I, Frankenstein - DVD Review

 'For every fleeting glimpse of entertainment, there's a profusion of clichéd dialogue, underdeveloped plot threads and nonsensical contradictions'. 

It's suggested in the closing scenes of I, Frankenstein that the film's Asimov-inspired title holds some philosophical value in relation to Frankenstein's creature (Aaron Eckhart), the character having been on a personal journey of discovery throughout the story that has just been related. This of course, much like the rest of Stuart Beattie's film, is complete bollocks.

In truth, Beattie's adaptation of Kevin Grevioux's graphic novel has about as much depth as a dried-up swimming pool. After rushing through a simplified and slightly altered version of Mary Shelley's novel in the first five minutes, Beattie launches you straight into what I, Frankenstein is predominantly all about: CGI-heavy and overly busy fantasy fight sequences about which you don't really care. After finding himself caught within an ancient war between gargoyles and demons, the creature - named "Adam" by gargoyle queen Lenore (Miranda Otto) seemingly for convenience rather than any meaningful reason - swiftly turns his back on the conflict for over two centuries. You'll wish you could join him.

Aside from the fact that we're given very little reason to care about the gargoyle-demon war, the whole thing just feels incredibly stale. This kind of centuries-old supernatural grudge match has been done to death in everything from Nightwatch to Underworld to Twilight. I, Frankenstein adds absolutely nothing to the idea, making the film as a whole feel largely pointless. The reasons for including Frankenstein's creature also feels somewhat limp at first, although this is admittedly given more weight as the story progresses.

Eckhart as Adam is arguably one of the blandest versions of Frankenstein's creation to grace the big screen, barely even looking the part from about ten minutes in. Bill Nighy - the other big name here as demon leader Prince Nebarius - chews the set as if his life depends on it, delivering a reheated Davy Jones performance from Pirates Of The Caribbean but without the computer-generated squid-like head to go along with it. Jai Courtney follows up his unimpressive turn in A Good Day To Die Hard with another soulless performance here. The rest of the cast are entirely forgettable.

For what it's worth, I found myself genuinely wanting to enjoy I, Frankenstein for a considerable chunk of its relatively brief running time of under ninety minutes. I even found myself enjoying one or two moments here and there. But for every fleeting glimpse of entertainment, there's a profusion of clichéd dialogue, underdeveloped plot threads and nonsensical contradictions. Case in point: Adam is reprimanded early on by Lenore for battling demons in clear view of people, resulting in the death of a policeman. The gargoyles then proceed to spend the remainder of the film conducting most of their battles in or near built-up areas where people clearly live. With I, Frankenstein, Beattie evidently hoped to breath new life into Shelley's classic horror creation. His tired ideas and bland execution, however, make what little vitality there is within his film feel as artificial as that coursing through the reanimated body of his borrowed protagonist.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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