|Index||5 reviews in total|
Dr Victoria Frankenstein is the head of science project UX which is
using stem-cell research to engineer a human heart. The project has
reached this point without approval and understandably the heads of the
funding to be nervous. Victoria presses on regardless, changing the
project to start the development of an entire organ chain. Nobody
mentions the extreme conflict of interest that exists in Victoria's
young son currently dying and indeed of an entire new organ chain. When
her son dies, Victoria agrees to let the project be terminated but by
then the funders want it to continue on the QT. A freak lightening
strike and rampant cell growth sees the experiment explode anyway, with
tissue everywhere. However it soon transpires that not all organic
matter has been accounted for and "something" has made it out of the
This film sat on my harddrive for almost six month before I got round to watching it. It wasn't that I was busy for all this time but more than the idea of an ITV drama being any good was foreign to me and I decided to watch other things instead. When I finally watched it I must admit it was almost because I felt I "had" to and did not expect much. On the contrary though the film is an effective version of the famous story that is strong in several areas. The direction avoids the usual "TV" feel that many of these one-off ITV dramas seem to have and instead is very atmospheric and dark.
It is not as smart as I would have liked and some aspects of the material seems very rushed due to the time constraints, while others are all a bit too convenient in the name of keeping things moving and limiting development time required. However these are forgivable and the film does move along well, with plenty of dramatic moments and, surprisingly dark content. A brutal child murder caught me off-guard, as did some other moments, making it feel more than an attempt to make me watch adverts (which lets be honest, some ITV one-off dramas are all about). Although they are rushed the characters are quite good, particularly the monster. What it looks like is clear but, while the film controls direct vision of it, it isn't a big deal and there is no big reveal. This helps the viewer feel like it is the story not the effects that the makers are interested in.
The cast are pretty good. McCrory leads the cast well with a solid and pained performance. I would have liked to see her given a harder character and more time to work with but regardless she still does a good job. Purefoy is not as good and he feels quite unnecessary and I think you can see this in his performance. Support is solid enough and has a few recognisable faces in there in the form of Benedict Wong and Fraser James. Bleach's Monster is well played as it has enough to be afraid of but also enough to make you believe that it is just frightened.
Overall then a quite effective version of the famous story. It has its faults in the speed it does things and the odd "convenient" narrative device but mostly it is atmospheric, dark and interesting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When creating a version of a classic like Frankenstein it is quite acceptable to alter some aspects, however there are certain things which cannot be tampered with and I am not referring to the laws of nature but the laws of drama. I can only assume that writer director Jed Mercurio was unexpectedly restrained either by budget or time slot and was therefore forced to make some serious editorial decisions. Unfortunately he made all the wrong ones. Frankenstein, like King Kong or The Elephant Man only works if there is an emotional connection between the characters and with the audience. Such a connection can only be made through eye contact (the eyes are the key to the soul). Consider how much emphasis Peter Jackson gave to the facial expressions of Kong and its startlingly human nature or John Hurt's eyes of John Merrick. In this version of Frankenstein the eyes of the 'monster' are hardly seen at all and this accounts directly to the failure of the drama. The key scenes are the meeting with the child, mother and son, and on the beach. All these scenes are rushed and thus create no emotion because we only see the eyes of one of the characters. When the 'monster' kills the little girl, (actually shown in full detail, there's a dubious first for British TV and indeed Film drama) the scene is shocking but not as effective as it would have been if the two characters involved had interacted like two children for a little longer. When mother was teaching son, there was no bonding at all, no emotion, no close ups of the 'monster's eyes showing any feeling. Just a cold grey lump of special effect. The final scene on the beach works at all because finally we see a more human side to the 'monster' and the most powerful scene was when we see the 'monster's' face albeit at a distance. Updating the Frankenstein story is all well and good, but abandoning the core theme of the original was a terrible mistake resulting in a disjointed and ultimately very disappointing drama.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frankenstein is set in London where genetic scientist Victoria (Helen
McCrory) is working on pioneering stem-cell research, however her young
son William is dying & will die unless he gets a multiple organ
transplant. Wishing to help her son Victoria uses his DNA in her
stem-cell research, she sets up an experiment to genetically create the
organs he needs. William dies & Victoria decides to abandon the
research but her boss Professor Andrew Waldman (Neil Pearson) feels her
work is too important to destroy & carries it on. Unfortunately the DNA
starts to mutate, it starts to mutate into some humanoid shaped mutant
creature. When a power surge cuts the electric in the laboratory the
genetically created mutant creature manages to escape into the night...
Written & directed by Jeb Mercurio I quite liked this despite having little in common with Mary Shelley's novel from which it takes it's title. Made for & recently aired on British TV I suppose this got the go ahead after a recent spate of classic horror adaptation including Sweeney Todd (2006) with Ray Winstone, the six part series Jekyll (2007) with James Nesbitt & a feature length Dracula (2006) with David Suchet, however Frankenstein doesn't have any 'names' in it & has little connection with it's literally source. For a start no-one is called Frankenstein & for that matter the word Frankenstein is never mentioned once. Then there's the one basic aspect of the novel which the makers of this have seen fit to disregard, the fact that Frankenstein is a man & not a woman. Now, I'm all for equal opportunities for both sexes but Frankenstein is a bloke, he always has been & always will be. Then there's the fact modern genetic techniques are used to create the monster rather than stitching various body parts together which is fine in itself since this is meant to be a contemporary adaptation. At 75 odd minutes it doesn't last too long, it moves along at a reasonable pace, it's pretty entertaining for what it is but it stalls & falters once the Frankenstein monster is captured, there are too many mysterious Government secret service officials dressed in black & I didn't like the abrupt ending either.
This looks alright, it's well made but nothing spectacular. The Frankenstein monster is kept hidden for the most part, which once it is actually shown you'll see why. I suppose the look of the monster is supposed to incite sympathy for it but for most it will probably incite laughter, the actual special effect on it is OK. There's a brief nod to the original Frankenstein as the monster here has a paralysing device stuck into his neck which resembles the look of a large bolt! This is also one of the few films I've seen which actually kills a child on screen, not only does the monster kill a young girl who he tries to befriend after she rejects him (another homage or maybe rip-off to the original Frankenstein (1931)?) but it actually show's the monster breaking her neck in a sequence which just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Otherwise there isn't much gore or violence, a few burnt corpses is as graphic as it gets.
Frankenstein is an OK way to 75 minutes but don't expect a faithful adaptation because this is anything but, taken in it's own right it's decent enough but nothing overly special.
I always thought it would make sense to set the story in modern times,
since now we truly have the technology to do stuff like that. But more
importantly (like Frankenstein) we are too obsessed with science and
lack the moral and ethical restraint that would prevent us from doing
So I think it fits great into modern times... but I always imagined a modern Dr. Frankenstein to look somewhat like Gunther von Hagens... (-; But I also like their take on it and the way they told the story it made sense to have a "Victoria Frankenstein" instead of a "Victor". And also the film of course by it's very nature of putting it in a present day setting naturally can't stay 100% true to the book. But still, I think it wasn't any less true to the book than the bulk of the other film adaptations and the ending was better and more realistic than in most other film adaptations.
And I love that even though every Frankenstein movie is always very different, they still always have little references to the previous movies. Like in this one it's the tank, which is very similar to the 1994 as well as the 1910 version. And let's not forget the infamous "It's alive!" line as well as the lightning, the electrical surge, the bolts and the cap. (those things are all references to the other movies, as they are not present in the book)
Anyway, go give this version a chance... you won't regret it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Frankenstein was fantastic !!!
I was captivated all the way through.It was immensely poignant the moment on the beach with the parents and the monster.10/10 ITV and keep up the good work. Far better than all the BBC drivel!!
The bit with the little girl in the forest was quite terrifying but true to the Boris Karlof original. I thought Helen Mccrory was excellent as Victoria and I hope that they do a second part now. I especially liked the bit where they used Victoia's son's DNA so that they had a deep real connection with the monster.
All in all a superb modern version of an age old classic.
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