We are about a month into the New Year and if I, Frankenstein is any indication as to how the year in film is going to go, things aren’t looking too good. The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name and stars Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy, two actors who definitely know better, and is now playing in numerous theaters throughout Orlando.
The story follows Frankenstein’s creature (hilariously renamed Adam for no apparent reason other than to create an unnecessary biblical metaphor) as he hides from a group of demons. We are then introduced to a secret community of gargoyles who watch over the city and capture Adam after they witness him fight off a demon. The gargoyles (I can’t believe I’m writing about gargoyles) and the demons are at war but the demons need Adam alive in order to bring life to a demon army. Calling it Underworld: Re-shelled would be too obviously easy.
The film speeds through its story allowing for no character development, which doesn’t make for a very engaging narrative. It is an hour and a half full of messy, slow motion fight sequences and soulless, unconvincing performances from the entire cast. Ridiculous films like I, Frankenstein should never be taken seriously but the main reason that the film fails in so many ways is because it takes itself entirely too seriously. And it wants the audience to as well. This could have been a fun, campy action film but instead it was a brainless special effects showcase.
The film was brought to life on screen by co-writer and director Stuart Beattie. Though his track record is somewhat questionable (he did write Derailed and G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra), he has had some success with adapting graphic novels in the past (30 Days of Night). He even scripted Michael Mann’s fantastic Collateral (2004) and both of these films showcase his skill with both suspense and character – elements completely absent here.
I, Frankenstein welcomes us to the post-Oscar system in the worst way possible and acts as a nice fist-to-the-face of everything that made Mary Shelley’s original novel so timeless. It’s a creature that should have never been brought to life and unless you want to hear Eckhart do his best Christian Bale Batman voice, then I suggest you skip this one all together.