I didn’t know anything about I, Frankenstein going in. Never watched a trailer or read a review. The only thing I saw was the above cover (which really didn’t inspire any confidence) and I heard it sucked through word of mouth. My expectations were bottom of the barrel. However, it was on sale for 7 bucks and being a 3D Blu-Ray collector, I thought I’d give it a shot.
There’s fun/bad movies that I watch like The Room and many Godzilla films and then there’s the muck that just can’t make it even to that achievement. Where does I, Frankenstien fall? Let’s focus on the plot first to figure it out.
The movie starts out as a sort of sequel to the original Frankenstein. Like in the Novel, Frankenstein’s monster (played by Aaron Eckhart) murdered Frankenstein’s wife and then was pursued by Victor von Frankenstein who dies in that Arctic. First of all, it’s pretty weird to watch an action movie where the hero has murdered a completely innocent woman… so this helps lend itself to the un-likability of the monster in this flick.
Anyway, he wants to be left alone, but is attacked by some creatures and that’s when I, Frankenstein took a complete left turn. I thought this would be a movie about Frankenstein’s monster beating the shit out of vampires, werewolves, or something along those lines. I was all down for that. Instead, we’re treated to the creature fighting some demons and then being saved from these demons by gargoyles. Okay… and then these gargoyles turn into people. And then we’re brought to the gargoyle queen and… well if you can’t make it past this point the whole movie is blown for you. The demons are from hell and the gargoyles are from heaven and they don’t like each other. I really didn’t expect it to be some heaven vs. hell type thing on this scale. I, Frankenstein goes epic in a big way.
The movie then takes another turn where we go ahead two hundred years and Frankenstein’s monster is hanging out in our time. And he has a cool guy haircut and he wears a cool guy hoodie with a cool guy jacket. Basically, he’s cool guy Frankenstein. Oh and to make him even cooler, he uses two metal staffs as weapons.
Sadly, we don’t get any hilarious fish out of water scenes, Frankenstein’s monster (He’s given the name Adam by the Gargoyle Queen, yes there is such a thing), is just there and that’s movie going forward. This movie takes itself way too seriously. Unlike a movie like Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, which is insanely stupid yet fun because it really plays it tongue-in-cheek, I, Frankenstein is serious business. The only way it works is ironically when you realize how silly it all is.
It turns out that the demons want to get Adam for some nefarious purpose, that is to make more monsters like him as hosts for their kind. Meanwhile, the gargoyle people have an uneasy relationship with Adam. On the one hand they want to destroy him so the demons can’t get to him, but on the other they feel like he deserves to live. Yeah, it’s compelling stuff. Also, that’s sarcasm. One thin to note about the whole gargoyle/demon thing is it really felt like they were trying to build a world like that of Underworld… so they could make a ton of sequels. Surprise! It was produced by people who made Underworld. It also helps explain why Adam isn’t fighting vampires and/or werewolves, they already did it before.
Really good takes on the story of Frankenstein (including the original) present the monster as very sympathetic. I, Frankenstein attempts to do that, but it pretty much falls on its face. He’s just this monster guy that goes around killing demons. And he is the only one of his kind so he’s lonely. That’s about it.
The battles between the gargoyles/demons/Adam are pretty cool, despite being a super CGI spooge fest. Basically, it’s a spectacle for spectacle’s sake. Like a demo disc of fun action without a lot of emotional investment needed. Well, none actually. You literally have no investment in the unlikable Frankenstein or the less likable Gargoyle people, and even the less likable demons. The only people you feel sorry for are the regular humans and the movie only shows about five of them. Side Note: It really is odd how the fate of humanity hangs in the balance and there’s so few regular humans on screen.
So far, I’ve been pretty negative with this review, but I actually enjoyed I, Frankenstein.
Now what makes I, Frankenstein an enjoyable film is the 3D. It’s not the best 3D I’ve ever seen, but during the big battle scenes it’s pretty fun stuff. There’s gargoyles flying everywhere, demons jumping around, and when either the demons or gargoyles die there’s a light show of light beams and fire. It’s like a fireworks show.
The 3D is really solid outside of the battle scenes too. The 3D is a conversion, so it’s not perfect. However, as a conversion it’s pretty decent.
The Final Judgment
I, Frankenstein is not a good movie. It’s pretty terrible. I still enjoyed myself, particularly due to the 3D action scenes as well as someone who can appreciate bad movies. By the end of the film I was laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it all.
I, Frankenstein is the kind of movie you stumble across on a Sunday afternoon and you watch it because you’re hung over and don’t want to think.
If you have a 3D TV go ahead and pick this one up. If you don’t… maybe rent it or watch it on TV. Record a podcast about how bad it is. Either way, it’s a decent experience.