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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mary Shelly's Frankentein (1994)

I enjoy classical horror literature.  I've read Poe, "Dracula", and even reviewed "Frankenstein; or a Modern Prometheus" here on the blog.  I also enjoy seeing how Hollywood adapts these classics to the big screen.  I watched one such adaptation during "Terrorpolooza 2012"...

Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with defeating death after his mother dies during childbirth.  He soon begins to experiment with dead flesh, and discovers the means by which he can create a living, breathing, being.  Soon however, the consequences of his actions return to destroy all that he holds dear...

Those that I know said that "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein" was a less than spectacular movie.  I try to remain open minded when I hear comments about movies, since there is always the possibility that I'd enjoy it.  The difference of opinion my friend Jay (from "We Came From the Basement") and I have over the Kevin Costner movie, "The Postman" is a good example.  I liked "The Postman."

There wasn't a problem with the story in this movie.  The premise, and plot is strong and provides lots of opportunity for character, action, tension, suspense, and even a bit of grue.

There wasn't a problem with the characters either.  They were as interesting and engaging as they original source material- well crafted, and able to keep me wanting to see what happened next.

There wasn't even any serious problems with the acting.  Robert De Niro turned in an excellent performance as the Creation, bringing intellegence, dignity, and pathos to the character that is very much like the original literary version.  Kenneth Branagh, while not the greatest actor, still did a decent job of portraying Victor Frankenstein's rather manic mood swings and obsession.  I loved seeing John Cleese in the role of Professor Waldman- the man who puts Frankenstein on the path to his discovery.  A really solid job on his part, I thought.  I can't really say much about Sir Ian Holm's performance, since he go very little screen time, though I did feel he wasn't altogether in the mood for the role as Frankenstein's father.  Helena Bonham Carter brought her usual quirky approach to the character of Elizabeth- Frankenstein's fiancee.  I will admit though, that I seriously wished she'd appear in a movie with a less frizzy and wild hair do.

I didn't even have any serious problems with the visuals.  The make-up De Niro wore as the Creation was great and credible.  I want a hooded duster like the one he wore, myself- looked pretty cool.  The scenic views were wonderful, and really set the tone.  I liked Frankenstein's lab, but hated the staircase in the main household.  The scene where Elizabeth is killed by the Creation was well done as well- a decent amount of blood to it.  Her make-up later on is almost as credible as that used on De Niro, and helped create sympathy for the character's final fate.

No, what brings this movie down is the fact that it tries to be an epic like "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), but fails.  I felt that it needed to be small in scope, more personal and up close in nature.  Because of that, I have to place it in The Bad.

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