THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Directed by Stuart Beattie
Somehow, I never got into the whole Underworld movement. I dug the style and the look, but I just never connected to the series. Maybe it came from an overkill of the vampire versus werewolf thing. Maybe it had just too much damn leather. I don’t know, but each movie felt stale and drab. No life to them (no vampire pun intended).
But when I, Frankenstein came out I still wanted to give it a shot despite the whole “From the Creator of Underworld” label. Mainly it’s because of Aaron Eckhart, who gets about two more years of geek interest based off his Two-Face performance alone. He deserves that at least, and he deserved a story here that didn’t involve demons and all that shit (the demon makeup looks slightly better than a cheap Halloween mask).
However, I did enjoy I, Frankenstein. It’s a fast paced, interesting take on the tired legend, and I give it credit for trying to do something different. It has some pretty good action sequences and camera work, especially during Eckhart’s battle with John McClane's son that no one wanted (it better have looked good with a $65 million budget).
The film works because of Eckhart. He’s a bit too good looking to be a mutli-corpse monster with perfectly manicured hair and boyish good looks, but he knows how to play the brooding anti-hero. Actually, several times I kept thinking that he might make a damn good Punisher, but maybe that’s because I often confuse him with Thomas Jane. I never understood how people mix up Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. They look nothing alike, but now I sorta understand.
Anyway, my biggest complaint beyond it being a little too much like Underworld is recasting Bill Nighy again, who’s a fine actor, but what’s the point of hiring him for the same basic role? I also didn't understand why Adam/Frankenstein is pulled into this holy war to begin with. Sure, he can kill demons, but why the hell do they care enough to reveal themselves to him? If he was so dangerous just leave the poor bastard alone.
It doesn’t matter though as I rolled with I, Frankenstein and had a good time. I actually really enjoyed the playful use of the Victor Frankenstein’s journal,which holds the key to how the good doctor achieved life from death. They could have played up the Mary Shelly angle a little to screw with the legend (or call her his assistant), but at least they kept a little context, much like calling Frankenstein’s monster Adam.
I, Frankenstein isn’t a great movie (some of the dialog Eckhart has to spit out I don’t know how he did), but the premise carries it as does Eckhart dedication to the role.