Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#JustaQuickiePlease: Victor Frankenstein Review

Excuse the pun, but this story, both in print and on screen, has been done to death.  In fact, it has been rebooted and regurgitated so many times, portrayed from every plausible vantage point, that it would be nearly impossible to conceive of a way to resurrect it in some innovative incarnation.   So, I went into this with as much expectation as one would expect, factoring in an almost guarantee of disappointment.  I was pleasantly surprised, that this twice-told tale was given a very fresh, engaging, and darkly humorous take on Mary Shelly's literary classic.   Instead of focusing on the monster or solely his maker, this film cunningly and quite endearingly trained its eye on Frankenstein's outcast of an assistant.  Here, we aren't treated to the same grotesque, miscreant that, over time and telling, has become a caricature of itself.  Rather, director McGuigan successfully fleshes out the hapless minion and reimagines him as an oddly intelligent, authentic, and wholly captivating soul who is trying to find a purpose and place in a harsh world.   It is a touching yet darkly conflicting story of his origin and relationship with the man, who in this retelling stole him away from obscurity and oppression to become part of his genius and madness.  It is so definitively written that it quickly and impressively moves from being the standard soulless horror fare to a poignant tale of codependency.  Radcliffe and McAvoy deliver stellar performances as Igor and the good doctor, respectively, and their portrayals literally carry this feature.  But unfortunately, even their remarkable talents and a well-crafted build-up can't eclipse the predictable, utter letdown of a conclusion that beleaguered this feature.  You just can't escape the monster in the room, or lab if you prefer, and when we arrive there, it feels all too wrote.   The effects are solid, starkly eerie in many cases while avoiding the typical over indulgences.  Although, I have to admit, the creature looks like a more fearsome version of Van Helsing’s kindly beast.  2 out of 5 Kernels; an A for effort and experimentation; but fails, by the end, at trying to create something very different but stymied by an unavoidable redundancy.  
 

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