Frankenstein fails to come alive

Review Fantasy-action

I, FRANKENSTEIN (PG13)

The story: The monster (Aaron Eckhart) created by Frankenstein finds himself caught in a battle between demons and gargoyles. The gargoyles seek to protect mankind and are led by queen Leonore (Miranda Otto). She names the creature Adam when the gargoyles rescue him from an attack. Fast-forward to the present day and Adam has had enough of hiding. He takes the battle to those who work for the demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), including unsuspecting scientist Terra (Yvonne Strahovski). Adapted by American actor-writer Kevin Grevioux from his graphic novel of the same name.

Not only did Frankenstein discover the secret of life, it would also appear that he discovered the secret to eternal youth as well. Adam might be stitched together from various corpses, but he does not age or putrefy over decades and centuries. Actor Eckhart (The Dark Knight, 2008) even gives him a certain craggy sexiness with a patchwork of scars on his face and body and a ripped torso.

Little wonder that Naberius wants to abduct him for his own nefarious purposes.

It is ostensibly to animate an army of corpses, but it is probably to improve his own looks, given that demons have an unfortunate tendency to look hideous.

Unfortunately, the movie takes itself too seriously. Even though the fate of the world hangs in the balance (what? again?), director Stuart Beattie (scriptwriter for Australia, 2008) is not able to invest these stakes with much urgency or excitement.

There is also a glaring inconsistency over the critical plot point of whether Adam has a soul. On the one hand, only a creature with no soul can kill a gargoyle, who then ascends to the heavens. At the same time, a creature with no soul is susceptible to its body being occupied by another consciousness. Adam seems to waver between having a soul and having none - whenever it is convenient.

As the scientist searching for the secret of life, Strahovski (from TV's spy comedy Chuck, 2007-2012) injects some lightness into the proceedings, even if she is there mostly as a kind of romantic distraction for Adam and, of course, to walk into danger.

There are also some cool battle scenes. Plus, the shots of the gargoyles transforming into human warriors are pretty nifty. Still, there is not enough here to bring this movie to life.


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