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I, Frankenstein 3D – film review

March 19, 2014


I, Boredomstein.

Reviewed on Tuesday 4th March 2014


An Australian-American co-production. Directed by Stuart Beattie. Screenplay by Stuart Beattie, screen story by Kevin Grevioux and Stuart Beattie. Based on the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. Starring: Aaron Eckhart,     Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto and Bill Nighy. Running time: 92 mins.

Unseen by human kind; a secret order of heavenly shape-shifting gargoyles led by Leonore (Miranda Otto) stands forever vigilant against demon hordes hell-bent on world domination. Two centuries after his inglorious creation; Frankenstein’s monster (Aaron Eckhart) becomes the key to providing the demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) with the knowledge of reanimation, so that his army of dormant corpses may one day be revived and used as vessels for the spirits of Satan’s hordes and ultimately take control of the world.

Supposedly based on an unpublished graphic novel by Underworld story creator and Vader-voiced actor Kevin Grevioux (who also appears in a supporting role as a heavy in the film) I, Frankenstein is the second feature helmed by Aussie screenwriter-turned-director Stuart Beattie (following his ‘Red Dawn Down Under’ teen guerilla opus Tomorrow When The War Began) – and it isn’t so much a sophomore slump as a whopping great plunge into an abyss of mediocrity.

The film suffers from the same problem as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer – in     that it takes itself so damn seriously – where’s all the fun?! And I find it perplexing that such a proven and accomplished scribe as Beattie (Collateral, Pirates Of The Caribbean) has delivered such unfocussed and slap-dash writing as this. This movie’s narrative stumbles around aimlessly from one set-piece to the next – lurching like an incoherent drunk trying to find his way home from the casualty department. While the mostly Australian cast do their absolute best with the turgid and clunky expositon (as juvenile as anything hammered out by Lucas for his Star Wars prequels) – only Bill Nighy is able to do anything convincing with the God-awful lines given to him.

Another issue I have with this film is the strange disconnect between the real world and the setting of the film. I’m guessing the story unfolds on Earth in contemporary times. But as we never see anything beyond the shadowy realm of gargoyles and demons – it’s almost impossible to understand (or care) how these events impact     on the larger human world. There are countless examples of movies which deal     with underground societies which work extremely well. In the films of Guillermo Del Toro for example (Blade II, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) – Del Toro appreciates the importance of establishing a direct connect between the mundane and the fantastical – so we understand how conflict in one world impacts on the other (and we become invested in events). Unfortunately this never happens in I, Frankenstein – creating     an emotionaly empty disconnect (and far worse than this, and most unforgivably – boredom).

The concept of reanimating an army of corpses, with the express purpose of using them as vessels for demon spirits is an interesting idea – although it is never fully utilized in any meaningful way. And for a movie reliant on so much action – it is surprising that none of it is even remotely engaging. After the second or third demon is tediously dispatched – it all becomes so repetitive it’s a struggle to care what happens next. And although the movie purports to be shot in 3D (as opposed to being post-converted) – aside from one or two CGI-heavy flying sequences involving the gargoyles; the 3D for the most part (much like the aforementioned Abraham Lincoln) – is either ineffective or lacks any substantial depth to make it worthwhile shelling out the extra bucks. In fact, there is so little to recommend this film and I have so little enthusiasm for anything in it, I could quite happily delete this post without a second thought.

1 star out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4  – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Palace-Nova East End Cinemas, Adelaide, March 4th 2014.

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

From → film reviews

  1. So damn serious and also, so damn boring. Good review.


  2. gregory moss permalink

    Thanks! 🙂


  3. Xenolicker permalink

    “A brutal but secret and unseen war between gargoyles and demons”? How can moviemakers get (and stay) collectively so dumb!? Other than that, great fun though: gargoyles and demons in 3D! Wow!


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