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I nearly spit out my teeth when I saw how low Frankenstein (94) score was. This film is quite simply spectacular! It goes in the same category as From Hell, they are both too sophisticated and beautiful to be JUST horror films. The cleverness of this film and its sheer radiance must throw some people off. Robert De Niro is the creature! De Niro gives the foul beast a soul of his own. De Niro's performance brings out genuine pity, sorrow, and most importantly, fear. Kenneth Branagh has always added a bit of class to his films, and his version of Frankenstein is no different. A visually brilliant triumph as a director.
While many people seem to scorn this film, I found it wonderfully
enjoyable. Like the great Orson Welles, He stars in, and directs, many of
his movies. This one in particular shows some of his more excentric, if
marketable, passions in filmmaking that make movie buffs and connaisseurs
alike enjoy this stylized and emotional film.
Yes, it is melodramatic. Yes, the acting is often over the top. But what many critics of this film fail to recognize is that this is precisly the point. By staying very true to the source material(until the Elizabeth thing) and the significant changes that WERE made are clear evidence of this. The book was melodramatic. What Kenneth Branagh does here is stay true to the spirit of the classic gothic novel. The great close-ups define the characters, and through them you can understand them. Do not mistake stylization for poor film-making, because this is a wonderfully made and presented film, that if understood captivates you from the first spoken words(a quote from Mary Shelly, setting up the stylization) to the last frame.
Know what you're getting into, a passionatly made film about what drives one to both excel and what drives one to madness, and the dangers of excess beyond reason. If you have read the book, regardless of whether you liked it or not,see this movie. You will love what they have retained, and will embrace what they've changed. this is not a film(not a movie, a film) for everyone. But for those who are willing to have an open mind, it is pure bliss!
One of Branagh's more maligned works, though for the life of me I can't see why. Sticking closer to the book than to any preconcieved notions of Boris Karloff (perhaps that's why), this injects true horror into the story of a medical student who brings a corpse to life. If you don't like melodrama then maybe it's not the thing for you, but this deserves a far better reputation than it has.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't appreciate this film until the second viewing, when I saw it
on widescreen. Three viewings later, I have nothing but the highest
regard for this Frankenstein rendition which is still, as other
reviewers have pointed out, the most underrated of movies.
One MUST see this on widescreen DVD to full appreciate the incredible visuals. But this film is a lot more than eye candy. Supposedly, it was very close to Mary Shelley's book, which is the best compliment you can give it.
I liked the fact that the "monster" could talk and comprehend and, frankly, I liked the revenge factor and fact the monster decided his fate, not hysterical townsfolk as in the original Boris Karloff film (which has a sadder ending.)
This version, in my humble opinion, also had a more appropriate ending: the monster and his creator both dying together.
All the main characters acted the way you would think they would, meaning there was no ridiculousness here, as so often is the case in horror films. In other words, there was great realism put in a story that is a famous far-fetched-type of tale. To be fair, there are some scenes in which you wonder how the monster got where he did (inside homes, etc.) without being seen....so, to say there weren't SOME credibility issues would not be true...but overall, no complaints here.
I'd like to put a quick plug in here for the music, too. Wonderful sweeping classic music complements the astounding visuals. Add an involving story that is tough to put down once you start viewing, and you have one of the most undeservedly-panned movies of our time.
I saw this movie for the first time, in the dark solitude of my attic late at night. (I was trying to create a scary atmosphere for maximum effect) To my surprise, though, after it finished, I wasn't very frightened, but very emotionally drained. I had expected Frankenstein to be your classic, everyday, lame horror film which you only watch to get some cheap thrills, and see some horrible overacting. I didn't find it so at all.
This movie was, there is no other word for it, beautifully done - a powerful, dynamic story of how man attempts to achieve greatness, but ends up ruining their lives and the lives of others as a result. I have not read Mary Shelley's book, but if it has half the emotional effect of this movie, I'll consider it time well spent!
What really surprised me though, was that this wasn't a horror film in the traditional sense of the word - it wasn't so that the monster would jump out and the audience would scream. It was more about how the audience would slowly writhe as they realize the tortured motivations of the creature and what he's willing to do as consequence.
Kenneth Branagh brought this movie together wonderfully, with both his directing and powerful, memorable acting as the tormented Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is somewhat obsessed with death, after losing his mother at an early age, so he attempts to create a new form of artificial life, derived from various body parts of corpses: a life which cannot be so easily extinguished, and is superior to normal human life in every aspect. (except, perhaps, looking normal) However, he soon learns that it's not good to muck around with creating life, when his creation attacks him, and he abandons it. The creature, although initially showing signs of being a sympathetic and caring soul, quickly learns that the ways of man are harsh and judgmental, so he swears revenge on his creator for bringing him into this world of isolation.
The 'creature', was played absolutely masterfully by Robert De Niro. Before Frankenstein, the only movies I had seen with him were Analyze This and Analyze That, and those were comedies, so it was difficult to see his skills as a serious actor, but in playing Frankenstein's creation he created a character that is confused, alone, hostile, manipulative and clever: a very conflicted anti-hero. The scene at the end at Victor Frankenstein's funeral left me in shock by the sheer aura he projects - mixed hatred with compassion and confusion. In my opinion, his best moment is when he meets the ship's captain who asks him 'Who are you?' and the creature nods to his dead creator and responds 'He never gave me a name.' If nobody felt the power in that line, then I don't know what to say to them. I think De Niro deserved an Oscar, or at least a nomination for this role.
The supporting cast is also very good, with Helena Bonham Carter doing a wonderful and chilling job as Frankenstein's wife (another one who I think should have gotten an Oscar nod), and John Cleese (in probably the only downright serious role in his career) being very creepy as Frankenstein's mentor, who realized before that the moral implications of his kind of work cannot be lived with. Ian Holm as Baron Frankenstein was also good, but sadly, his part was underused. It would have been nice to see more of this great actor in this movie alongside all these other great actors. This isn't really a problem for the film as a whole: Holm played a relatively minor character, but I have a lot of respect for his acting skills, and I would have liked to see more of them in this movie.
This is probably one of the most powerful and draining movies I've ever seen in my life; I was so impressed by it that I had to run out and buy the DVD right away. I realize this film has many critics, who claim that it is 'seriously flawed' - I really can't understand what they're talking about. I guess some people are harder to please than others, but I find it almost impossible to find anything wrong with this film. Perhaps it was expected that it would be more your traditional horror film, but it really wasn't a horror movie - it was a character movie. It's true that there were some disgusting parts (I won't go into specifics, but you can probably get the idea), but they seemed to merely add to the mood of the movie, and increase your revulsion that Victor Frankenstein would have thought of creating such a monstrosity. For anyone who needs a good, powerful movie that'll leave you drained and thoughtful, this is THE movie for you!
Written by Steph Lady and Frank Darabont (who later disowned this film) and ambitiously directed by Kenneth Branagh, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a likable film which succeeds mostly in a refreshingly old-fashioned, Hammeresque vein. (I think Christopher Lee hated this movie and equally class-dripping Bram Stoker's Dracula because he felt that they were competing in the same area.) There's the classic monsters (Robert DeNiro!), the period sets, the lovely heroines in the lovely period costumes, the beautiful and suitably turbulent score... Certainly not a perfect film, but as a classy, gorgeous monster movie, it is a woefully underrated one.
Victor Frankenstein is the son of a famous doctor who watches his mother die
in labour with his younger brother. As an idealistic young man he travels
to university to study to become a great doctor. However he brings with him
non-scientific teachings he has researched into life and the influence of
electric currents. His belief is supported by shadowy lecturer Dr Waldeman
and Frankenstein continues his work and brings a man back to life using
parts of other men. Realising what he has done, Frankenstein leaves his
monster to die but the creature learns fast and wants revenge for his
I have seen far too many monster movies that all blur together and share the same focus on effects and gore than story or character. So when this was promoted as being close to the original material, dark and more of a story than a horror I was looking forward to watching it. For the most part it sort of works but it's main flaw runs all the way through it like a stick of rock it's far too worthy. Or at least it thinks it is. The film has a constant swell of dramatic music that is only ever seconds away and it really makes the film feel grander and more serious than it really is. The film isn't scary but that wasn't a problem to me it just has all these big worthy dialogue scenes with sudden pauses (up comes the music) and then lines. It doesn't work and the film feels heavy and even dull as a result.
This is never more evident than in Branagh's own performance. He is far too dashing and too much of a young man gone wrong to be believed. If he'd played it a little less worthy he would have been more of a human and less a cardboard type. De Niro really tries hard and did well for me. He may be stuck with a creature but it has been developed past the cliché (but not far enough perhaps). I did feel for him and it was all De Niro's doing. Carter is miscast both before and after far to light and modern for the role, Briers is OK but Cleese is way to miscast. First of all the fact that he only appears half in shadows and when he opens his mouth the music comes up doesn't help, but it didn't feel like him. Quinn is a good cameo but the majority of the cast seem to have bought into the whole `worthy' thing and are dulled as a result.
Overall the film is worth watching because it is a good telling of the classic tale and De Niro does a good job of showing us the basic human behind the combined dead body parts. If only Branagh hadn't been overwhelmed by the sheer importance of what he thought he was doing and had let the film flow and bit more and given in less to worthy music, acting and directing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the 90's there was a string of remakes following the classic
universal monsters: Dracula(Bram Stoker's Dracula), The Wolf Man(Wolf),
The Mummy(The Mummy) and Frankenstein(Mary Shelley's Frankenstein).
Sadly this is a more overlooked remake that I feel is a very strong
movie. Not to deny any praise to the original Frankenstein from the
30's, Boris Karloff's performance is still one of the best and it's
still a very scary movie. But there was no Frankenstein film to come
out that would remain true to it's original story. In high school we
read Frankenstein and it brought up so many interesting conflicts,
where do you draw the line between living and playing God? Was Victor
responsible for Elizabeth's death? Was the creature really a monster or
just a victim? Kenneth Branagh took on this story and did an absolutely
Victor Frankenstein is the son of the wealthy Baron and Caroline Frankenstein. At one point in his childhood Victor's parents adopted Elizabeth, who would become the love of Victor's life. Years later Victor's mother dies giving birth to his brother William. Sometime before going off to the university, a grief-stricken Victor vows on his mother's grave that he will find a way to conquer death. On the night of his graduation Victor and Elizabeth promised to wed when Victor returns from his studies. He finds a friend in Henry Clerval and a mentor. Victor comes to believe that the only way to cheat death is to create life. Victor spends months in his apartment working on creating a living, breathing creature. Using dead body parts from various sources, he begins piecing a creature together. Late one night Victor finally gives his creation life, but he recoils from it in horror and renounces his experiments. But it might be too late for him to take back what he shouldn't have messed with in the first place.
Robert DeNiro did a great job playing The Creature, what a heartbreaking role to take on and he plays it with such amazing sympathy. He says to Victor "Did you ever consider the consequences of your actions? You made me, and you left me to die. Who am I?" and you seriously feel so much for him, he is the true victim. As in the book and not in the original movie, Victor does feel like a God when he is doing his experiments, but when he succeeds, he regrets it immediately. Kenneth did a wonderful job taking on this complicated man who isn't evil by any means but a victim of his own intelligence and wanting to cheat death. The supporting cast is wonderful with Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Hulce. The film can be a little over the top at times playing like a soap opera, but when I read the book, that's how I felt about the story as well. The sets, the costumes and the make are just incredible. Frankenstein is an underrated gem and deserves a better look. It's one of the most intelligent horror stories of all time, Kenneth put a lot of love into this film and I think Mary Shelley would be proud.
as i watched the trailer of the movie on TV, i thought it'll be another horror movie with the same old clichés, full of blood and disgusting scenes...However,when i saw the movie i was moved by the dramatic melancholic and tragic way in which branagh directed it...it wasn't at all such a trivial horror movie..on the contrary..it was another philosophical deep way of reviving Shelley's novel..it was another masterpiece of branagh's...he adopted the novel in such a delicate dramatic romantic way..and dipped into the moral that Shelley meant by her story..Branagh made of Victor Frankenstein another Odesseus whose vanity and arrogance makes him think that he could imitate God and defy Him..he made him a tragic hero haunted by the death of his mother which has created in him the urging desire of fighting death and creating an alternative life...Branagh's choice of the actors was more than perfect, De Niro made a sympathetic touching creature despite his violence and thick hands ,the creature in this movie managed to escape being another scary pale dead monster walking the earth as it was in the old Frankenstein movies,the genius De Niro made us feel and believe that this creature bears great equal amounts of love and rage and that if he cannot satisfy one ,he'll indulge the other (as he says to frankenstein), Helena Bonham Carter was splendid as Elizabeth,she was like the refreshing breeze in the movie which could decrease the intensity of the bloody scenes, Tom Hulce in the role of Henry was in his friendship to Victor as intimate as the friendship of Horatio to Hamlet, Ian Holm as the baron Frankenstein was very good ,but his part was too small that he couldn't show all his talents, Richard Briers was great in the role of the tender grandfather, and of course Kenneth Branagh himself as Frankenstein was perfect,he could make us pity for Frankenstein rather than hating him. Generally the movie despite its several bloody scenes,makes an intense powerful drama..and makes you saturated with a strange sense of melancholy after seeing it...Branagh's Frankenstein is really a must-see :)))
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a high school English teacher who is in the process of teaching
"Frankenstein" to my classes. When I rented the movie "Mary Shelley's
Frakenstein", I expected it to be consistent with the novel; hence, the
reference to Mary Shelley in the actual title.
This movie makes me internally conflicted between anger and laughter. The actual novel was butchered. There are countless scenes that are just absolutely fabricated. The movie has consistent scenes which just don't make sense. If you're going to refer to the author in the title, how about actually honoring the poor woman? Make a movie that respects her story, instead of butchering it. Unfortunately, this woman isn't alive to defend herself and disassociate herself from this film.
-Victor's mother died of Scarlet Fever, not during childbirth. -Henry Clerval was a childhood friend; not someone Victor met at Ingolstadt (university). -During the whole novel Victor refuses to tell anybody how he created the creature, while in the novel we have all this detail. -Why the hell was Branaugh putting up a lightening rod in the middle of a field where he and Elizabeth are the tallest objects in the area? How is he able to count down perfectly to when the lightening will strike? Where did that scene come from anyway? -They played up the pseudo incestuous nature of Elizabeth and Victor way too much. -The monster cuts firewood for the cottagers; he doesn't pick fricking radishes for them.
This is only the very beginning of the movie and I haven't included nearly all the stupidity.
If you read the novel, you should be disappointed in this sorry excuse for a film.
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