Stuart Beattie has been part of the equation for quite a number of Hollywood blockbusters for the past 10 years. He is one of the writers of the immensely successful, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. If you have watched and liked G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), Australia (2008), 30 Days of Night (2007), Derailed (2005) or Collateral (2004), he was the writer or part of the team responsible for their screenplays. After a string of successful films in the box office, how would Beattie fair writing his adaption of I, Frankenstein, originally a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux (partly responsible for Underworld story), and also be the same person directing it?
The movie gives a new angle on the Mary Shelley’s fabled re-animated corpse, created by the mad scientist, Victor Frankenstein. The lonely immortalized creature gets caught in the middle of the war between defenders of earth and the heaven, the gargoyles, and hell’s demons. The demon prince, Naberius, wants to capture and study the creature, now named, Adam, by the compassionate gargoyle queen, for his ultimate plan to create an army of possessed supernatural corpses to takeover earth. Well, Adam just wants a soulmate, and to be left alone. This leaves the gargoyles in a bind on whether to kill Adam, or have him protected. The story seems intriguing but most early reviews have already given a thumbs down to I,Frankenstein, and I certainly understand why.
While the story is intriguing and the cast of famous actors of Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, and Aden Young, were adept at delivering their roles, the action-fantasy movie lacked finesse in its direction, and didn’t hold tightly like a well oiled engine. Some plot-holes and poor character development had me irritated. While Beattie chose to leave out a lot of Adam background story and assumes the audiences already knows the fable, he fails to convey Adam’s loneliness and his development of a soul which ultimately thwarts Naberius’ plan. Also not well developed is Adam’s apparent agility and strength. Action seekers certainly want to see more of the brute maniacal power of a muscular corpse with little conscience and pain. What the director does is the complete opposite in a terrible scene depicting Adam flinching a little when his apparent love interest sutures him up.
While Eckhart is a good actor, better known for his non-fantasy roles, he lacked the bruteness and bitterness needed by the Frankenstein monster, Adam. The actor had to fill shoes that were too large for his feet. Maybe better with better make up, and a battered corpse bodysuit costume might have him the edge. Never mind the muscles.
Besides better character development, if Beattie had made I,Frankenstein a lot darker, the movie would have been a lot more enjoyable.
For those who like listening to posh British accents, watching computer animated graphics, and get aroused by the gothic atmosphere ala Underworld series, then I, Frankenstein will certainly please. Those interested in the Filipino martial art of Kali sticks will also enjoy the choreographed fight scenes which were few and far between.
In Asian countries like Malaysia celebrating the Chinese New Year, the movie will provide good entertainment for those on holiday. I, Frankenstein is now screening in your local theaters