Review: I, Frankenstein


**Spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers. If you don’t want this movie spoiled I suggest you stop reading***

If there’s one thing I like more than a good movie it’s a really bad movie. Like most people with two eyes, the trailer for I, Frankenstein showed its potential as the frontrunner for Worst Movie of 2014. Why was this movie even made. Seriously, who was eager for an updated Frankenstein movie?

A few notable things before I get to the review: I didn’t splurge on the 3D. I was already burning $7 and that was my limit for the day. Also, there was a guy who clapped through the entire movie. He even clapped during the trailers. He was either easily amused or auditioning for a show called The Most Annoying Man on Earth.

I, Frankenstein opens like a bad movie with the flashback/narration/montage trifecta. We learn it’s 1795 as we see Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart) walking in the cold as we hear him narrating about how he was built by Dr. Frankenstein who left him for dead. He’s survives being dropped in a lake only to return and kill Dr. Frankenstein’s wife Elizabeth. Out for revenge, the doctor hunts down his creation only to meet his own demise out in the cold.

Cut to Frankie burying the Dr. Popsicle in his family plot when all the sudden these vampire looking things show up. One of creatures face burns off to reveal they’re not vamps, but demons. This should be terrifying; instead it would be the first time I laughed out loud during the movie. Of the reported $65 million dollar budget, they must’ve spent $100 total on the demon mask. They’re absolutely horrible. It’s the worst sweaty rubber mask since Wishmaster. The demons are a huge part of the movie and there’s a reason you don’t see them in the trailers. The IRS may need to look into where the $65 million production budget went. Maybe they paid Eckhart $40 million for his two pages of dialogue.

The premise for the story is even more ridiculous than the mask. The Gargoyle Order and The Demon Horde are fighting an unseen war between “good” and “evil” and blah blah blah we’ve seen this in 100 movies, enough already. The demons want Frankenstein so they can recreate him and fill empty corpses with demon souls that are trapped in hell. They can’t use regular dead bodies; the bodies have to be soulless AND animated. You know, like Frankenstein.  This makes no sense, but that’s the world this movie created. Apparently 200 years and all the resources in the world isn’t enough for the horde to figure out how to reanimate dead bodies. They clearly didn’t spend much of their 200 years in college.

The demons needed Frankenstein and/or Dr. Frankenstein’s journal so they could figure out how to recreate that magic. Most of the film is the horde trying to capture Frankie or his magic book of notes.

Of course a plot that ludicrous would produce a few laugh out loud moments. My favorites include:

  •  Leonore (Miranda Otto) telling Frankenstein, “You don’t have a name. I’ll call you Adam. So Adam….”. What?!?! She just gave him a name. She just gave him a name and the name she picked was Adam. Unbelievable. What made this scene even worse –  people keep calling him Adam for the rest of the film like it’s really his name.
  • “Adam” walking into a club and immediately following a guy who turns into a demon. How did he know he was a demon? How? Does he have demon radar? Did his weapons glow like in The Lord of the Rings? I needed answers and the movie had zero.
  • Whenever a gargoyle was killed they would ascend to heaven. A blue light shot up in the sky that was very reminiscent of This is The End. I chuckled because I kept imaging the gargoyles with a “Take Yo Panties Off!” t-shirt on as they floated away.
  • Adam snuck around the baddies building that has 1,000 security guards but no cameras. Not one person caught him walking around. Not one.
  • Adam somehow learning how to read.
  • Aaron Eckhart’s unnecessary P90X abs scene.
  • The corpses having digital boxes that read “Reanimation %” on it. Why would they need that? WHY?
  • The gigantic mouse in the lab they tested on. He was the size of a small dog.
  • Every time those rubbery looking demon heads popped up. They’re hilariously bad. I’ve seen independent horror films with better demon mask than those.

By far the best part of the film is Bill Nighy (About Time, Hot Fuzz) as the evil demon leader Naberius. Nighy hammed it up the entire movie but at least he tried to give some life to his character unlike Aaron Eckhart who spoke in a constipated Batman voice the entire movie.

The final battle pits the gargoyles against Adam (for some convoluted reason) who leads them to the demons and the gazillion corpses they have hidden underground.  Why the gargoyles just didn’t blow up the building is beyond me, but that wouldn’t have given us a final battle with more bad graphics, more bad rubber mask, and more blue tractor beams from heaven.

The epic fight between Adam and Naberius is a bit of a snoozer. After Naberius chants some unholy stuff, smoke circles Adam it looks like he’s possessed. Why does it look like that? Because we see a demon soul shoot into his eyes. Nope! He says something snarky and carves a blessed symbol on Naberius stomach causing him to blow up. I mean he really blew up. It was a Michael Bay level explosion that took out the entire building.

Of course the movie ends with another constipated monologue that ends with the line “I, Frankenstein.” This movie didn’t deserve to end any other way.

There was a chance for I, Frankenstein to be decent. There was the slight possibility it was going to be a cool Steampunk version of Frankenstein, instead it’s a bloated SyFy Original film masquerading as a Hollywood motion picture.

The horrifically bad graphics and terrible dialogue make this movie almost unwatchable. Is it worthy of the 5% it currently sits at on Rotten Tomatoes? No, but it’s pretty bad. Nighy’s performance alone puts the film at least at 15%.   And despite Aaron Eckhart’s mailed in performance, I want to see him get another shot as a lead in an action film. I still believe in Harvey Dent.

Grade: D