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I, Frankenstein is a tale of good and evil in the most black and white sort of way. To get things rolling, we need a man in the middle, and that is—you guessed it—Dr. Frankenstein’s monster (played by Aaron Eckhart). The movie sets off at a hectic pace with a short recap of the original Mary Shelley tale. But immediately after the creature places his master (Aden Young) in the grave, he is attacked by evil beings that seem to want him for other purposes. Not so fast you demons! Suddenly the opposing team takes to the field in the form of strangely digitized gargoyles that quickly whisk the “science experiment” away to a cool looking gothic cathedral.
Now it’s time to hear the back-story and rules to this game. The gargoyles, led by Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto), have been locked in an eternal battle with 666 demons that were sent to earth after Lucifer was booted out of heaven. These bad guys, led by Naberius (Bill Nighy), are particularly excited about Adam (the name Leonore has provided to Frankenstein’s unnamed child) because he is proof that life can be created by mortal man with only a few spare parts lying about the lab. Even better, the good doctor’s detailed journal is also in play and if Naberius can get his hands on this beastly cookbook, he can create an army of morgue-marching minions who will start “a war that will bring an end to mankind.” At the conclusion of the explanation Adam claims an agnostic role and opts not to choose sides.
With the gauntlets down the battle sequences begin. Fortunately keeping score is fairly easy. When a demon is killed, it explodes into flames and head straight to Hell. On the other hand, the heavenly gargoyles finish their mortality in a flash of bluish white light that levitates them into the clouds. Meanwhile Adam is the ball between both teams that each wants to capture. And the creators of this film are hoping his apathy will keep us interested enough to sit the film out to the end.
From a family perspective there’s not much here to keep teens from contributing their dollars to this production. There is a great deal of violence with a litany of stabbings and beatings (Adam’s favorite implement of destruction is a couple of blunt steel rods). Yet, with the aforementioned illuminated deaths, there is little blood with the exception of an explicit injury on Adam’s already patchwork back. The script contains only a single profanity in the form of a scatological expletive and no sexual content—aside from Adam’s bare chest.
If this glib description of the synopsis hasn’t already left you with the impression that this movie suffers from a lack of artistic ingenuity, let me assure you this won’t be showing up on award’s ballots for 2014. Stilted dialogue and a pounding musical score do nothing to help the fact that we likely could care less about what happens to these characters. Add an absolute lack of humor and it’s certain the only person left in stitches will be the immortal monster.
I, Frankenstein is rated PG-13: for sequences of intense fantasy action and violence throughout.
Director: Stuart Beattie
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Bill Nighy, Jai Courtney
Studio: 2014 Lionsgate
Website: Official site for I, Frankenstein.