'I, Frankenstein' needs an early grave
"I, Frankenstein" is storytelling at its most careless. It's a film that's all flash, no substance and seems to completely forget about establishing a connection with the audience. In a dark movie theatre where it occupied a 20-foot screen with surround sound, it felt like it was going on in the background, with the whispers of other disinterested moviegoers providing the real entertainment.
The film begins with the Frankenstein monster (Aaron Eckhart), who by the way talks like Batman the entire time, being brought to life only to kill his creator's wife in her bed. Dr. Frankenstein then pursues him around the world until he freezes to death. This all occurs in less than a minute, because apparently the birth of the protagonist wasn't worth a full scene. We are then introduced to a holy legion of gargoyles, led by Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto), who are fighting an eternal war against the demons of hell, led by Prince Niberius (Bill Nighy). The Frankenstein monster, later named Adam, gets caught in the middle. The story does cleverly find a way to make the crossover between the Frankenstein and Angels/Demons mythology relevant, but the story is so impossible to engage in that it's not even worth explaining.
"I, Frankenstein" shoots itself in the foot, as well as half a dozen other body parts in the first half hour. The sequence of events are beyond rushed. Scenes tumble over each other with no transitions and poor editing. Characters are introduced almost apathetically with no attempt to give any of them significance or a multi-dimensional personality. Apart from being generic, none of them have an arc, existing only as servants to the plot. It is suggested early on that Adam killed the bride of Dr. Frankenstein because he couldn't control his emotions, but it's never revisited. The only motivation Adam has is the preservation of his own life, and because the first thing we see him do is kill an innocent woman, we have no reason to like him as a character. The film only runs an hour and a half, so I suspect post production costs on a sizable percentage of footage was out the range of the film's budget. Oh wait, this movie cost $65 million. Well where did all of that go?
The action scenes are the best part of the film, and are slightly less worthless than the dialogue scenes. The major ones take place on a grand scale with some creative shots, and there are sparse moments of interesting one on one combat. But they get repetitive quickly, and it's difficult to tell what going on because every time a demon is killed (which occurs about twice a second) the screen is filled with ribbons of poorly animated fire. It's also obvious that extra footage from the film's climatic scene is recycled for one in the first act. The effects are laughable at times, especially when characters appear as demons, sporting rubber masks of party store quality.
"I, Frankenstein" is a film that is barely worth thinking about. If I didn't have to write this review, it would have been wiped from my brain the second I left the theatre. In fact, trying to remember the details of it posed a challenge a mere 48 hours later. It's just a waste of time.
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