In 1794, in the Arctic Sea, Captain Robert Walton is a man obsessed to reach the North Pole, pushing his crew to exhaustion. When his ship hits an iceberg, it is stranded in the ice. Out of the blue, Captain Walton and his men overhear a dreadful cry and they see a stranger coming to the ship. He introduces himself as Victor Frankenstein and he tells the Captain the story of his life since he was a little boy in Geneva. Victor is a barilliant student, and in love with his stepsister Elizabeth, an orphan that was raised by his father Baron Victor von Frankenstein. In 1793, Victor moves to Ingolstadt to study at the university, and he promises to get married to Elizabeth. At the university, Victor befriends Henry Clerval, who becomes his best friend. Victor gets close to Professor Waldman and decides to create life to cheat death, but Waldman advises him that he should not try this experiment, since the result would be an abomination. When Waldman dies, Victor steals his notes and tries...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Victor Frankenstein states that hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. While commonly believed, this is false. As the skin becomes dehydrated, it recedes, exposing hair and nail tissue that was already there. See more »
Takes a big dump on all previous "Frankenstein" films from an almighty height...
...it's just such a pity that this is faint praise, since this one never quite rises above the B-level in itself. All the elements for a brilliant film were in place: a perfect cast (especially De Niro as the monster), breathtaking locations, and for once, complete faithfulness to the real story. With nary a bolt or piece of green skin in sight, Mary Shelley's classic tale of anti-science terror has never looked so great.
It's just such a pity that it cannot make its mind up whether it wants to be a pure emotional drama or a straight-for-the-throat horror story. Robert De Niro lends his character(s) the right degree of emotion and subtlety, and John Cleese surprises the stuffings out of me by showing that yes, he really can act. Helena Bonham Carter gives a good performance that allows the rest of the cast something to work with, but her role is sadly underdeveloped. Unfortunately, all of these foundations are brought crashing down by Kenneth Branagh's overacting. Had the wild bursts of energy and madness been a little spaced out (as is generally the case with the mentally ill), a great deal of believability would have been salvaged. Unfortunately, his performance as Victor Frankenstein turns what could have been a modern masterpiece into a sophomoric stage play with production values, captured on celluoid.
Having said that much, it is wonderful to see that Hollywood has finally dismissed the childish imitation of Frankenstein that has plagued it since the 1930s. No more bolts, no more stupid-looking makeup, and no more idiotic poses. De Niro and Branagh bring the monster to life in such an elegant way that, in the scenes when we see the monster struggle alone, we just cannot help but feel for him. Indeed, the scenes when the monster is chased out of the town by ignoramuses who believe him to be carrying "the plague", one has to wonder who the real monsters of this story are. Speaking as a mental patient who has never to this day been properly treated, my favourite point of this film is the moment where Frankenstein confronts his creation. Hearing the "son" tell the "father" how the latter gave the former these major impulses and bursts of violent strength without teaching the poor creature how to deal with them rings so true for me that I still show this scene to the health professionals I try to educate from time to time.
If I could sum up my comments on this film in a single phrase, it would be that while we have a long way to go in realising the true horror element of this story, Kenneth Branagh's effort stands head and shoulders above the pack. Well worth having a look at, and the photography alone makes it worth owning on DVD.
41 of 79 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this