Sunday, January 4, 2015

I, Frankenstein Goes to Camp Gothic

Having missed my opportunity to see I, Frankenstein at the theater, I was delighted to find that it has recently become available for streaming on Netflix. It's been more than ten years since I've read the novel so I mentally scrambled to remember how it ended as the movie took up where the story part of the novel left off in the arctic. I thought that was a pretty cool idea! The monster, played by Aaron Eckhart, carries Victor Frankenstein's dead body back to civilization to be buried with his ancestors, which was very compassionate and forgiving of the monster. That's where the monster's soft side flees the scene as he's rudely attacked by demons. And that's when the fun begins!

The dark gothic graveyard atmosphere remains shadowy and dark as the monster meets gargoyles who inhabit the coolest, darkest cathedral possibly ever to exist in a film. The relentless dark is only slightly relieved by shades of gray, and the somber focused tone of the characters reminded me of the wonderfully dark Underworld movies, which I later learned were written or co-written by the same man, Kevin Grevioux. However, the melodramatic angry narration reminded me of movies like Sin City and The Spirit by Frank Miller.

The effects were cool as the defeated demons took a fiery whirling descent into hell and the gargoyles came to life and flew, but I had no idea I, Frankenstein was going to be so deliciously campy! Therefore, I was a little confused when the monster was so naturally adept at martial arts. There were many, many hand-to-hand combat scenes much like Underworld. Some of the dialogue throughout the movie was laugh-out-loud entertaining. When the monster is topless in order for the obvious love-interest, the scientist, played by Yvonne Strahovski, who is replicating Frankenstein's reanimation work, to tend to his wounds; wounds that never needed tending in the previous 200 years of combat the I was surprised to say the least at the monster's scar-strewn washboard stomach. It was  pleasantly amazing that Victor Frankenstein's miraculous abilities at sewing all those body parts together created a buffed physique that a team of modern day plastic surgeons and personal trainers would find a challenge.

The only brightly-lit scenes were in the lab where the demon prince Nebarius, played by Bill Nighy commanded scientists to repeat Frankenstein's work in order to create bodies for his army of demons to inhabit. The fight scene in the lab was cool when the monster inevitably fights and defeats Nebarius and saves humanity. 

Apparently, the movie didn't do well at the box office, but I'd really like to see a sequel. I was expecting a dark brooding monster searching for peace, but the angry savior looking for a fight was good too.

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