoy. Frankenstein’s journal is used as an alternative to studying Adam himself so that’s an added dilemma thrown into the mix to create some degree of tension. The characters seem unable to distinguish the journal from a stick of dynamite however as the bloody thing is in someone else’s possession every other minute. It’s contrived and has no real relevance to the plot and it serves to frustrate rather than elate.
There is also evidence of just a complete inability and quite frankly lazy way of explaining certain story elements. For example, the setting of “I, Frankenstein” is present day, 200 or so years after the creation of Frankenstein. you may ask yourself, how did Frankenstein’s monster end up in the present day? Did he time travel? did he… perhaps become injured and lay dormant for all this time before being discovered and repaired by a potential love interest? God no, what he did was walk around trying to hide from demons for 200 years, he literally just walked for 200 years until he gets found by demons and decides he should start chasing them instead, which leads him back to modern civilisation. There are even a few shots in the movie that look as though they are from a bad attempt at an indie horror movie. The movie feels unfinished and this is only compounded by the sub par CGI effects.
The action sequences aren’t bad they just aren’t quite up to scratch. There was potential for the action sequences to be genuinely beautiful as it is explained that when you kill a demon they descend down to hell, and when you kill a gargoyle they ascend to heaven. On any of the many battlefields throughout the film this is represented by bright orange smoke swirling hellishly down into the ground and by angelic light rising uniformly into the clouds. It definitely looks impressive but its never quite shown in it’s true glory and it really does feel like the film missed out on being possibly a piece of schlock that was actually fun to watch as opposed to a chore, and when a movie isn’t even 90 minutes long and manages to feel like work, there is an issue.
Don’t watch it. Don’t think about it. Don’t acknowledge it. Don’t talk about it, and for God’s sake you better not enjoy it.