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“I, Frankenstein” Fails to Overcome its Demons

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Aaron Eckhard stars as the titular Frankenstein monster in this modern retelling of the tale. | Courtesy of Lionsgate

Not since that horrible movie “O” has Hollywood bastardized classic literature as much as they have with “I, Frankenstein.” What might have seemed like a good idea for a graphic novel does not really work well when condensed into a 90-minute movie, and that issue was realized for me early on when I found myself regretting my decision to see it. Truthfully, it was either this or “Hercules,” so I guess I get bonus points for picking the lesser of two evils.

Indeed, the time limit seems to be the film’s major problem, as an hour and a half is just not enough time to tell a story as in-depth as that of Frankenstein’s monster, no matter what new spin it might have. We are given about ten minutes of back-story on how the evil doctor created the monster, then regretted his decision and tossed it over a bridge, thinking it died in the rivers below. We soon see that the monster survived however, and sought revenge against his creator. This, in itself, would make for a pretty standard revenge flick, but then we find out that there are now demons walking around the earth, wanting to find Frankenstein’s monster in order to make it a part of their plan. Yep, demons. Mary Shelley is probably rolling around in her grave right about now.

After Frankenstein’s battle with some of Hell’s finest, we find out there has been a battle between good and evil going on for centuries. Or really, gargoyles and evil. There are gargoyles in this flick too, in case you are taking notes. The gargoyles want Frankenstein’s monster to join their team and beat the demons. They find Frankenstein’s diary, and decide to lock it up in order to stop the demons from finding it. The gargoyle queen even gives the monster a new name, Adam, because everyone has to name their pets. Of course Adam decides to go out on his own, and from there, a montage shaves off a good five minutes of storytelling in order to bring us into the 21st century.

Once we arrived in the modern age I thought the story would start to get better, but alas no such luck. We are briefly introduced to more demons, as well as their leader, who has been trying to copy Frankenstein’s re-animation process. Then who I can only assume to be the female love interest appear; since she is hot, blonde and a smart doctor. I could not really tell though, she was only in the scene for about four minutes. That was another issue with the movie, the female lead has a severe lack of screen time until the final third part of the film. And even then, the connection between her and Adam is not really all that passionate or intense. I want to root for her, but I found it hard to care whether or not she made it to the end of the movie.

Of course good always beats evil when it comes to Hollywood storytelling, and Adam finds himself being accepted by the gargoyles as more than just the soulless monster they always thought he was. Again, like the rest of the movie, the ending feels rushed and far too scattered, almost like the director had no idea what he wanted to actually happen until right before they filmed the scene. A couple of close-up shots of Adam’s face and some voiceovers, and this movie ends with more questions than answers.

Despite how horrible I found this movie to be, the visual aspects serve as somewhat of a respite to how bad the story is. The effects were pretty well done for what appears to be a lower budget movie, but pretty and shiny things can only go so far. At the end of the day we can add this to the growing list of book adaptations that Hollywood has managed to screw up, and I can chalk up the seven dollars I spent at NCG to another life lesson, right up there with “Movie 43” and “Ride Along.”