Thursday, March 10, 2016

Victor Frankenstein - Bringing Creepy Stuff to life for 200 Years!

Victor Frankenstein
Paul McGuigan
Rated PG-13 - Approx. 110 Min

 - Meet your makers

 - Discover the origin of the monster and his creation.

Alternate Titles:Victor: The Secret History of Dr. Frankenstein

"Igor, you and I shall be at the heart of a scientific enterprise that will change the world. We shall create life out of death!"
                                                                        -Victor Frankenstein                      

Once again, I find myself going to bat for a movie that was much maligned by critics and public alike, yet I found enjoyable.  Victor Frankenstein is a new take on the nearly 200 year old novel by Mary Shelley and while it's certainly not going to end up on any "Best Of" lists, I found it to be an amusing and flashy Frankenstein romp.

Daniel Radcliffe's turn as Igor was exceptional and interestingly, I found his initial appearance in the circus to be a bit of an homage to the 1910 Edison version of The Frankenstein Monster.  Whether or not it was intentional, I don't know...but it was the first thing that I thought of.

In this updated retelling of the legend, Frankenstein finds Igor working as a clown/physician at a traveling circus.  When they first meet, he does not actually have a name.  Frankenstein gives his new friend that name after rescuing him from his abusive employers.

There is a police inspector on their trail as well, due to the fact that their escape from the circus did not go exactly according to plan and some circus folk ended up dead and/or disabled.  Such is the life of a mad scientist, eh?

The pair retreat back to Frankenstein's laboratory, where the good doctor informs Igor that he is in fact, not actually a hunchback, but rather has a large cystic sack of fluid on his back that he proceeds to drain, followed by some rather unorthodox chiropractic procedure.  After all is said and done, Igor is able to stand (mostly) straight with the help of a special harness.

I should probably back up a moment.  The reason that rescues Igor from the circus is because he discovers that Igor has a brilliant mind and is quite skilled in medicine, having performed a dangerous and rapid medical procedure on a fallen trapeze artist with whom he is infatuated.

Anyway, back at the lab, Frankenstein shows Igor the Lazarus Fork.  A special device that when coupled with a solution of certain electrolytes, metals, blah-blah-pseudoscience, etc, can bring life back to dead tissue.  He gives Igor and example with a pair of (I think) simian eyes.  Igor is suitably impressed but informs the good doctor that he's screwed up the nerves which is why the eyes aren't moving in sync.  Frankenstein begins bringing various organs to Igor piecemeal, having him work one organ at a time on his latest biggest experiment:  Bringing and ape back to life.

First of all, this humunculus is one of the most disturbing little critters I have seen in my entire life.  After a night out on the town drinking, Frankenstein brings Igor back to the lab and shows him what he's been working on on this time.  Being the rash and impatient man that he is, Frankenstein immediately takes the ape to the University to show off his findings.  Things predictably go a bit sideways, but none the less, he attracts the attention of a wealthy student there who agrees to fund his further project.  Now armed with all the money he needs, Frankenstein sets off on creating a thinking, intelligent man.

To go further into the plot is to spoil the film and so I shall stop there.  I will say that it was an interesting change to see the story through Igor's eyes.

While there are certainly some flaws in the film and it runs on the longer side, I never once found myself bored.  The cinematography was beautiful and the special effects, though there was a lot of CGI was also excellent.  The Frankenstein Monster is also very cool looking and probably one of my favorite designs.

For a Frankenstein flick, it's actually pretty light on the gore, though there are a few nasty little bits.  The aforementioned eyes.  The various organs and such.

Nope.  PG-13 my friends.

Damn straight!  Frankenstein's Monster!  Not to mention the little humunculus that rampages through the University.

I've got a serious soft spot (I seem to have a lot of those, don't I?) for the classic monsters.  I couldn't even begin to tell you how many Frankenstein movies there are in existence, let alone TV shows, cartoons, comics, video games, books, etc.  There is A LOT of Frankenstein out there.  This is certainly not going to land on the list anywhere near the Universal classics or the Hammer films, but it's a damn sight better than the lackluster '94 Frankenstein with Robert De Niro as the Monster!

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