Directed by: Stuart Beatle
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Bill Nighy
There’s always been this sort of movie gray area somewhere between the Syfy original horribleness and solid Hollywood genre films. For example you have something like Sharknado (which I’m sorry is just bad) and then there’s Alienon the other end of the spectrum. In between those films you have movies like Equilibrium, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, and Predator 2 (the first Predatorfalls of the really good side of these films I won’t argue on that point). These are films that aren’t necessarily good but they do have something that makes them a cut above the Syfy Channels Saturday night trash, either acting, action, style, or at least an attempt to do something innovative with story. Sometimes it could just simply be elevated style. I, Frankenstein is most assuredly not a good movie. The acting is often wooden and the entire script is made up of long segments of exposition rather than true character interactions and the final bit of dialogue is laughable. It feels like the characters are mostly just making speeches between action scenes. So no this is not a good movie, but whether it’s a compliment or not, it’s not nearly as bad of a movie as I expected it to be.
Aron Eckhart plays Frankenstein’s monster, but not the square headed version you know and love. This is the monster 200 years in the future. He’s smart, he’s super strong, and he’s nearly immortal living in an alternate version of Earth much more Gothic than our own. He’s been shunned by humanity for the last 200 years and because of that he has traveled as far away from people as he can get. The problem is while he has been gone the world has been invaded by demons leaving Gargoyles, yup Gargoyles, to battle the evil and protect humanity. The monster has something these demons want though which forces him out of hiding and into the fight. The one thing that really seems to be missing in this equation are humans. There are exactly three in the whole movie. One of them gets killed early on, one of them is a bit player with almost no dialogue and nothing to do, and the third is a scientist played by Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck). She’s unknowingly working for the demons researching a way for them to succeed in their endgame and she wants to study Frankensteins’ monster because she also knows he has the one component she needs to succeed.
Who would have thought back in the early days of his career that Eckhart would end up in action movies? The thing is that he can’t do more standard action but offbeat films like this seem to fit his demeanor somehow. As bad as the writing often his he does make this character work. Yvonne Strahovski is pretty much wasted in this role. She has tons of on screen charisma though and by the end of the film you kind of want to know what she’ll do next. She proved in Chuck that she can handle fight scenes so it would have been cool to see the director take a little more advantage of that. Speaking of the action scenes though, there are some good sequences and while the special fx are on a lower budget tthey also have a ton of style. Sets also feature tons of great detail too. There’s plenty of eye candy in the film.
This is director Stuart Beatle’s second directorial effort and his first action film and with that in mind I, Frankenstein could have been much worse. Previously Beatle has had tons of writing credits but most of those are on films that fall into this same space such as GI Joe and Pirates of the Caribbean. So really we shouldn’t be shocked at the ahem “flaws” in this film. So yes the story is kind of a mess and often the dialogue is laughable but there are fun action scenes, cool style, and when there are character moments they aren’t half bad. When I first saw this film I gave it a much worse number rating but upon reconsideration I’ve actually raised my score just a little. Maybe it’s like wine, it gets better with age.