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Scraping the barrel – I, Frankenstein

As a generally unpaid film critic/blogger (I alternate between ‘critic’ and ‘blogger’ depending upon whether I got out off the hubristicly pretentious or the dismayingly unconfident side of my bed that morning) I do not feel the need to suffer the endless stream of obviously bad films (mostly starring Adam Sandler) that flump onto cinema screens each Friday. However if any one wishes to pay me enough I will sit through a box set of Pauly Shore’s greatest hits, I’m not proud, I need to pay my bar tab somehow.

But I digress, so to get to my point, my point, my point… Oh yes! I don’t voluntarily decide to put my hand in the meat grinder of obviously bad cinema very often. Sometimes though, you just gotta take one for the team. The sad truth is, that as a horror genre fan, I will watch pretty much any old shite in the hope that this one is going to be the hidden gem, and review consensus means little to the horror connoisseur as too many good genre flicks have been crapped on by mainstream critics.

So I watched I Frankenstein…

…like a fucking idiot.

Taking up its ‘story’ as Mary Shelley’s novel ended I, Frankenstein begins as the creature (Aaron Eckhart) attempts to bury its creator. No sooner has the first spadeful of dirt hit the corpse than the monster is interrupted by demons and must use his well known mixed martial arts skills (Mary Shelley scholars say WHAAAAAAT). Things look bad for a minute but the sudden intervention of a couple of angelic warriors who look and talk like extras from Xena: Warrior Princess saves his decomposing bacon. Transported to elf-land the monster meets Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto) who explains she and her fellow Krull cos-players are in fact gargoyles exiled from heaven and engaged in a war with the demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) for control of the mortal realm. She also renames the creature Adam in a failed effort to stop people confusing the Frankenstein’s monster with Victor Von Frankenstein (a failed effort as even Eckhart seems confused over his character’s moniker).

After at least twenty minutes of turgid expositionary dialogue Adam goes ‘Nah’ and wanders off for two hundred years in an ultimately successful quest for a haircut.

Meanwhile Naberious has human scientists trying to reanimate corpses so he can install the souls of vanquished demons, create and army and RULE ZE VORLD! For reasons that escape me, he needs The Monster/Adam/Frankenstein for this plan because The Monster/Adam/Frankenstein has no soul. Soon the unwilling creature is pulled into an epic conflict for the future of a humanity this film has no actual interest in.

Long story short, its bobbins. In fact its EPIC bobbins. Watching this tripe is like being stuck at a party listening to a drunken teenager trying to explain the rules of a new Dungeons & Dragons module they have designed. Eckhart’s performance is 95% grunting, Nighy rolls his R’s and thinks of the loft extension this is paying for, and some extra colour is added by Jai Courtney a man who is constantly out acted by his stubble. Writer and director Stuart Beattie slathers shitty CGI over everything. The location is a no-wheresville back lot in Eastern Europe tricked out to look like Paris, but full of English speaking actors. And to help gain a 12 certificate there is no blood and the combatants either explode into flame (Demons), or shoot shafts of light to heaven (Gargoyles) when they die. Frankly they might as well explode into coins.

Writer/director Beattie has some impressive credits including writing the first Pirates of the Caribbean, 30 Days of Night and Collateral, but the he can’t direct for toffee just substituting shots of characters striding in slow motion with CG fire in the background in the place of actual action. The movie looks like 90 minutes of video game cut scenes strung together with some of the most heinous dialogue I’ve heard this year. My favourite line is from the hot blonde boffin. Frankenstein (shit I’m doing it now) has just rescued her from some animated Castlevania GIFS and explains the plot and she says ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in Gargoyles and Demons’… TO FRANKENSTEIN’S FUCKING MONSTER.

It’s rubbish.

Oh, I watched in 3D but who gives a shit.

This review originally appeared on http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/


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