Sorry to rain on the parades of any of my literary-minded readers, but no, today’s review has nothing to do with Isaac Asimov. I get the feeling it doesn’t have much to do with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It does, however, have a lot to do with Kevin Grevioux, the man who wrote for the movie Underworld. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
I, Frankenstein tells the story of Frankenstein’s monster as he finds himself caught up in a war between good and evil gargoyles … I think. The trailer doesn’t make it that clear. Has this creation been given life, or is it the stitched-together ravings of an Abby Normal brain? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Aaron Eckhart plays Frankenstein’s monster, Adam (Get it? The first man, created by God? And Frankenstein played God to create a man? Yeah, insert pity laugh here.). His other movies include Olympus Has Fallen, The Dark Knight, and Battle Los Angeles. His love interest, Terra, is played by Yvonne Strahovski, known for the television shows Chuck and Dexter and the Mass Effect video games. The main villain is Naberius, played by Bill Nighy of such works as Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. And we also have Miranda Otto playing Leonore; her previous films include War of the Worlds, What Lies Beneath, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The director is Stuart Beattie, a man who hasn’t had much experience with directing. He’s also the writer, something which he has done a good deal more often. This is the man who brought us the stories and screenplays for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Australia. In that sense, I’m cautiously optimistic about his influence on this film. Then again, it’s based on a graphic novel written by the writer of Underworld, and the producers of that film worked on this one, so it could just as easily be a bomb.
The trailer begins with a gargoyle crashing through the ceiling. Clearly he’s never heard of a door. He changes into human form, opens a secret passageway, and discovers Frankenstein’s diary. “The rumors are true,” he says. Frankenstein was dating my sister! Adam goes walking over the mountains, and if you look closely, you can see the Fellowship of the Ring in the distance. “I was given life two hundred years ago,” he tells us. Fortunately, he got a haircut since then. “I am like none other.” I kill people with fire! Well, obviously CG fire, anyway.
“You have strength and speed and stamina far beyond that of any human,” one of the gargoyle-men says to him. “You could use those gifts in a war you are already a part of.” If he’s already a part of the war, wouldn’t he already be putting those gifts to use in that war? We get several images of gargoyles blowing things up with fireballs coming out of their chests, but Adam says, “I go my own way,” having apparently just watched High School Musical 2, so now that song is stuck in his head.
Adam crashes Bill Nighy’s house (quite literally), and the man tells him, “You cannot save the human race. Nothing can stop their demise!” Miley Cyrus has done too much damage to be undone! But apparently, Nighy’s secret weapon is an army of Frankenstein monsters tens of thousands strong. “It could mean the end of all mankind,” says Adam. So they’re bringing mankind back to life to end mankind? I haven’t heard such backward logic since Mass Effect tried to stop robots from killing everyone by having robots kill everyone. All the Frankenstein monsters leap off a building, which would be horrifying if I wasn’t sure their legs would shatter on impact. Pretty sure advanced strength and stamina doesn’t save you from a six-story fall at high speed.
Miranda Otto swoops in and says to Adam, “When I met you, I looked into your eyes and saw darkness.” Then I realized I was looking at your pupils, so I pulled back and saw lovely hazel eyes. But Terra comforts him, saying, “You’re only a monster if you behave like one.” Thus why no one thinks of the Cookie Monster as being an actual monster. Miranda is unconvinced, declaring that “Frankenstein must be destroyed.” So I’m guessing you’re one of the bad guys? Sorry, I’m most of the way through this trailer, and the only person whose outlook on good and evil I know is Bill Nighy. Maybe it would be easier to tell who was on whose side if not everyone turned into identical gargoyles.
The trailer moves into the action montage (more so than it already has been) as two people crash through a stained glass window which they’d better pay to fix, some woman we haven’t seen falls to the ground to avoid the fire missiles, and UFOs invade a church. There’s a lot of aerial combat, telling us everything we need to know about the movie, and a gargoyle roars at Adam instead of doing something smart like, oh, I don’t know, killing him. And the trailer ends as a castle collapses and someone tells Adam, “God will surely d—n you.” Adam replies, “He already did.” Wow, I haven’t heard a line that original since Captain America or the trailer for Silent Hill: Revelation.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Um … I’m honestly not sure. The trailer makes it look like another one of those generic mindless action films that we’ve all seen a dozen times. At the same time, the people working on the film are really talented; we’ve got Harvey Dent, Davy Jones, Miranda Lawson and Eowyn all working on a script created by the man who helped give us the one great Pirates of the Caribbean movie. How could that go wrong? Well, we do have the Underworld people dragging it down, so who knows? If you like generic action movies, monster films, or Underworld, you’ll probably like this movie. Will I see it? I don’t want to, but at the same time I keep thinking that there has to be something worthwhile in this film or so many talented actors wouldn’t have joined in. So I’ll probably check it out when it comes out on DVD. Who knows? Maybe this film will be more lively than its reanimated protagonist.
I, Frankenstein is owned by Lionsgate.