I walked into this film ready to hate it. The marketing, or rather a lack of, has been terrible. The trailers looked awful, plus the Universal Monster type film has not had the best track record as of late. The Wolfman, I, Frankenstein, and Dracula Untold. Not great movies. However, I look at every movie I see with a hope that it will be great. No one WANTS to sit down and watch a movie that they hate. So all though I preserved it to be bad experience, I checked that emotion at the door, and sat down to judge Victor Frankenstein with an open mind. And boy was I surprised.
Though Fox has not had the best year, thank you Fant-4-stic, this one had a promising crew. Even with a less then seasoned director, Paul McGuilan who focuses mostly on television, he did pump out a film I really liked in Lucky Number Slevin. Also Victor Frankenstein had Max Landis in its corner as a writer. Landis while a pretty eccentric character in his own right has a brilliant mind when it comes to putting a story down. And to top things off, the film stars young Professor Xavier and Harry Potter. That’s right; James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe take the reins of this adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel.
Victor Frankenstein follows a circus hunchback who is rescued by Dr. Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy), and given the alias of Igor (Radcliffe). Frankenstein sees a genius in Igor and works to bring it out in him. Helps him fix his back and assimilate into society, as much as Frankenstein himself is any way. Soon Igor realizes that the though the Doctor has the best of intentions he might be a little out of his league. And as the authorities’ breathe down their neck, they work to create life out of nothing. When Frankenstein is driven mad by the project Igor must fight to save his friend from his own monstrous creation.
I was honestly worried about this film going into it. That was not just an opening line. I have wanted new adaptions of classic Universal Monster films for quite a long time. And have yet to be satisfied by the likes of what we have been given. However, this film really surprised me. It is it fun, and exciting, and keeps you on the edge of you seat. A very intense high powered action film. Missing the horror aspect that ideally I would like for it have, and few minor story issues, but not enough to really take away from the film.
A well shot and crafted film makes it a fun experience. Crisp shots full of color and great set designs transports you back in time for the genuine time piece type of film. No shaky cam, and when action sequences start it is pretty fun to see. I walked in with a buddy of mine who said he was expecting a “Sherlock Holmes” type of feel to it, to which I was very confused and doubted. Yet the opening scene had me second guessing that opinion. It almost felt like a Guy Richie inspired film. Weather that was McGuilan’s idea, or simply coincidence I don’t know, but it worked very well.
The cast was great. In my eyes, other than the leads, most unknowns. With Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Callum Turner, and Daniel Mays filling in rolls, all of which I have not really seen, heard of, or remembered from other works. However they filled their roles flawlessly. Charles Dance pops up for a fun little cameo, and then there was Jessica Brown Findlay as Igor’s love interest Lorelei. She was good in the role, but the role itself I will delve into in a moment. More Importantly are the two leads. McAvoy and Radcliffe. These two had great chemistry and played off each other very well. It was very fun to see their interactions, even if said interactions seemed very reminiscent of Professor X with his students.
No movie is perfect, and this one sure isn’t. It does have its share of problems. Though I enjoyed the film I definitely feel it could have been better. The Love interest, played by Findlay, is completely unnecessary for the film. Seems like they put the part in just because “we need a girl”. I honestly felt it hurt the film more than anything. A storyline involving a cop, which is rather rushed, and has no real power to it. We are meant to care about his quest to find out the truth about Frankenstein, but they never really give us a reason to care.
As well Victor Frankenstein is a monster movie, without a monster. There is a great sequence midway through the film with a well-crafted monkey created by the doctor, but his iconic monster does not show until well into the third act. An act I feel was very rushed. There is a lot of character development between the Doctor and Igor, but then the film because a mess in an attempt to bring it to a close. They don’t show you much of the creation of the monster. And when he finally is created they quickly go into an action sequence that ends the film on a quick note. With no real explanation or clean up to issues between our two main characters.
All in all, it is a fun film. A film that you can take an afternoon to go to the theater and enjoy. Maybe one you might pick for a movie night with family when it hits the red box, or Netflix. Is it going to win any awards? No, probably not. Is it going to really be a staple when asked about the movies of 2015? Not really. But it will be a fun time sitting and watching. It has its high notes. Im giving Victor Frankenstein a Jeebus score of 3.3. But what say you Jackass Nation? Sound off in the comments below! What is your favorite rendition of Frankenstein? And remember, it is, what it is!
The Jeebus Score explained
The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.