I, Frankenstein (2014) – Review

1 Star

I, Frankenstein has aspirations of reaching the franchise potential of Underworld or the Blade series, but it more closely resembles a bad television pilot. Maybe it would have worked better on that format, on the big-screen it seems small-scale and oddly vacant. There is a lot of visual activity as the hero slays demons to their fiery demise, but nothing strikes a cord and the entire movie plays out without generating neither interest nor affection from the audience.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A war is being waged between good and evil, the fate of mankind rests in the hands of a stranger, a half-breed, with unmatched power and desire. This war has been waging for a millennium, of course, all this is happening unbeknownst to humans. Sound familiar? The only new element to the familiar is instead of Vampires vs. Werewolves, or Vampires vs. Humans, this battle is between Demons and Gargoyles. The cement statues come to like in the form of arch-angels that dress like Roman soldiers. Their adversaries are devilish monsters who seek the mythic creation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, now living as an outcast who roams the world searching for the minions of Demon leader Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy)

Turns out the demons want the Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart), christened Adam, to use as a scientific experiment, in order to artificially produce life. I guess, they figure studying the undead warrior will prove the final key to unlocking the secret of nature’s abomination. Adam (Arron Eckhardt) is relegated to the sideline for much of the movie, when he is on-screen this Frankenstein behaves more like Jet Li than anything Mary Shelly had in mind.

This is ill-conceived franchise building 101, so much time is given to back story and expository scenes setting up fractured allegiances and fragile alliances, that the movie is nearly two-thirds over before we can get moving forward in the storyline. If the filmmaker/writer Stuart Beattie had been more concerned with setting out to tell a complete story, not an opening chapter in some wanna-be ongoing saga, then perhaps the entire enterprise wouldn’t feel so perfunctory. You have to wonder what sins well-regarded actor Aaron Eckhart is atoning for to stoop to this level of studio pandering. The once novel idea of casting Bill Nighy as a cold-blooded villain, has now officially worn out its welcome. I, Frankenstein isn’t an insultingly bad movie, it’s just a dopey romp through mediocre special effects and derivative writing.

Director: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski

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