Well if Abraham Lincoln can become a Vampire Hunter, why can’t Frankenstein's monster hunt demons? After all, they’re after him, so why the bloody hell not?
Following a brief prologue/introduction by the man, or rather, the thing itself, narrating that familiar Mary Shelley tale, we join in with the slouching, wandering nomad… Not a bulky Boris Karloff from James Whale’s Universal classics or Robert De Niro’s melancholy grouch in the faithful yet ponderous Kenneth Branagh adaptation… But with a gaunt face, a cleft chin and disheveled long hair, Aaron Eckhart’s creature wouldn’t seem that familiar except the patchwork of facial scars resembling whip marks or the result of a bad morning shave.
The brooding man-beast winds up in a dark forest, fighting a group of angry demons – are there any other kind? Well these horned harpies have something personal against the legendary result of a mad doctor’s experimentation. But before getting in too deep, he’s abducted by a fleet of intrepid Gargoyles that, when not in flying form, resemble male models led by their castle-ruling queen, who names the Creature “Adam.”
Much of the film involves frantic battles pitting two aggressors, fervently running at each other in a joust-like cadence combined with MATRIX style slo-mo. Between these violent brawls are loads of expository dialogue about why the demons want Adam for their own nefarious plans. The reason is probably the cleverest aspect of a glossy film reminiscent of PRIEST, VAN HELSING, the UNDERWORLD series and, after a shorthaired Adam ventures into modern times to face the same demons (now wearing business suits), a weak version of HIGHLANDER.
Here’s where the plot becomes more complicated and clearer at the same time: We still have a lot to learn but only the banal fighting matters. Then, throughout the havoc, a pseudo love interest enters in the form of a gorgeous blond scientist seeking knowledge from Adam’s only possession: that being Dr. Frankenstein’s journal providing insight on how he was created in the first place. The book becomes a whirlwind wishbone for all included, and there’s even an ultimate plan by the head demon to eventually… you got it… take over the world!
The best thing about this maligned revision is it’s not very long. The worst thing is very little happens and in surprisingly few locations… Meanwhile the literary (and/or cinematic) icon, thrown in with so many screaming gargoyles and writhing demons, is hardly distinguished from friends or foes other than not morphing into a powerful, monstrous being… Making one yearn for that grunting, bolt-necked green guy who was at least memorable and endearing. A few minutes after I, FRANKENSTEIN you’re bound to forget all about… what’s his name.
Reviewed by James M. Tate
Movie Score: ** out of *****
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