Everyone knows the story of ‘Frankenstein,’ but maybe not like this. The classic tale has been reanimated for the big screen, but the results may not be as enticing as you’d expect. See what the critics thought below!
I, Frankenstein hit theaters on Jan. 24 boasting an all-out war between the monster (played by Aaron Eckhart) and a slew of demons and gargoyles. It sounds like a fantasy-lovers dream come true, but the truth is, the movie may be dead on arrival — with no hopes of Frankenstein bringing it back to life. Here’s what the critics had to say.
‘I, Frankenstein’ Reviews
Having established a downbeat, even stoically plain tone, this economical affair feels like a canvas prepped for, and awaiting, further detail (or straight-to-video-on-demand sequels).
There’s certainly no moviegoing reanimation in director Stuart Beattie‘s adaptation of Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel. Of the several ways to continue the story of Victor Frankenstein’s tragic, soul-challenged creation after the late 19th century events of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, a clanging cemetery fight with demons and gargoyles doesn’t inspire a ton of narrative confidence. Neither does the aggressively silly, breakneck-paced expository dialogue that gives the creature (Aaron Eckhart) — dubbed Adam by the Gargoyle Queen (Miranda Otto) — a crash course in what he’s stepped into: an eternal (and how so) battle between demons and gargoyles for the fate of humanity.
Three quarters of the movie is exposition, the rest computer-generated puppet battles between demons (when stabbed, they flare up and descend to hell) and gargoyles — who are actually vigilante angels who’ve come to Earth to fight a war against demons that will “determine the fate of mankind.” (When the gargoyle-angels get skewered, they “ascend” to heaven in bluish beams, but they’re still Outta There.) The lovely Miranda Otto plays Leonore, High Queen of the Gargoyles. She dubs Frankie “Adam” and says, “Each of us has a higher purpose” and that his is to take sides in a world he’s already a part of. “I go my own way,” he grits. He hates humans. He hates everybody.
It would be premature to suggest this without consulting the archives, but “I, Frankenstein” might very well set some kind of record for the most expository dialogue in a single feature film, with almost every spoken exchange either relaying a convoluted backstory, outlining a nefarious scheme, or describing the actions currently taking place onscreen. In fact, it isn’t until approximately 92 minutes into the film’s 93-minute running time that it even cracks its first joke, when the end credits offer “special thanks” to Mary Shelley. Utterly witless, listless, sparkless and senseless, this supernatural actioner makes one long for the comparative sophistication of the conceptually identical “Underworld” franchise (with which it shares producers and a writer).
It seems inconceivable that anyone would pay $12, let alone venture out in 12-degree weather, to see “I, Frankenstein.” But maybe there are reasons. Perhaps you’re an Aaron Eckhart completist? A former English lit major with a secret yen for fan fiction based on the classics? Or maybe, and more likely, you’re just exhausted at the end of a long week, and really want to turn your brain off completely for a couple of hours. Should you happen to fit any of those categories, the movie will … suffice.
Hmm, so maybe don’t see this one? Or do, if you’re as brave as Frankenstein’s monster.
– Andrew Gruttadaro