Back in January, 2014 I was young and naive and included I, Frankenstein on my list of most anticipated movies from that month. Unfortunately, that prediction was featured again in my First Anniversary Celebration as one of the biggest mistakes of the blog’s year. This movie is a mess in almost every way. Aaron Eckhart plays Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s monstrous creation Adam who finds himself pitted between an army of Demons led by Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) and the Gargoyle Order led by Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto). The movie starts with a brief SparkNotes rundown of Mary Shelley’s classic novel then quickly forgets all of that and shifts to a Gargoyle vs Demon showdown. Both sides fight to capture Adam who is proof that “God is not the only creator of man” and could give Demons the upper hand against the Gargoyles who are basically God’s stony warriors on Earth.
This premise may bore most audience members but it’s right up my alley. In the Flashback/Backslide review of Pacific Rim, I declared my love for movies featuring any of the following: “Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, the Apocalypse, Priest-Soldiers, Angel-Soldiers, Demon-Soldiers, Aliens, Mythical Creatures, Monsters, Robots, Super powers or anything related. Bonus points for mixing and matching as in Underworld (Vampires fight Werewolves), Cowboys and Aliens (Cowboys fight…Aliens), Priest (Vampires fight Priest-Soldiers), Legion (Demon-Soldiers fight machine gun wielding Angel-Soldiers), The Matrix (The Apocalypse with Machine Uprising vs a Super powered hacker/messiah), Constantine (Half-angels, Half-demons, resurrection)” Sadly I failed to mention Gargoyles on that list but they deserve inclusion. These movies usually feature Paul Bettany (Legion, Priest, The Da Vinci Code), Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Constantine), or some other emotionless lead. I give credit to Bettany for playing these roles so well. I think Keanu pulls them off by accident.
Even with the automatic three-point-bump I give these kinds of movies, I, Frankenstein comes out extremely stale. Aside from the glaring plot holes and strange choices by the characters, the movie has some of the worst monster imagery I’ve seen in a long time. The faces of the demons look like the child of a squid-rhino pairing complete with horns, webbed fingers and slimy skin. What is difficult to remember while watching this not laughably awful creation is that Aaron Eckhart is actually a respectable actor. Most people will remember him as Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight and his work in Thank You For Smoking was excellent. Eckhart fully commits to his role as Adam but the script leaves the talented actor with nothing more to do than scowl and pump out higher angst levels than even Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter.
Flashforward Premonition (from January, 2014’s Flashforward):
“This is another movie that may end up being utterly awful but the people involved may force us into the seats. The producers worked on Underworld (an FB/BS favorite) and the overall look of the film appears to be similar. In my Pacific Rim review, I confessed our love of bad movies with weird plots like I, Frankenstein. A movie like this is too irresistible for me to pass.”