A Cautionary Blog: I, Frankenstein

Pardon the interruption from our Road to the Oscars. I’ve had scheduling conflicts all week with classes and the screening time for Nebraska. Fortunately, (or perhaps unfortunately?) my class went on a field trip to see a movie in 3D… and I feel it is my civil duty to tell you all to steer clear of the monster I, Frankenstein (2014). Do not go see it — not even for laughs and giggles. Give your $14 to a homeless person, do something for your fellow man, and call it a day. Why, you ask?

Let me tell you, it’s a movie not a film… and yes, I’m being a snob, but it’s appropriate. I think it’s also safe to say Mary Shelley is turning perpetually in her grave each time someone purchases tickets to see this movie. The movie is meant to be an extension of the 1818 Frankenstein novel penned by Shelley. This interpretation involves demons, gargoyles (angels?), and, of course, the Monster (Adam). One would think the film would be about Victor Frankenstein based on the title, but it’s about the monster who eventually calls himself Frankenstein at the conclusion of the film. The Monster (Aaron Eckhart) buries his creator and the “demons” find him there. Luckily, the gargoyles were on guard and they try to convince the Monster to join their ranks to descend the demons in the world — he angrily declines. Then 200 years passes… and the Monster lived in isolation while descending demons on the side. The Prince of the demons is trying to build a demon army, but he needs to reanimate the dead bodies he’s been collecting. Hence why the Frankenstein Monster is valuable to him. I wish I could explain this more clearly, but it’s honestly too on-the-nose without revealing the rest of the plot. The “plot” is only the beginning of my extreme dislike for this film.

The graphics, cinematography, and editing were subpar and the dialogue, acting, and concept were laughable. I have so many issues with bringing the Frankenstein monster into a modern day scenario. The story itself, to me, is meant to be a time piece and preserved in its own era. Bringing reanimation into “the now” is not as fascinating because our technology is growing closer and closer to possessing the capabilities of creating human life… terrifying, but true. In 1818, our technology wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye and that is why Frankenstein is a beautiful story. The story is not about the technological state or scientific progress, it’s about the human condition and what it means to belong as an outsider and the tragedy that ensues. I, Frankenstein tries to place the Monster into a neat little box of being the solution to a scientific mystery, when really the mystique is the a mere background to the actual issues confronted in the original work.

I could go on for hours about how horribly this film failed, including the chiseled “handsome” actor as Frankenstein’s creature. I wish I had a clever and witty way to tell you to avoid it at all costs in the conclusion of this blog, but instead I will tell you to go to a video store and rent the Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein if you must watch an adaptation of the film. Or do yourself a favour and read the actual book.

Later this week, I will be reviewing Her since I was unable to catch Nebraska while it was in theatres and I don’t promote streaming…. Again, I apologize for the break from the Oscars.

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