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Frankenstein Face-Off: Tom Noonan Vs. Robert DeNiro

Jan. 20, 2014by: Mike Catalano
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Hell did become unleashed with out last Face-Off. The majority disagreed with The Omen besting Rosemary's Baby and even stated that the two had already faced off on our joblo site previously. Just to clear the record, I was unaware of this and apologize for repeating a topic.

Today, I can assure you that we have a brand spanking new bout to inject some horrifying jolts into your system. With Mr. Aaron Eckharts's I, FRANKENSTEIN opening this Friday, I got to thinkin about ol' Doc Frankenstein's monster and what other modern day movies saw him in action. The two top titles that popped into my brain were MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN and THE MONSTER SQUAD (both made 7 years apart). Robert DeNiro played the monster in SHELLEY'S and Tom Noonan plugged in the bolts in SQUAD. But who did the better job? Let's find out below!

Birth
It's pretty cool how Noonan's Frankenstein is brought into real life modern day with his body being secretly shipped in a crate from some foreign country. Of course, Dracula finds him and has the crate conveniently dropped near his spooky mansion. From there, Drac connects some wires from his staff to Frank's neck bolts and a bolt of lightning literally recharges him back to life like a jump-started car! A great homage to original.
Talk about coming into the world with a bang! Ol' Bobby D.'s creator, Kenneth Branagh, goes to great dramatic lengths to get his creature to "Live! Live! Live!" There's the elaborate devices, the high voltage, that human-shaped tank filled with embryonic fluids and shit, and the f*cking eels! Once the electrifying is finished, Bobby busts the top of the tank clear off and comes spilling out. Now that's a hell of a way to get welcomed into the world. But it does feel a bit like overkill.
Look
Now, here we have a pretty innovative look to Noonan's 'Frank' that manages to stay true to the classic demeanor, yet not look cartoonish. His skin is so pale that it does have a green tint. The top of the head isn't flat, but does seem larger than average. He's got a slit scar across the top of his forehead with metal suchers that do seem surgically accurate. The withered black clothing and clunky shoes nicely complete the classic appearance.
I remember one of the reasons Mary Shelley's Frankenstein wasn't much of a hit was the opposition over Robert De Niro playing the title monster. Then once people saw how he looked, the matter only got worse. I gotta admit, although his appearance may be going for medically accurate, it's hard not to laugh whenever his face is onscreen. Maybe it's the one whitened eye or the overly "Sly" upper lip. Regardless, it's tough to find it at all scary.
Strength
Noonan never really gets a chance to go on any crazy rampages because his version of Frankenstein is a tad more gentle than expected. However, if a certain vampire master ever threatens his littlest best friend, Phoebe, he is more than capable of rising to the occasion and delivering a powerful blow to the body. Not to mention a killer one-liner: "Bo-gus!"
De Niro's monster definitely gets to display his muscle in a number of ways. Dude could be a mother-f*ckin' MMA fighter! He leaps, he attacks, he moves like a friggin' super hero. Nothing can get in this boy's way. Want an example? Okay. He's able to pound his fist inside someone's chest and rip out the still-beating heart. Yes, that is strength.
Speech
Noonan doesn't get a whole lot to say as Frank. Mostly because it doesn't appear he ever really learned to speak. At least Phoebe takes it upon herself to teach him some words. Although his speech is still pretty basic, he is still able to communicate with the members of the Monster Squad. And it does seem very fitting of Frankenstein.
I'm not sure if it was Bobby's idea, but his Frankenstein obtains a very astute understanding of the English language. He reads and articulates in a manner that may be better than many other morons that weren't just recently pieced together from body parts. He may start off slow, but by the film's end, he is damn near speaking in poetic prose!
Little Girl Interaction
The first non-monster human that Noonan meets is young Phoebe. The two instantly hit it off. Her innocence is a perfect match to his naivety. Their bond is indeed the heart of the movie and feels so wonderfully real. She teaches him to talk and recruits him onto the side of the Monster Squad. The scene where he saves her from Dracula makes you stand up and cheer. And the scene where he is forced to leave her at the end makes you want to reach for a hankie.
Bobby D. also comes across a sweet little lady with whom he is quite gentle towards. Actually, the young girl's family also becomes vaguely acquainted with him. He is even left a Christmas gift out in the snow. However, his demeanor and actions become misconstrued causing the father to harshly drive him off. We then see poor Bobby D. sobbing like a baby in the woods.
Tom Noonan
I like how these two Frankensteins took it down to the wire. A worthy display from two actors portraying a titan of a horror character. Now, how do you feel this Face-Off was pieced together? Is there another Frankenstein performance you want to give props to? Spit all them bullets below! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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10:10AM on 01/20/2014
Can I go with Boris Karloff? You can't beat the original, in this case.
Can I go with Boris Karloff? You can't beat the original, in this case.
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+11
10:04AM on 01/20/2014

RE: Speech

In the original novel, the monster is very articulate. It was Boris Karloff that gave us the staggering mute version of Frankenstein's monster most people think of.
In the original novel, the monster is very articulate. It was Boris Karloff that gave us the staggering mute version of Frankenstein's monster most people think of.
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