Victor Frankenstein, 2015.
Directed by Paul McGuigan.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, Mark Gatiss, and Charles Dance.
Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.
Victor Frankenstein is a film that really doesn’t give you much to say, because just like Igor mentions in the opening narration, this is a story we’ve seen before. Following in the footsteps of pretty much every recent reimagining of classic stories literally no one is asking for updated versions of, we are promised that we don’t know all of the details and that we are going to get a closer look at what really happened. As an aside, this might just be the most ridiculous statement ever considering that it’s all already fiction.
To the credit of Victor Frankenstein however, this take on the mythology does have its own twists and divergences from Mary Shelley’s beloved tale, but the problem here is that none of it is very interesting outside of centering the narrative on the perspective of Igor rather than the mad scientist himself. Daniel Radcliffe also makes for a smart choice to play the new-found associate, as he is charming with or without a hunchback.
Instead, the story focuses on things without ever really making them emotionally connect or resonate. Igor becomes infatuated with a beautiful trapeze artist from the circus they both work at, eventually saving her life and entering into a romantic subplot with her, but there are no sparks. Nothing here even remotely feels like an engaging relationship viewers can invest their interest in. Even when these scenes get some attention and lengthy dialogue exchanges, everything just somewhat falls flat. It’s more of a fault on the script than anything, because both actors are actually rather endearing in their roles.
Whenever Victor Frankenstein isn’t failing at blossoming a love story, it’s depicting the abnormal friendship between the titular scientist ambitious to create life out of unused animal parts from the aforementioned circus. James McAvoy plays the role like a hyperactive crack addict though, and rarely can be taken seriously, even when the movie tries to hit some dramatic beats during the final act. This rendition of Frankenstein reminds me of that friend everyone usually has that they are embarrassed to be seen with in public, because they just know the person is going to make an ass of himself at some point.
There’s also a bunch of uninteresting characters trying to thwart progression on the experiments, whether it’s out of respect for their morals or for their own predictable personal gain. Charles Dance also shows up for one scene to berate Frankenstein for slacking off his college medical studies in a rather pointless and aimless scene, though it’s nice to know Tywin Lannister is still getting work.
What I will say is that Victor Frankenstein tries to progress through its plot as fast as possible, packing in a decent amount of entertaining action sequences. The final sequence towards the end where our duo must confront the beast (it looks wholly generic but can shrug off bullets like a badass) they have created is exciting, even if their game-plan is as silly as running up to the creature and stabbing him with a bunch of different metal rods and subsequently getting knocked around like rag dolls. Maybe we’re just excited because we know the movie is almost over.
I suppose there are also some nice costumes to look at, along with some interesting looking Gothic Victorian era buildings. The point with all of this is that Victor Frankenstein isn’t a bad movie, it’s certainly not a good one, and nowhere near as torturous to endure as last year’s I, Frankenstein, but it’s bland, dull, and forgettable, despite doing its damnedest to invigorate excitement. At best, it’s some over-the-top campy fun that’s family-friendly enough for a Thanksgiving viewing with your loved ones.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook