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Review: I, Frankenstein

Jan. 24, 2014by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: 200 years after his creation, Frankenstein's monster is drawn into a centuries-old battle between demons trying to rule the world and gargoyles who will do anything to stop the takeover.

REVIEW: You actually have to hand it to I, FRANKENSTEIN. It's utterly ridiculous in every imaginable way, yet it goes about business with a straight face. Perhaps that's because it's "hero", Adam (Aaron Eckhart) aka Frankenstein's monster, is about as boring and bland as can be, reacting to every absurd situation the same exact way. There may be demons ripping off their human disguises and gargoyles descending from rooftops every five minutes, but Adam's tediousness never wavers.

I, FRANKENSTEIN is the kind of movie I might have loved when I was about seven-years-old. (And even that's a stretch.) As adults, can we really take "a war between demons and gargoyles" with anything other than a scoff? Oh sure, we accept any number of silly plots at face value during the summer, but this film is goofy on another level, displaying all the narrative finesse of a rambling adolescent. "And then a gargoyle kills the demon and it explodes and goes on fire and then Frankenstein's monster hits the demon on the head with a stick and then-" Yeah yeah, okay, sure. Go to your room.

Written and directed by Stuart Beattie, I, FRANKENSTEIN fast-forwards through the Frankenstein legend as we know it in the first five minutes: The monster has killed his maker and now wanders the earth without a purpose, seeking out solitude where he can live out his tortured days in whatever might pass for peace. But he catches the attention of a demon horde looking to unlock the secrets of reanimation; if they are able to revive the dead, they can call upon their fallen demon buddies to possess the corpses and they'll have an unstoppable army (or something to that effect). The monster doesn't want any part of this, naturally, but he also doesn't necessarily want any part of the demons' opposition, gargoyles. Yeah, kids. Gargoyles are actually humanity's protectors, fighting off demons whenever the bad guys make a move for world domination. The gargoyles enlist the monster, whom the "Gargoyle Queen" (Miranda Otto) dubs "Adam", to give them a hand in saving the world. Try as the poor creature might, he gets roped into helping them. Doesn't hurt that he knows kung-fu and can't be killed.

As you can tell, this is a tremendously silly plot, and though I don't think the film would have benefitted from a tongue-in-cheek approach, Beattie serves up his film monotonously, with absolutely no humor to be found. Everyone grumbles and mutters their lines, the dialogue filled with platitudes and empty threats. I, FRANKENSTEIN is snooze whenever Adam or anyone else is providing a never-ending steam of exposition. No one looks like they're having any fun, except for maybe the visual effects team, who are able to craft a few decent action sequences; when the gargoyles and demons go at each other (within what appears to be an almost-empty city), the ensuing light show is enough to hold your attention, as demons explode and descend to hell, while gargoyles ascend brightly into heaven. Truth be told, the 3D here isn't bad either; I expected another muddled post-conversion job, but in the battle scenes the 3D is admirably vivid.

Eckhart is a good actor, and this is the very definition of slumming it. He obviously got fit for this role, and he's able to show off some moves in an elaborate Kali stick fight, but he couldn't appear more disinterested. Bill Nighy, another solid performer, falls back on his intimidating angry-face as the leader of the demons; he can do this kind of thing in his sleep - and clearly does here. Yvonne Strahovski, who is lovely (and not quite a solid performer), plays a beautiful scientist unknowingly helping the demons in their quest for world domination; she just looks confused most of the time. A shallow attempt to generate some heat between her and Adam goes absolutely nowhere; even Dr. Frankenstein himself couldn't create chemistry between these two. I might reserve the most pity for Miranda Otto, as she stoically remains a trooper even though she's being referred to as "The Gargoyle Queen" left and right. Somewhere there are outtakes of Otto smirking and rolling her eyes.

The main question I had for I, FRANKENSTEIN after it concluded (spoiler alert: it ends with the line "I, Frankenstein." HA!) is, why does this exist? Who is this movie made for? The ads have made much out of the fact that it's from the same producers of the UNDERWORLD movies, and I, FRANKENSTEIN carries over the same grim-blue visual style and self-serious attitude, but I don't even think UNDERWORLD fans will give a hoot about this lame effort. It doesn't respect the "Frankenstein" lore and brings nothing new to the fantasy or horror genres. Truth is, I, FRANKENSTEIN isn't for anyone; it has been created in a depressing lab and will now be cast off into a cold world where no one will ever love it Hey, who does that remind you of?

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:16AM on 01/28/2014

sad

i dont see movies in the theater anymore,so ill probably catch it ondemand. im sad that its gonna suck. i was looking forward to it. i figured ill still see it, but try to watch it with an open mind (probably wasted with some snacks)
i dont see movies in the theater anymore,so ill probably catch it ondemand. im sad that its gonna suck. i was looking forward to it. i figured ill still see it, but try to watch it with an open mind (probably wasted with some snacks)
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3:48PM on 01/26/2014
What is happening to Aaron Eckhart's career? That straight to DVD spy thriller and now this! I hope he gets out of this rough patch.
What is happening to Aaron Eckhart's career? That straight to DVD spy thriller and now this! I hope he gets out of this rough patch.
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+8
6:45AM on 01/26/2014

"brings nothing new to the fantasy or horror genres"

So it IS like the Underworld series.
So it IS like the Underworld series.
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12:53AM on 01/25/2014
well you could knock me over with a feather this sucks im shocked shocked i say
well you could knock me over with a feather this sucks im shocked shocked i say
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+0
8:05PM on 01/24/2014
Considering how popular these kinds of films are (look at the Underworld franchise), I wouldn't be surprised if this does well, especially since this is the only big release this weekend and it's fairly dead at the theater otherwise. I have no interest in this, as this kind of film isn't my thing, but I don't doubt that will do well. Or at least as about as good a silly film like this can do in the dead of January.
Considering how popular these kinds of films are (look at the Underworld franchise), I wouldn't be surprised if this does well, especially since this is the only big release this weekend and it's fairly dead at the theater otherwise. I have no interest in this, as this kind of film isn't my thing, but I don't doubt that will do well. Or at least as about as good a silly film like this can do in the dead of January.
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4:03PM on 01/24/2014

Cost $65 million to make

Which means it probably is a total investment of $90-100 million for the studio. The only thing I can come up with for the existence of this property is that studio heads assumed a straight-forward adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein wouldn't be marketable today, but they wanted to do something with the property, so they turned Frankenstein's Monster into a 'superhero' and then needed villains, so they came up with stuff related to death (like demons and stuff) then threw in flimsy
Which means it probably is a total investment of $90-100 million for the studio. The only thing I can come up with for the existence of this property is that studio heads assumed a straight-forward adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein wouldn't be marketable today, but they wanted to do something with the property, so they turned Frankenstein's Monster into a 'superhero' and then needed villains, so they came up with stuff related to death (like demons and stuff) then threw in flimsy generic superhero story elements and voila! they thought they had a solid [link] property on their hands.then they saw what they had wrought and boom they knew it'd be a stinker. To January and limited marketing you go, I, Frankenstein. (Pronounced Fraunkenshteen)
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3:54PM on 01/24/2014

No surprise

Didn't look like anything worth checking out. I'm still hoping a film adaption of Koontz's Frankenstein series comes around. Thought I'd read it was happening months ago, but haven't seen anything about it again since.
Didn't look like anything worth checking out. I'm still hoping a film adaption of Koontz's Frankenstein series comes around. Thought I'd read it was happening months ago, but haven't seen anything about it again since.
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+3
3:08PM on 01/24/2014

That's too bad . . .

What happened to the original concept of Frankenstein's monster being a private detective and Dracula a crime boss? That's the movie that I had wanted to see.
What happened to the original concept of Frankenstein's monster being a private detective and Dracula a crime boss? That's the movie that I had wanted to see.
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3:01PM on 01/24/2014
Tifbit: Hehe! Bane.
Tifbit: Hehe! Bane.
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+0
2:53PM on 01/24/2014

heh

This was another movie that i was aware of but knew nothing about. I had assumed it would be some interesting new take on the story..... then i saw the trailer the other day. I really have no idea what to think of this crap, well aside from that its crap.
This was another movie that i was aware of but knew nothing about. I had assumed it would be some interesting new take on the story..... then i saw the trailer the other day. I really have no idea what to think of this crap, well aside from that its crap.
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2:52PM on 01/24/2014
Sounds like this will be showing up on one of those 4 movie compilation DVDs at Wal-Mart along with Van Helsing.
What would the other two movies be?
Sounds like this will be showing up on one of those 4 movie compilation DVDs at Wal-Mart along with Van Helsing.
What would the other two movies be?
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7:12PM on 01/24/2014
Oh I know one that could fit in, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Oh I know one that could fit in, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
11:08PM on 01/24/2014
Legion or Priest.
Legion or Priest.
12:55PM on 01/24/2014
Was this aimed at kids? Because the make up work is a far cry from when Robert DeNiro was Frankenstein. Here he just has a few scars on his face. Unless they healed over time.
Was this aimed at kids? Because the make up work is a far cry from when Robert DeNiro was Frankenstein. Here he just has a few scars on his face. Unless they healed over time.
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12:42PM on 01/24/2014
Here's an idea: iFrankenstein. Run with it, Hollywood. I'll take my two million upfront.
Here's an idea: iFrankenstein. Run with it, Hollywood. I'll take my two million upfront.
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+26
12:13PM on 01/24/2014
They did this, but they cannot do a Deadpool movie.....
They did this, but they cannot do a Deadpool movie.....
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11:48AM on 01/24/2014
This does look pretty bad. Of course I'll probably still see it because Yvonne Strahovski is so damn hot. I am a weak man.
This does look pretty bad. Of course I'll probably still see it because Yvonne Strahovski is so damn hot. I am a weak man.
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+14
11:45AM on 01/24/2014
I, Will Never See This Pile of Shit
I, Will Never See This Pile of Shit
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11:45AM on 01/24/2014
I was expecting 5/10 but 3? Wow.
I was expecting 5/10 but 3? Wow.
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11:18AM on 01/24/2014
Shame. I was so looking forward to a potential 'I, Frankenstein, You, Wolf Man'.
Shame. I was so looking forward to a potential 'I, Frankenstein, You, Wolf Man'.
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+15
11:04AM on 01/24/2014
not a shock that this movie sucks, just watch the trailer. Its to bad such a good actor choose to be in this garbage.
not a shock that this movie sucks, just watch the trailer. Its to bad such a good actor choose to be in this garbage.
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10:48AM on 01/24/2014
You know what, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I was fully expecting it to be wholly, irredeemably terrible but I ended up having fun with it. Yes, the jumping-off point is absurd, Frankenstein's Monster has scars that are hardly noticeable, but I think the film was well-designed, both the cathedral and the cavernous demon corpse farm ended up looking good and not overly-digital, providing a sense of scale. Bill Nighy was fabulous as he always is, really biting into the part and
You know what, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I was fully expecting it to be wholly, irredeemably terrible but I ended up having fun with it. Yes, the jumping-off point is absurd, Frankenstein's Monster has scars that are hardly noticeable, but I think the film was well-designed, both the cathedral and the cavernous demon corpse farm ended up looking good and not overly-digital, providing a sense of scale. Bill Nighy was fabulous as he always is, really biting into the part and chewing up the scenery with gusto. Also, the character animation was fantastic, the work on the Gargoyles by Iloura and Cutting Edge actually reminded me of Hulk in The Avengers.
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10:43AM on 01/24/2014
Probably the lamest idea was putting Frankenstein in an H&M hoodie and jeans
Probably the lamest idea was putting Frankenstein in an H&M hoodie and jeans
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10:32AM on 01/24/2014
"And then a gargoyle kills the demon and it explodes and goes on fire and then Frankenstein's monster hits the demon on the head with a stick and then-" Yeah yeah, okay, sure. Go to your room.

Lololololololol
"And then a gargoyle kills the demon and it explodes and goes on fire and then Frankenstein's monster hits the demon on the head with a stick and then-" Yeah yeah, okay, sure. Go to your room.

Lololololololol
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10:30AM on 01/24/2014
No surprise as it is from the makers of underworld.
No surprise as it is from the makers of underworld.
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10:28AM on 01/24/2014
This will be on fx every time your hungover and can't find the remote
This will be on fx every time your hungover and can't find the remote
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2:50PM on 01/24/2014
This and Gallow Walkers
This and Gallow Walkers
-3
10:24AM on 01/24/2014
so its so bad that it doesn't get a score. Either that or someone was alittle "cough, cough, puff, puff" when they wrote this and forgot to score it
so its so bad that it doesn't get a score. Either that or someone was alittle "cough, cough, puff, puff" when they wrote this and forgot to score it
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10:25AM on 01/24/2014
there is something wrong with the mobile site, it double posted my stupid but self entertaining comment.
there is something wrong with the mobile site, it double posted my stupid but self entertaining comment.
10:33AM on 01/24/2014
It only double posts if you refresh after posting.
It only double posts if you refresh after posting.
-2
10:22AM on 01/24/2014
so its so bad that it doesn't get a score. Either that or someone was alittle "cough, cough, puff, puff" when they wrote this and forgot to score it
so its so bad that it doesn't get a score. Either that or someone was alittle "cough, cough, puff, puff" when they wrote this and forgot to score it
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+1
10:19AM on 01/24/2014
Is it so bad that you couldn't give a score? Ha this looked terrible from the get-go.
Is it so bad that you couldn't give a score? Ha this looked terrible from the get-go.
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10:16AM on 01/24/2014

Harsh review, but it sounds like the film deserved it

Richard Crouse said the film should be renamed 'Ay-yi-yi-yi Frankenstein.'
Richard Crouse said the film should be renamed 'Ay-yi-yi-yi Frankenstein.'
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10:13AM on 01/24/2014
So what's the rating? 2/10, 5/10, 10/10?
So what's the rating? 2/10, 5/10, 10/10?
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