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There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those who have read Frankenstein and those who haven't. I urge everyone to join the ranks of the former. Mary Shelly's novel is one of the greatest tales since Faust, full of philosophy, theology and studies of the human condition. It ain't about a green lummox with electricians boots and bolts through his neck, lumbering through villages as if he's murderously constipated.
In this adaptation, we get the original intent of the author. The creature is a protagonist, not a villain. He is intelligent, well spoken, driven by the same thing that drives most of us: a desire to love & be loved. And like any newborn child, he doesn't know the rules of society and morality, although he learns quickly.
If you expect to see a horror flick, you'll be very disappointed. There aren't many scares in this movie, and there's a lot of dialogue which may make things seem slow. In fact, a cursory glance at comments tells me that most of the negative opinions were from students who were forced to watch this for a lit class, and they thought it was too long. Sure. But that's how books are, kids. Overall, this was a pretty faithful re-telling.
In particular, I was thrilled to see that this film stayed true to the book by relating the whole story through flashbacks told to the Arctic ship captain (excellently played by Donald Sutherland). This creates an "envelope" around the tale which adds suspense and chills, literally.
Another highlight was the showdown between the creature and his creator. This was brilliantly done, shot in a superb mountaintop setting in Slovakia, and the acting talents of both Goss & Newman really came through.
Other scenes were not as impressive, and at times you might find yourself thinking it's a bit melodramatic. But at least it didn't sink into Kenneth Branagh territory ;) A small criticism I have is that I didn't quite understand the importance of William Hurt's character who was invented solely for this film (not in the book). His presence did add something to the production, but at the same time it introduced a new sub-theme that may have taken away from the original focus. Eh, who cares, Hurt did a good job and I found myself wishing he had more scenes.
Oh, one big gripe I have is that they suddenly made the creature kill at random, even mangling poor unsuspecting bunny rabbits. Wassup wit dat? It's like Mary Shelley meets Glenn Close. lol. I guess the filmmakers added that to wake up the audience a bit.
Luke Goss (the creature) is the shining star of this production. It's odd, because in the DVD interviews he admits to never having read the book; yet his portrayal was right on ...truly the best depiction of the creature I've ever seen, conveying both ferocity and intellect while eliciting our sympathies. For that, I think this is a great work which, I would hope, might tear down the goofy image of the monster we've lived with for the last 80 years.
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