For weeks I went without seeing this movie mostly due to its 27% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Plus, I have never found a Frankenstein movie that I actually liked, even though, I will admit that the Dr. Frankenstein off of Penny Dreadful is one of my favorite characters off the show. I hated the book and besides the occasional Scooby Doo movie involving Frankenstein's monster I never really cared to watch anything involving this particular monster.
The movie had been out for months and while I did enjoy the previews it didn't peak my interest enough to go to the theater and see it. In fact, I had almost forgot about the movie altogether until a friend reminded me that it was out. Boredom not interest drove me into seeing it. Although, I have to admit that I was pleasantly impressed by not only the plot but of the characters and their developments throughout the film.
James McAvoy plays the iconic Victor Frankenstein whose obsession with cheating death has led him down a dark unforgiving road of no return. He has become a self-loathing, alcoholic, idealist who believes that the world is too stupid to understand his brilliance. His world-view only adds to his depression and furthers his thirst for knowledge. His loathing of death itself not only inspires him to further his experiments but instills into him a belief that death is an outdated state of being. Every action and every friendship is a means of furthering his own goals.
Upon meeting the hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) and witnessing the hunchback's brilliance Frankenstein seeks to free him from his current bondage and use the hunchback's vast knowledge of human anatomy as a means of finishing a project that he has dreamed about ever since childhood. He names the hunchback Igor and gives him a home and a chance to live a normal life, with the only drawback being that he works for Frankenstein. As the plot progresses a friendship between the two men begins to form but Frankenstein's social skills and obsession with bringing about life from death begin to slowly erode Igor's trust in what has turned out to be his second master.
Daniel Radcliffe as an actor has really progressed since his days as Harry Potter. While he can't seem to shake that persona entirely he does show, at times an ability to make a character his own and he does so with Igor. Igor's child-like vigor and loyal persona make him a standout throughout the movie.
James McAvoy's Frankenstein was truly a testament to his skills as an actor. Throughout the film McAvoy showed mastery in displaying multiple emotions at the same time. You could feel the pain in Frankenstein's very soul even during some of his more sarcastic and infantile bouts in the movie. No matter how many Frankenstein movies I watch throughout my lifetime his performance of the title character will be the one I will always think of from now on.
While the acting was marvelous and the plot entertaining there was bits and pieces that really slowed down its progression. I couldn't help but wonder what the point of the sub-plot of being chased by a self-righteous police inspector (Andrew Scott) was. His obsession with bringing them to justice at all costs really was without merit. It was as if Scotland Yard had nothing better to do than chase down an escaped circus hunchback and a doctor who on occasion tried to create zombie monkeys.
A few scenes involving Igor really bothered me. One, involved Igor escaping with ease from being bound and chunked into an icy river. Apparently escape artist was one of the many tricks they showed him at the circus. Unfortunately it was never mentioned anywhere else in the movie. The second scene that really bothered me was how he managed to track down Frankenstein who was held up in a castle out in the middle of nowhere and then somehow seamlessly climbed a cliff and then bypassed every measure of security in a heavily guarded area without being spotted.
Victor Frankenstein wasn't flawless but was entertaining. It definitely wasn't one of the better movies of 2015 but it was better than the 27% Rotten Tomatoes scored it. James McAvoy's Frankenstein is memorable. His performance along with a plot that flows effortlessly in between comedy and drama is enough for me to recommend seeing it.