Every once-and-awhile a film comes along that I have high hopes for. So much so, that my brain is torn in half when said film ends up being a a complete dud. This goes even further when the writer behind said film is someone that I respect and am a fan of. ‘Victor Frankenstein from start to finish completely did this exact thing to me. While most my reviews are posted the week of release this one ended up being one that I didn’t want to be and found myself apologizing for. After letting it sink in, I realized that the hatched job must be done in order to save readers from wasted money and an unneeded sequel.
And then the title card came in. Eeeesh. In this scene, Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) turns to ask who the stranger was that he had just met, only to have James McAvoy turn back toward Igor and have the title card of “Victor Frankenstein” go across the screen. It was almost too silly for my brain to take in.
The story follows Igor and his origins as a mistreated circus performer. During his time being abused at the circus he turns his interest to the study of medicine. When Victor Frankenstein frees him from his captivity, he takes Igor under his wing and partners with him to breathe life into the dead.
I enjoy the the story being told from Igor’s point of view but the movie finds itself trying to move into too many directions at the same time. The biggest problem comes in the form of a out of control McAvoy hamming it up real good for the camera. I’m a McAvoy fan, usually he is great, but this film had him overacting so much that at one point I wondered if he thought this was in a broadway play. He was definitely in his own world on a completely different page from the rest of the actors.
Radcliffe does a good job as Igor and brings a fresh take on the character that we have come to know over the years. This take on Igor takes the deformities out early in the story thanks to Victor’s knowledge of medicine.
The design of the monster at the end of the film is a very cool look. Classic elements are mixed with a new hulking mass to give us a monster that is worthy of the title “Frankenstein’s monster.” The production design and costumes also go a long way to create the world that the film needed.
Unfortunately, this is all that can be said about this movie that is positive. It is a mess. The narrative is never sure which direction it wants to move in, instead of focusing on the getting to the monster, it prolongs that until the very last ten minutes of the movie. It is obviously trying to pander to the world of kitschy sequels, franchises and origin store trend that we are currently in. Instead of making a movie that stands on its own, this one looks too far ahead and assumes that “Victor Frankenstein part 2” will be able to finish the story and give it a leg to stand on. It was an overzealous move on its part and one that I don’t thing will be rewarded. When Frankenstein fans go see a movie they don’t usually want to wait a year or two for the story to reach the “Frankenstein’s monster phase” of a story that has nothing else to offer.
Even the literary metaphors and social commentary that made Frankenstein a classic are all put on the back burner leaving an entire movie made of fodder. With a cast and writing team like the one that was involved in ‘Victor Frankenstein,’ it is painful to now know that it didn’t work. Much like Frankensteins monster this movie should question how it came into being and seriously ponder on why it continues to live.