I, Frankenstein is a movie that looks stupid but is a lot of fun. It’s based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux where Frankenstein battles gargoyles and demons for the fate of mankind.
In the year 1795, Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates his seminal masterpiece, a creature made up of corpses (played by Aaron Eckhart). However, the creature is too hideous and wild for the doctor, so he rejects it. In an outburst of rage, the creature takes the life of Dr. Frankenstein’s wife. Then Dr. Frankenstein chases after the creature into the extremes of the North where the cold eventually claims his bitter and angry life. The creature buries his master and moves on.
Eventually, the creature is beset upon by demons, but is rescued by gargoyles who bring the creature to their gargoyle queen, Leonore. There they equip him with demon-slicing blades, give him a name, Adam, and ask him to join their cause. But it’s not his fight. He rebuffs their offer and heads off into the night.
Hundreds of years later, Adam is dragged back into the war between demons and gargoyles when he kills a human police officer during a battle with demons. Before the gargoyles can mete out punishment, the headquarters of the Gargoyle Order is boldly attacked by demons who have come for Adam. They believe he holds the secret to reanimating life. In the skirmish, many gargoyles are ascended to Heaven, and Dr. Frankenstein’s journal becomes a hot commodity.
The demon-prince, Naberius, disguised as a businessman, has plans to reanimate the bodies of the dead for his warriors to inhabit, thus enabling his plan for world conquest. This plan is being hidden from scientist Terra Wade (played by Yvonne Strahovski), who only believes she has been employed to pursue her work on reanimating life. Adam needs to get his master’s journal back, save mankind, and perhaps find a purpose for his life in the process.
I, Frankenstein isn’t Shakespeare, but it sure is entertaining. The fights were well choreographed, and the cinematography was stylish and captivating. You could see the influences of the graphic novel constantly in the framing and the points of view. It was a visual treat, and I enjoyed it immensely.
On the downside, Eckhart’s acting was rather inanimate, and Strahovski’s role was pointless, other than being a woman in need of rescuing. Also, the relationship between the two of them had a strange tension, as if they were going to be lovers, but never acted on it. However, that could have been my interpretation. Strahovski is so gorgeous I could watch her read software EULAs and still be riveted, so perhaps I was waiting for something that wasn’t there.
The motivation of the gargoyles was inscrutable. They are God’s servants, yet there seems to be no presence of God amongst them. This made the conflict in the movie feel more like gang warfare than an epic battle between good and evil. At one point, their leader goes missing and the second-in-command makes a comment about how without their leader they are nothing more than vigilantes. It was a prescient moment because that’s all they ended up being: a gang of vigilantes.
In fact, they weren’t creatures of light except when they died, but it sure looked cool when it happened. I, Frankenstein should have been a summer blockbuster special effects movie, and overall is entertaining, so grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy yourself.
Release Date: January 24, 2014 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (bar scenes, alcohol, no drugs)
Language: 2 (mild profanity)
Nudity: 0 (are topless guys considered nudity?)
Violence: 4 (brutal violence, death, explosions, pummeling, impaling)