Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Victor Frankenstein: Campy, Hokey - Still, Not Your Typical Frankenstein Remake

Movie Review: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Enough already of the movie remakes! Victor Frankenstein is one of those. Hollywood is hurting for good scripts - I get it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Victor Frankenstein features James McAvoy as the named character, now as the rich-kid medical student who doesn't feel fulfilled by his medical studies and is failing, so he decides to go off on his own and research bringing the dead back to life. Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick, a bumbling but brilliant hunchback picked up from the circus, who creates chaos during an act that results in a death. Hunted down for that murder, Frankenstein gives the Radcliffe character the name of his "traveling" roommate, Igor, and invites him to be his assistant. Turns out the hunched back comes from an abscess along "Igor's" spine, which Frankenstein removes and then straightens his spine. Lame excuse to give Radcliffe the Igor name to fit in with the Frankenstein franchise (sorry, pun not intended, but we'll keep it).

What is unique about this version is that instead of just working on a re-animating a human, this story begins with Frankenstein attempting to reanimate other dead animals first. Also new, Frankenstein and Igor are pursued by a policeman driven by evidence from the death at the circus that leads him to believe someone is toying with nature, against his puritan beliefs. In some ways, he is almost a caricature of Sherlock Holmes in his methods and his intensity. It isn't until Frankenstein presents his findings before the royal medical society, fails, and is driven out of London that he moves to a remote location that Frankenstein pursues the re-animation of a human. Igor has given up on the effort for moral reasons, but then suddenly has a change of heart and seeks out Frankenstein again.

All of the elements of this story converge at the coastal location as a strong storm approaches from the sea and Frankenstein attempts to bring a human form back to life using lightning. Igor arrives in time to assist, while the police officer arrives in time to try to stop him. I won't spoil the ending other than to comment that the closing was hokey.

There is a love interest in the story, Lorelei. Instead of being for Frankenstein, Lorelei is for Igor. That's totally different, as is the entire story being told from Igor's perspective.

I've never been a fan of "monster" stories, of which I would label any Frankenstein story. This version was sufficiently different to make it a diversion, but parts of Victor Frankenstein were so campy or hokey as to make them a distraction. So I can't recommend this film wholeheartedly. Perhaps come Halloween, if you want a silly monster movie for the fun of it, this one would make a good chuckle.

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