I have to start by telling you that I’ve been a long time appreciator of the CGI heavy, PG13(ish), sexy action/horror/adventure genre. I spent almost every other weekend in middle school seeing movies like Van Helsing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alien Vs. Predator, Day After Tomorrow, King Arthur, Hellboy, the Blade Trilogy, XXX, Doom, Queen of the Damned, Dracula 2000… you get the picture. I wanted to give a disclaimer that I have a youthful affinity for them and I tend to be more forgiving of this type of film than others.
Victor Frankenstein is an unsatisfying though rambunctious mishmash. There’s almost too much ambiguity with little pay off. It’s often exciting and has a consistent visual style. The set design is gorgeous, as are the clothes, and the soundtrack is very lovely. Maybe the problem was the filmmakers just had too much ambition for this project. The movie feels totally stuffed with content, but shallow in story. The empathy you’re supposed to be experiencing the whole movie doesn’t show up until the last 20 minutes. If only the whole movie had that. However, this would make for a pretty good date movie. Action, danger, guffaw and shock, romance, and James McAvoy’s adorable face.
Daniel Radcliffe stars as Igor, the man indebted and devoted to James McAvoy’s charming Frankenstein. Victor persuades Igor to escape from a cruel circus environment so that Igor may work for him. Their partnership accelerates Victor’s projects. Igor gains new life and love in society as Victor isolates himself in his work. With a righteous policeman, Andrew Scott, unrelentingly against everything they’re working for, it’s a race against time and ego to create new life. Frankenstein’s dark past motivates him to succeed at any cost.
One minor irony that is bothersome is the title, Victor Frankenstein. It’s more Igor’s story. He’s the [occasional] narrator. We open the film with his story, his life. We go on his journey. So why give the title away? It’d be like calling Pirates of the Caribbean just Jack Sparrow. Sure, he’s the most enjoyable part of the movie, but is it his story? No. It’s about Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan.
If you were considering seeing this and hoping for something scarier, I’d assuredly recommend The Wolfman (2010): spooky, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, awesome soundtrack by Danny Elfman, and it’s got an elegant feel.
Similar movies to avoid: I, Frankenstein and Dracula Untold. Sheesh, those are terrible!
Side note: I’ve seen Freddie Fox in several movies/shows now (The Three Musketeers, Pride, Any Human Heart, Parade’s End). I’ve also recently started watching The Voice and holy moly if there isn’t a contestant, Daniel Passino, who looks so similar that it freaks me out.
Actor Connections in Victor Frankenstein: Freddie Fox and Andrew Scott are both in Pride. Andrew Scott, Alistair Petrie, Louise Brealey and Mark Gatiss are all in Sherlock. Charles Dance and Louise Brealey are in Bleak House. Bronson Webb is in Harry Potter with Daniel Radcliffe, and Atonement with James McAvoy.