Friday, January 24, 2014

I, Frankenstein [2014]

MPAA (PG-13) (1 Star)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing

ChicagoTribune/Variety (A. Barker) review (G. Kenny) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

I, Frankenstein [2014] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Stewart Beattie along with Kevin Grevioux [IMDb] and inspired as much by Mary Shelley's gothic novel Frankenstein as by the Underworld films that Kevin Grevioux has previously been involved with) surprised me.

Okay, the aesthetics of the film were relentlessly dark and gloomy, and much of the story felt like a Underworld retread substituting Lycans and Vampires for Angels (er Gargoyles) and Demons.  BUT, perhaps because of my field (I'm a Catholic priest after all, and I was a chemist before that) I found the film's concept surprisingly interesting ;-).

The central pivot on which the current story turned was for me fascinating: The mad-scientist Victor Frankenstein (played oh so briefly in the film by Aden Young before being killed by his own creation), reanimated a stitched-up corpse (played here by Aaron Eckhart).  In doing so, this arrogant human scientist accidentally created a "soul-less being."

Well, this "soul-less" being becomes a "person of interest" to ... Demons who've been LOOKING FOR AGES for SOME "vessels" to enter into, POSSESS, and then to use to DESTROY HUMANITY (God's Creation) with. 

So soon after Frankenstein is created, these Demons start hovering around him.  This brings into the mix an Order of Angels.  To humans they appear to be only stone "Gargoyles" standing watch along the edges of Medieval Christian Cathedrals.  But at night, when the Demons themselves are active, they "fly off" the churches to do battle with said Demons while humans are largely asleep / unawares.  We're told that this Order of Angel/Gargoyles was sent by St. Michael the Archangel to protect humanity from the Demons.

Well the Angel/Gargoyles see the interest that the Demons have in this new "soulless creature" and see the risk that this creature (and others like him) would pose to humanity should he (and others like him) come to be possessed by the Demons.  Some of the Angels/Gargoyles, indeed, want to destroy this man-made "abomination" but the "Queen" (or more properly Leader) of this Order of Angels named Leonore (played by Miranda Otto) protects him saying that even if he wasn't created directly by God, God must have a purpose in his creation/existence. (Note here that that in the traditional Catholic conception, the title "Queen of the Angels" belongs to Mary).  Leonore then gives the new reanimated, but (still?) soul-less, creature the evocative name "Adam."

But this "Adam" feels really alone.  Apparently "soul-less," rejected/feared by humans, coveted by Demons, mistrusted by Angels, and yet -- after having had more than 5,000 Volts put into him by his mad-human "Crator" to reanimate him -- apparently no longer able to die ... "Adam" (Frankenstein) spends the next two hundred years (from Mary Shelley/Victor Frankenstein's time to our own) trudging alone, hiding in "the northern mountains" (the Alps or Scandinavia?) in darkness, cold and driving snow.

Finally, he can no longer stand his solitude and descends to what looks like a dark, rainy, modern-day, yet "gothic" city ... perhaps a stylized Paris or perhaps Geneva, Switzerland.  There he finds all the characters that he's spent 200 years avoiding -- arrogant yet clueless humans, covetous-to-rapacious and certainly driven Demons as well as conflicted and somewhat depressed Angels (they feel that they're slowly losing their fight with the Demons, who seem to continue to fight with a seemingly unending reserve of energy, even as both sides have been at this battle "for Ages.")

He also finds that there is a central Demon named Naberius (played by Bill Nighy) who's quite energetically encouraging a modern-day "electro-neurologist" named Terra (played by Yvonne Strahovski) to pursue her research in reanimating corpses (of animals) with electricity.  She herself doesn't see the need to rush: "But we're only working with mice and rabbits now.  It'll be a very long time before we get to humans and it may never work."  But Naberius pushes her harder and harder.  Why?  Because he knows, of course, that "it'll work"  Why?  Because he knows "it worked at least once before ..."  And then, once it does work, "he has plans ..."

So into this mix returns "Adam" Frankenstein, who soon after returning to Civilization after wandering ALONE for 200 years in the Wilderness, wonders if it was a good idea.  Nothing has changed.  In the City, HE HAS TROUBLE TRUSTING ANYONE.  Yet, in the wilderness, he was ALL ALONE. 

What to do?  The rest of the movie follows ... Again, an interesting/surprising concept, huh? ;-)

<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>

No comments:

Post a Comment