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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Good but a bit too worthy and full of it's own self importance

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
1 December 2002

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 creation.

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.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

This is true to the original story???

Author: gb42 from Marquette, MI
2 March 2002

I recently had to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for my literature class and I loved it! So I was really excited to watch the movie that is supposed to be 'true to the original novel'. Let me tell you that I was QUITE disappointed. This film is nothing like the original novel. Kenneth Branaugh should be ashamed. This is probably his second worst film (after the musical version of Loves, Labours, Lost). He completely changed the ending, and it was terrible. If you're ever planning on watching the movie so that you don't have to for a class, DON'T! And just so you know, I do love the original 1931 version of Frankenstein, even though it is nothing like the novel either.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Starts off so perfectly, then, suddenly, goes astray. (Spoilers)

Author: JadeEagle224 from Pa
19 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kenneth Branagh took on quite a challenge with this film: How do you top the original movie which, while it hardly captured Mary Shelley's book, was so well made for its time? And, how do you overcome the fact that, for over 60 years, your audience has been ingrained with the image of a bolted-templed, grunting monster as professor Frankenstein's creation, rather than Shelley's patch-work man? Kenneth Branagh's solution is perfect: leave the old classic behind, and instead, follow the book. If only he had followed through until the end, this movie could have been spectacular.

Unfortunately, Branagh took artistic license with the ending, and flawed his masterpiece. But, the rest of the movie was too good to be completely overlooked because of a bad ending. I love Branagh's portrayal of Professor Frankenstein. He is brilliant, passionate, and sometimes visceral. Handsome, in a scruffy sort of way (I never did buy the squeaky-clean, neat Frankenstein). I have always admired the talent of the classically-trained Branagh.

DeNiro stepped out of his typical mobster character to play a Creature (*not* monster) which is the closest portrayal I have seen to Mary Shelley's creation. I was actually impressed with DeNiro's performance because he was able to disguise himself. When I heard he was cast as the Creature, I half-expected the mobster DeNiro to appear. Luckily, he did not. And, yes, you sympathized with the Creature. He was created, then discarded to survive without guidance. An ugly quilt of a man.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Frankenstein and Elizabeth. Their love is very believable. I'm glad they chose to delve into the development of the relationship from adoptive brother and sister to lovers. This movie (until the end) is darkly and beautifully rich in Mary Shelley's writings.

At one point, I say Branagh even improved upon Shelley's work. The character Justine is wrongfully accused of murder. In the book, to prevent further discord, she is forced to falsely admit her guilt and is hanged. Branagh turned this instead into a lynching by an angry mob in the heat of the moment. A much more acceptable scenario, in my opinion.

But, just as the audience is swept away but the brilliance of the film, after Elizabeth is killed, the movie loses its way. As I watched, I remember mentally screaming, "No! No! You were doing so well! Stay with the book!" I was very disappointed with the conclusion of this work of art. That having been said, this is still an intelligent, very well made movie. You'll appreciate it more if you've read the book.

My rating: 7/10, because it was a fabulous movie sans ending.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

I Keep My Promises

Author: metallimad from United Kingdom
16 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Robert De Niro as The monster, i would never have thought in my life that it was him. the reason i gave this film 10 is because, like Dracula (Bram Stokers)it tells not just a horror story but a story of love, hope, reason and most of all revenge. We see here that Frankensteins monster is More than a bag of stitched up meat, but is a being with heart and realisation. the story starts with a young victor Frankenstein and continues throughout his university years with Prf. Waldman, the man who gives Frankenstein the flicker of a light bulb to start his experiments with reanimation. After loosing his mother to a terrible child birth, Victor Frankenstein is again confronted with the death of Prf. Waldman, and comes to the decision to steal Waldmans notes from his home after his death and read up on the steps to were Waldman left off, The reanimation of a lifeless object. We are shown how the monster learns to read, and in doing so, find that his maker Dr Victor Frankenstein is to blame for his repulsiveness and ugliness in the eyes of the plagued public, this leads on to the journey he takes in order to seek revenge on the doctor.

All in all a fantastic story and an incredibly enjoyable film.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

An Embarrassment

Author: blackwalnut
1 March 2001

When Cinemafantastique interviewed Kenneth Branagh on his recently-released version of Frankenstein, the writer asked Branagh to describe his viewpoint, his thematic slant on the story. Quite a natural question for a film maker to be asked, as the notions of theme and point of view are not optional, they are mandatory. A director must decide beforehand on the ideas he wishes to set forth, and craft the means to set them forth clearly. When dealing with a classic, oft-filmed work, he must choose a new slant, and exploit themes that have not been emphasized before (at least, in quite that way), if his work is to be at all original.

Branagh's breezy response was something on the order of, "I didn't really have a theme in mind, I just wanted to tell a good story."

This is precisely why Branagh's version fails: is an unanchored, misguided mess. Herewith is a barely coherent hash of styles, a series of boneheaded choices (a snotty Helena B. Carter as the "liberated" Elizabeth Frankenstein), a tangle of hanging threads -- beautiful clothes with no one in them; beautiful sets that form a backdrop to utter nonsense.

And it is dreadfully miscast. Branagh's ego trip as Dr. Frankenstein aside, the worst performance of all is that of Robert DiNiro as his creature. In this role, DiNiro proves that Pauline Kael was right all along. For years, Ms. Kael kept telling us that this mediocre talent was considered a great actor just because everyone said he was. In other words, he had been in the right place at the right time, and had stumbled into his undeserved reputation by pure chance. (Check out the way he sleeps through his role in Casino.) The spectacle of Frankenstein's creature mumbling in that repellent, thick New Yorkese is really one of the sorriest moments in all of filmdom -- there is simply no excuse for such a thing. Did anyone bother to tell him the story is set in Switzerland? I saw this movie in New York, at an East Side theater, and the audience was giggling nervously every time DiNiro opened his mouth. Why nervously? Because they "know" DiNiro is a "great" actor... Because they were embarrassed, pure and simple.

And they should have been. Branagh's desire to "tell a good story," while arrogantly disregarding the most basic elements of storytelling, quite naturally produced the opposite effect. In short, it produced an embarrassment.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Is a movie about science attracting tragedy

Author: user-177-817364 from Guangzhou, China
9 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is quite interesting, a very worth watching movie. In this movie, most attract an audience is the environment. That environment has shown actor expresses mood. It has been nice and sad and hates environment, captures the audiences' attention to the movie. Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelley. In 1994, it is taken from Kenneth Branagh's adaptations of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to create this movie. The genres of this movie are drama, romance, science fiction and horror. A man praises life and creates a monster; however the monster destroys and makes a tragedy.

The story begins in the Arctic; an exploration ship saves a man. The man tells the captain about his story. The story is happening on Geneva and his name is Victor Frankenstein who is a doctor. One day Victor's mother born his brother William, but his mother dies. Victor is sad and he hopes can see his mother again. One day he meets a guy and, he tells Victor he has success to let a dead man alive. Victor starts to get interest and he steals that guy notebook. Victor begins to research and one day he uses technology to let a dead man alive. He succeeded to revive the monster and named him Frankenstein. However, the monster is quite ugly. He is afraid and ran away. When the citizens saw him, they were fearful and discriminated against him, children. However, the monster has emotions; he is kind and hopes to be able to make friends and family. Frankenstein runs to the village and hides in a pigsty. People discovered about Frankenstein and drove away him; this shows that Frankenstein hates his creator. Frankenstein kills William (Victor's brother) and Elizabeth (Victor's wife). This lets Victor to hate Frankenstein and he starts to chase him.

There are three main characters in this movie, namely Victor Frankenstein who is performed by Kenneth Branagh, Victor's wife Elizabeth who is performed by Helena Bonham Carter, and the monster Frankenstein who is performance by Robert De Niro. The most attentive part in this movie is the actress Helena Bonham Carter. Her acting skills are good. She portrays Elizabeth who is the principal character's wife. When I have seen the film, I personally thought that her acting was outstanding. Elizabeth dies by the monster took her heart, her expression surreal. Of course this is nausea, but she is very good to portray the role of a good wife who will care for her fiancé, miss him, love him, and support to him, also in one part she want to give up her fiancé which shows her powerful love towards him, but finally she went back to her fiancé, she can't leave her fiancé, this s him. However, at last, Elizabeth burns herself. In that time, she has to show one person's emotion for hatred, sadness and despair. Helena Bonham Carter's action and her expression are the level of expertise.

In this movie, the part I like is when Frankenstein discovers Victor Frankenstein dies and gets emotional. He tells those expeditions "He is my father". On this part, it means Frankenstein although has an unattractive appearance he still has a kind and warm heart. Although Frankenstein hates Victor creating him but he loves him unconditionally. For Frankenstein, Victor is his father. This is showing the people of good morals. The part that I didn't like is when those citizens drove away and hurt Frankenstein, they did that is because they were afraid of Frankenstein. They didn't try to understand and help him. Frankenstein didn't do anything, but those citizens just hate him only because of his appearance.

This movie can learn lots of new things. Like technology and emotion and mans, nature at birth is good. The technology can make many things that can beyond people's imagination. It can also create many consequences that would be unimaginable. People only make, but they never think about the results. The emotion can control people to do next, people always change their emotion, and hate and anger are the most dreadful things because this can lead people to kill others for revenge. The man's nature at birth is good which mean when people are born into this world, they are good and innocent; however the society destroys their nature and lets them become hateful and selfish and discriminate against others.

I recommend this movie to adults, because it can teach people a few life lessons and morals, allows them to know when a man is born into this world they are innocent. Science and technology can destroy people. This movie was awarded 67th Oscar Golden Statuettes and best make-up award. For this movie, I would not recommend it for children and old people as there a few scary parts and it is not good to old people heart. Also this is incomprehensible for children as they cannot understand the story. The MPAA for this movie is R. For my opinion I think this movie is a well written story with a good outline and plot. Those actors and actresses have captured the scenes and developed the plot. They show their emotion well and used special lighting effect to enhance the environment and the viewer's attention.

For my personal opinion of the rating system, I am going to give it an A, four stars and 5. The reason is I think this really is a good movie, it has shown human virtues and vice although it is a little scary and might not suit all viewers.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Haunting and An Amazing Film!

Author: James N. O'Sullivan
7 November 2013

This film is a piece of cinematic genius. They just couldn't do wrong with this film.

Kenneth Brannagh is an acting genius, and he brought a depth to the role of Frankenstein such as movies have never seen before.

Helena Bonham Carter certainly turned heads in this production. Her acting, as always, was flawless, and her interestingly beautiful face lent a unique quality to Elizabeth.

The monster, played by an unrecognizable Robert de Niro, was perfect. His journey from dumb monster to vengeful beast chilled me to the bone.

The screenplay was heaven-sent.

And the music - oh, such music! To this day,that music stays with me (and my music player). It is genius work the likes of which would make Beethoven and Mozart proud!

All around, this movie is a win! While not for kids, this is definitely worth a watch with teens on up!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Alive!? Hardly

Author: bruce-campbell from Canada
1 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie over-reached itself. There's melodrama, and then there's parodic melodrama. Almost Princess Bride melodrama. The green-light decision is pretty obvious—Coppola producing, Branagh starring & directing, DeNiro as the creature, Bonham-Carter's face and ability to run in 18th century woman of quality clothes is a plus, John Cleese (!?) doing the fifth business. Ian Holm, Celia Imrie… and Tom Hulce. What? Casting by what they've done before, not whether the parts were right for the players.

DeNiro did Cape Fear with more makeup, Hulce should have giggled more, and really not tried to do a British accent, Branagh should have spent less time with his shirt off (how many months in the gym prior to principal photography?), and John Cleese (the best of the bunch, IMO) should have insisted on less silly prosthetic teeth. The real problem was the script, or rather, the lack of a script. Lines were puerile, motivation lacking, and everyone's reaction was typical: overact the crap out of it.

In the end, we had to give it the MST3K treatment, mostly referencing Young Frankenstein and Rocky Horror. Thank goodness the DVD version didn't have any special features. I might have been really hard on the film, then.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An effort to be respected... and avoided

Author: SunsetGlory from United States
8 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This 1994 Kenneth Branagh twist on Mary Shelley's classic Gothic horror novel finds itself coming into existence in the middle of a decade of constant remakes and endless melodramatic horror films. The basic story is ingrained into America's pop culture: a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, whose obsession with death leads to his obsession with creating life, with playing God. The creation of his monster, a combination of the bodies of executed criminals, (by the way, an entire scene of this movie is devoted to the collection, mutilation, and sewing together of said bodies) goes awry, the creature escapes and, once educated, swears revenge on Victor and his family. Victor marries his adopted sister, Elizabeth, and is driven to madness and subsequent death at his creation's hands. Sadly, it is here that the major similarities between the original novel and Kenneth Branagh's creation end.

Mary Shelley's classic Gothic horror novel has been endlessly analyzed and debated over, true to the wish of the late Mary Shelley, who wanted to write a subtle book that made you think, even long after you've finished reading it. Unfortunately, and for obvious reasons, much of the intended subtlety of Mary Shelley's (as well as that of all authors') work was lost in the transition to the stage and the silver screen. The worst of this, thought, is that many of these movies, perhaps for the sake of audiences not familiar with the original text and who did not (do not) like complicated protagonists, try very hard to get the audience on Victor's side. They try to prove that he is, in his heart of hearts, an honorable man who made a mistake, and is now constantly paying for it at the merciless hands of his creation; failing, in the process, to remind the audience that, whatever "The Monster" is, Victor made him. As the creature of this adaptation says to Victor on "the sea of ice" in the mountains of Geneva, "You gave me these movements, but you did not tell me how to use them. Now, two people are dead, because of us." The overall effect of the movie was, thinking back on it, very bloody. The death of Victor's wife on her wedding night was gruesomely changed to suit the tone of the rest of the movie.

The blood in the remainder of the movie deviates unnecessarily from the book, (the creature rips out Elizabeth's heart on her wedding night with Victor, and when Victor tries to reanimate her with Justine's body, the creature appears. They battle for her, and she takes her own life, burning the house to the ground) and it looks very, very fake. The visuals, in this way, are reminiscent of Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, producer of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Dracula, which came out in 1992, also involved large and unnecessary explosions of blood. Kenneth Branagh, along with his co-stars, deserves credit for his efforts, but this adaptation of Frankenstein ultimately leaves a bad taste in the mouth that is not the terror provided by a good thriller, but the disgust provided by a bad one. A disgust that is heightened by the fact that the title bears its author's name.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Pretty Little Mess

Author: domino1003 from United States
6 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the footsteps of the success of Francis Ford Coppola's version of Dracula, someone got the bright idea of bringing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to life. Under the direction of Kenneth Branagh (Who also plays Victor), the story starts when Victor is found barely alive in the frozen wastes of the Artic, where Robert Walden (Aidan Quinn) is on his own quest. Victor tells the captain about the price he payed for exploring things that should be left alone. Victor, spurred by the death of his mother, is determined to defeat death. With the reluctant help of Professor Waldman (John Cleese, in a surprising dramatic turn) and his friend Henry Clerval (Tom Hulce), he creates a creature and, upon his first look at him, abandons him. The Creature (Robert De Niro)only wants to be loved and not feared, but seeing that every person he meets is repulsed by him, decides to seek revenge upon the man that created him. Victor soon learns that the price for knowledge is high, and that those who he loves will fall victim to his obsession.

The film drags in the first part, but once the creature and Frankenstein meet, the action picks up a bit. There is some graphic moments (Elizabeth's death was brutal). It is as close to the book as any typical adaption can be. The visuals are nice, but a bit dizzying in some parts (Especially when Victor was busy creating things.). A good companion piece to "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

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