That’s right. I went there.
Because, oh my God. This movie.
Normally I don’t pay attention to reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. If a movie looks good, I’ll go see it no matter what the reviewers say. But there comes a time when reviews must be consulted. Especially when showing times for a movie show up only three times at six different theatres.
There is a problem there.
There is also a problem when a movie only gets 6% on a review site. And also looks like a script snatch from the previews.
And it was.
Before I begin, those of you who have been around this blog for a while, know my review policy. For those of you who don’t, or who haven’t been around long enough, the short and sweet is; I will never give a book or movie five stars. It defeats the purpose of a review. How annoying is it to go into Amazon and see a five star review consisting of OH MY GOD THIS THING IS AWESOME (insert your own choice of spelling here). Conversely, one star reviews amount to the same thing. So, my rating system ranges from 1.5 to 4.5 with 4.5 being the highest I will ever give something.
And now you know.
Back to the movie.
This movie needed a dose of humour like reality television needs to die. And I am absolutely serious about that. I, Frankenstein took itself so seriously it actually hurt my head. Normally, movies will follow emotions in a high/low pattern. Humor helps to break things up so the audience doesn’t get overwhelmed, and it also serves to help us identify with a character. This movie did none of those things. Nothing against Aaron Eckhart, who I’m sure did the best he could with a thing that passed itself off as a script, but it wouldn’t have hurt the guy to be sarcastic. Even a little.
In the movie, which gives an oblique nod to the source material in the beginning, Frankenstein’s monster is a soulless man who wanders to the farthest corners of the earth after killing Victor’s wife Elizabeth in retribution for the mad scientist creating him. A great start for what I hoped would have been an equally awesome character in league with anti-heroes like Riddick or Bruce Banner.
All too soon, I was all too disappointed and very nearly bashing my head on the nearest wall because the movie just. wouldn’t. stop.
To save myself from having to explain everything, remember the trailer where it said ‘from the same guy that did Underworld?’ yeah? okay, so you have the plot of the first movie which was vampires v. werewolves (or Lycans if you want to get fancy about it), same thing here. Sort of. In place of the vampires we have demons.
And in place of the werewolves we have gargoyles.
Who, by the way, can turn into humans when they’re not flying around protecting an unnamed city which looks like a mixture of France, London, and New York, and is the coolest concept ever.
but was sadly underutilised and relegated to the good v. evil category with Bill Nighy once again reclaiming his role as supreme bad demon guy bent on destroying the world. Because that’s what every bad guy in every 80’s/90’s cartoon series does.
Got that? Good. Because there’s another part to this story. If you remember Van Helsing, you’ve found the missing plot piece.
Remember how in Van Helsing Dracula was going to use the newly werewolf-ed Van Helsing’s untapped werewolf rage to give life to his undead children via 1787 Frankenstein’s monster technology? You do? Great! Because that’s exactly what Bill Nighy’s prince of the Demons Niberius was going to do with a bunch of corpses (all bandaged up and hanging from millions of iron beams) using Frankenstein’s monster (named Adam because you really need to understand that this is a biblical movie where Demons are bad and descend back into Hell when they’re killed and Gargoyles are the good guys, right up there with Archangels, and ascend to Heaven when they’re killed) and his secret to life to do it. Throw in Victor Frankenstein’s journal as a plot and sorry excuse for a character development device, a Queen of the gargoyles who acts as acolyte between Heaven and the woefully outnumbered gargoyles, a female scientist who might have made either herself or a random number of corpses into a companion for Adam (we’re not sure because that particular plot line was never fully explored), and the gargoyle Gideon. Gideon was the right hand man that should have built a sarcastic rapport with Adam. He SHOULD have been so much more than the betrayer and the predictable side kick who gets sent to kill Adam by his mistress and who winds up getting killed.
The caveat to the movie is the knowledge that Adam (I really, really hate that name) has no soul. And of course, demons can only possess bodies with no soul, so, there it is, the giant tie in that’s supposed to make the movie work. Peppered with dialogue that falls excrutiatingly flat, a barely there plot, and characters who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing but pretend they do, this movie is a cool concept turned cock-up by a screen writer that should have remained director.
The whole movie was a shoulda, coulda, woulda scenario.
And is exactly what I was beginning to think around ten minutes into the movie. I was in my seat silently re-arranging plots, re-doing characters, twisting scenes, and desperately needing to bang my head against the wall, because surely no movie could absolutely be a mixture of blatant plot snatching and re-telling like this one.
I will say this; as terrible as this movie was, it made me plan to reach out and pick up the comic book. If only in a hope and a prayer that paper is better than screen.