<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Stuart Beattie. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, Virginie Le Brun, Aden Young, Kevin Grevioux
In trying to create a superhero Frankenstein the producers of the exceedingly better Underworld series have made a mess of what could have been an interesting new franchise.
Though I, Frankenstein does take several plot elements from Mary Shelley’s cult book it thrusts the lone outcast Frankenstein into a battle between demons (that look like vampires) and gargoyles (that look like werewolves), thus ridding the film of any sort of originality. Heck even some of the actors (like Bill Nighy) are from the Underworld series.
The gargoyles lead by Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto) are saving humanity by working in the shadows to fend off the evil hordes of demons lead by Prince Naberius/Charles Wessex (Bill Nighy) in yet another generic ‘the fate of mankind is at stake’ plotline. How dull.
Frankenstein (Aaron Ekhart) has the ability to kill lots of the demons and so is a valuable prize to the gargoyles that view him with fear and doubt. He’s not too keen on helping them out either, initially at least.
Aaron Ekhart is an exceedingly likeable onscreen personality. He’s a good actor as well. But in I, Frankenstein he doesn’t have that menacing demeanour you’d expect from a pieced-together human monster. Zero marks to the make-up department on this film. Apart from some light stitch marks across one side of his face and his body there’s nothing to show us he’s been put together from several corpses. He’s handsome and beefy. So there’s no credibility there. He might as well be a good-looking guy who’s been in a monster truck rally accident. Frankenstein was supposed to look so scary people would be struck with fear at the mere sight of him.
Frankenstein’s love interest, Dr Terra (Yvonne Strahovski), looks a tad like Naomi Watts but isn’t nearly as good an actor. Predictably she becomes the human woman Frankenstein finds a companion in; though you must note she’s not convinced even at the end if she’s wants to be with him.
Bill Nighy’s grand dialogue delivery notwithstanding, the hollow lines that you’ve heard in a million other Hollywood films and the faux grandiosity ring false. Some of the accents are ridiculous with writer Kevin Grevioux taking on the part of Nighy’s security head with a voice so gruff it’s vexing.
I, Frankenstein can’t be Underworld because it doesn’t have Kate Beckinsale. And because it has a terrible script, lacklustre CGI and 3D and a drab plot. Producers think that 3D is their ticket to making loads of fantasy movies. But this year’s 47 Ronin and The Legend of Hercules have proven them wrong. I, Frankenstein is the third example of how just using 3D and some fantasy monsters isn’t enough.
I, Frankenstein has bombed at the box office with less than $10 million on the opening weekend, half of what it was expected to make.