Saturday, February 8, 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014)

As I, Frankenstein begins, Frankenstein's monster (Aaron Eckhart) states that the cold does not affect him. I beg to differ with Mr. Frankenstein's Monster. In the immortal words of Mr. Freeze, "Everything freezes." I'm pretty sure we can still make a Frankenstein popsicle out of you.

This is one of the many times you'll need to shut your brain off to get through I, Frankenstein. Criticizing I, Frankenstein for being dumb is like complaining water has too much moisture. Can you really get on a dumb movie for being exactly that?

The setup for I, Frankenstein reads like it's straight from a video game, and if you take it on that level it's interesting enough. Demons and gargoyles have been fighting a war for eternity. Who knew that the gargoyles were the good guys; they're so scary looking. The demons want Frankenstein's monster because his existence shows that life can be created without a soul. Unlocking the secret to how he was given life would allow demons to reanimate bodies that can be possessed by the souls of descended demons, giving them the upper hand in the war.

The gargoyles save Frankenstein's monster from being captured by the demons, and he's given the whole rundown by the gargoyle queen (Miranda Otto). She names him "Adam", because "Jesus Frankenstein" was already taken, I guess. Adam wants no part in their war, but has no problem with killing demons that pursue him. Centuries of isolation has honed his fighting skills, and matched with his superhuman strength and durability, he's an undead weapon.

Maybe Kevin "General" Grevioux's (who also has a small role in the film) graphic novel explains their universe better, but in the movie too many things don't hold up to any kind of scrutiny. If you spend too much time thinking about them, which you shouldn't, your brain goes into a derp loop that lasts until it's over. Like the gargoyles get mad at Adam for killing a demon in plain sight of humans, yet they do this many times themselves. When demons and gargoyles die, they do so in blinding red and bluish white flares. Are these things invisible to humans? Plus, much of this happens at night, making it look like a fireworks display. I guess nobody noticed their several large scale battles either? The gargoyles live in this giant cathedral fortress in the middle of the city. Is that a church people can attend, or is it just some huge building that everyone ignores? And why does Adam have superhuman strength and durability anyway? Wouldn't a body thrown together from 12 others be inherently weaker and easier to hurt? Does he need to sleep or eat? Uh oh, it's happening again...derp!

With those colorful effects and fight scenes, its aesthetic is very video game-esque and I found myself wishing I was playing this game instead of watching a movie. I even mimed using a controller a few times on instinct. The special effects aren't the greatest, but the sheer number of CG creatures and brightness kind of covers for that.

Bill Nighy, as the leader of the demons, tries to ham it up as best he can in a somewhat scenery chewing performance, but the material is beneath him. The makers of this film must have compromising pictures of Aaron Eckhart somewhere, as that's the only reason you can explain his (and several others) appearance in this film. Eckhart grunts his way through the film for the most part, and doesn't look like he wants to be there. I feel the worst for Yvonne Strahovski as this probably isn't what she had in mind after five seasons of Chuck. I'm still holding out hope that someone at Marvel/Disney casts her as Ms. Marvel. At least she's going to be in 24: Live Another Day, so there's that.

About the only thing I'll credit the movie for is not going the obvious route and putting Strahovski and Eckhart in a love scene. Eckhart has a few shirtless scenes where she's patching him up, so naturally I kept waiting for them to kiss and then eventually have sex. Thankfully this is avoided entirely.

I, Frankenstein is a movie based off a graphic novel, that should have been made into a video game instead. Not that I was expecting much, but it's one of the dumbest movies I've seen in long time. It's deafening, dull, and unintelligible, but ooooh, bright colors!

0.5 (out of 5) Death Stars

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