I, Frankenstein – 2014
Director Stuart Beattie
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney, Kevin Grevioux
Screenplay Kevin Grevioux, Stuart Beattie
Aaron Eckhart is a man capable of good acting. His performance in Erin Brockovich, In The Company of Men, Thank You for Smoking and The Dark Knight stand out with the best films in any career. He’s rarely been a leading man, though. When this happens, he gets roughly the same treatment that similar actors like Paul Bettany might get. That is romances, quirky low-budget comedies and stuff like this.
Bill Nighy has made a career on romantic films in the U.K.. He is rightly considered one of the greats. Somehow, he still finds time to be in stuff like this. He takes this stuff seriously enough, that, who knows, he may just be a demon prince.
I, Frankenstein is a movie bold enough to ask: “What happens after Frankenstein’s monster has killed Frankenstein’s wife and then the doctor, himself.”
In this version of the story, he is attacked by some demons, who want to kidnap him and get his secret to life. Perhaps they could have offered him a bite to eat and maybe some coffee, but instead they try to jump him in a graveyard. During the ensuing mêlée, Frank takes out a few of the demons, who conveniently burn up when you hit them the right way. Some helpful Gargoyles dispatch the last few and then they spirit him away and give him the lowdown about the battle of eternity.
The Vampires, you see, have been fighting The Lycans for thousands of years. Oh, wait, make that the Demons and the Gargoyles. The head of the Lycans is the same guy who is the head of the Demons, though, so we have that going for us.
From these humble beginnings, we get some back and forth. First the Demons strike, then the Gargoyles. And there are some humans there too, scientists, who work for the Demons. They are trying to replicate the re-animation process. The Demons need this, so, you know, they have somewhere to place the damned souls. One can tell that its working during the last part of the film when we see the process in action. Every one of the bodies has a monitor on it that very clearly indicates Re-Animation. We see this move from 0% to 100%. At 100% it turned green, so it looks like it works.
The Gargoyles say that this cannot happen, and who are we to doubt them, because, you know, they are good. Or, at least that is what they told us, and why would the good guys lie. I would guess that the Queen of the Gargoyles, played by the angelic Miranda Otto, has never lied in her life.
As a guy who remembers every gory detail of John Carpenter’s The Thing, I can say it still strikes me as something real even if they do not reach the levels of todays effects. On the other hand, nothing sticks to mind when I ponder the existence or the actions of any of the characters in this story. They all have an ethereal sheen that took place in Elysium at the end of The Gladiator. None of it is fun to watch or in any way enthralling.
What’s worse is Eckhart is just lost in the mix here. The makeup is not so much that we can’t see his handsome features, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t see any range of emotion throughout all the action. It’s like the movie just happens and he is in the first row.
Since this movie made only $70 million, we can expect to not see any sequels. Don’t worry though, we might see some of these caricatures in future Underworld movies.
(*1/2 out of *****)