Army of Frankensteins (2013)
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The plot is a jumbled mix or time travel and a bunch of sci-fi gimmicks, none of these really fascinate. Actors are often cringe-worthy in their performance, although the lead may be funny since he looks adequately like a normal guy. Characters are variety of unsuitable personalities with jarring costume and hairdo, or just simply over the top misinterpretation of the era. Even it plays with historic and scientific backdrop, the film has no accuracy in either aspect. I guess it's a tad optimistic to hope for those.
It will get worse towards latter half, if one can make it pass an hour of characters waddling on a random field and tons of gibberish. The effect is abysmal, literal green screen mess. It has slightly lengthier runtime than most movies but there's really not much it has to offer. You might find some amusement, but it's recommended to invest time elsewhere.
I needed someone to pull my eye out only 20 to 30 minutes into this slop. Can anyone explain why the mad scientist needed a living eyeball to complete his creation? The eyeball was the MacGuffin device! It was the only thing that drove the plot. Honestly, I was very concerned about that eyeball.
Every time someone said "Frankenstein" they acted like they didn't know what that meant. Yet Mary Shelly's novel was published 40 to 50 years prior to this event. Maybe no one had read it? Books were not that popular back then in 1864.
I never knew Frankenstein monsters are lighter than air, since the untethered balloon won't leave the ground until the monster is aboard. For some unknown reason, balloon rides with a former slave, now battlefield nurse, makes it cool you killed all those people because all along you just want to help. But when your Civil War balloon is shot down by World War 2 anti-aircraft fire, you are happy to have a lighter than air Frankenstein around.
The appearance of the video game character Megaman in this movie, was no surprise to me. At this point the drugs the writers were on clearly had taken effect. This reminds me, the writers should not be allowed near paper and pens, especially if the producers returned them to the asylum.
We couldn't end this travesty without yet more insult to history but to the iconic President Lincoln as well. I seem to recall Lincoln was shot after the war. Oh well, it didn't happen in this movie just as Hitler didn't eat a bullet in the bunker for "Inglourious Basterds". Let's make up some more history and have every child in America drooling at the TV.
Yes, there should be war crimes trials... for making this movie.
I'm going to use the word Frankenstein a lot as I mention the monster in this film, I do know that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who built the monster and not the name for the monster. This film doesn't seem to understand this but if I went off on a rant saying that this ruined the film for me then I'd need a lot more page space for a ranty review, instead of that I'll just use the stance the film did and refer to the monster as a Frankenstein.
The story in a nutshell is that the descendant of a Civil War soldier is feeling down on his luck after his girlfriend turns down his marriage proposal. On a long walk home he is assaulted and kidnapped. He wakes up to find he part of a mad scientists experiment and is about to lose his eye ball. During the procedure of building a Frankenstein something goes wrong and the Scientist, his young Igor, the kidnapped man and a handful of Frankenstein's are sent back in time to the American Civil war. At first the Frankenstein's attack everyone but a slave girl manages to communicate with the monster and in effect get him to fight on her side. Unfortunately it wasn't just people who travelled in time but also parts of the lab where the Frankenstein was being put together, on that note the opposition forces in the war managed to procure some serum which could turn the living into monsters. On top of the man vs man fighting it later becomes man vs man vs monster vs new monster, all a bit messy really but it's not hard to follow who is who's side. The war eventually comes to an end but then the hero's of the film are beckoned to Washington to meet Abraham Lincoln who has a mission for them, he wants to stop the newly created monster and the leader of the opposition forces who themselves are plotting with John Booth to assassinate Lincoln. Despite everyone's best efforts to change history it doesn't work. After all the Frankensteins are dead our hero travels back to the future where once again he is turned down for marriage by his girlfriend however this time he isn't as worried as he's grown as a man and can understand the rejection more.
I was hoping for something better than what unfolded on screen, I feel this was a little bit of a let down. It also felt like this was two films tied together, everything that happens from the end of the Civil war leading to Washington felt like a lot cheaper film - perhaps the budget had been blown by then, but there was more green room and CGI in a studio than the first part of the film. I'd go as far as saying the amount of bad CGI and green-screen in the second part of the film is off putting. The star of the show was a young Christian Bellgardt who played the grave robbing, scene stealing "Igor". Despite seeing his back story and following him around the film your affection only lasts for a while as he is yet to fully become a convincing actor.
There was a lot of promise which wasn't delivered, as far as parody horror comedy during the Civil War goes I'd watch "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" any day over this.
If you are a fan of Back to The Future, Night of the Living Dead, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, or maybe even another B offering from a few years ago, Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula, I am reasonably certain you will like this one. The story line is simple and far-fetched enough to be great fun: a young man and an even younger boy are thrown back into time 150 years, right into the thick of the American Civil War. To stretch credibility even further, an "army" of Frankenstein clones are produced to combat the "bad" monsters, all created by a greenish serum brought from the future. The goals of our heroes are to 1. Assist in helping the North win the Civil War 2. Make it safely home to the 21st century, and 3. Meet their ancestors. Do not assume any of this is necessarily in that order.
You do not a need a detailed critique of this film for several reasons, the main one being, this is a low budget B film and should be judged as such. It is grossly unfair to compare such a film to higher budget, Hollywood productions and I hate to see that when it happens, which is, sadly, pretty often. Also, I do not wish for you to know too much more about plot and story. As they say in show business, "Leave 'em wanting more," and so I shall. Instead, I offer comments and my impressions of what is a fun film to watch.
The young boy who played Igor, Christian Bellgardt, stole the show. I am certain his father, writer/director Ryan Bellgardt, did not plan for that, but what a nice surprise for both of them. Young Bellgardt has a future in acting, and I hope he stays interested enough to pursue it.
Oklahoma horror legend John "Count Gregore" Ferguson has a fairly small but important role as the mad scientist, Dr. Tanner Finski. Many years ago, Mr. Ferguson's career path took a turn towards Oklahoma, and here we see what might have been . . . if. John Ferguson could easily have been John Carradine, and it was good to him in a substantial screen role, one he handled very well.
The special effects were pretty good. I liked the occasional use of filtered lens for a rose tint look in spots, and Solomon's (portrayed by Rett Terrell) arm cannon was very enjoyable. The story was meaningful and poignant at times, campy and fun at other times. The beard on the villainous Confederate officer resembles a large piece of steel wool and the scene where the soldier caught a cannonball and threw it back the other way reminded me of an old Republic serial I viewed many years ago. Dialogue was embellished and over the top in a fun way in places, but the underlying theme of the entire story was the young boy Igor's loss of innocence for many reasons not of his own doing.
The story creators toyed around with what I will call, for lack of a better term, a combination alternate/revisionist history of facts pertaining to that era. You will have to view the film to see what I mean. All in all, they stayed true to history, within context of a fiction story.
I am hoping Mr. Bellgardt will add a director's commentary audio to future releases of the DVD.
You may learn more about this film on Facebook. Look for the Army of Frankensteins page.
The lead actor, up & coming Jared Farris, delivered the best line of the movie, "Let's kick some Frankenstein Ass." While John Ferguson (Count Gregore, local OKC Horror Host) was magnificent as "The Mad Scientist" bringing the legend of not just one, but an Army of Frakensteins to life.
BUT... It was young Mr. Christian Bellgardt who played the grave robbing, scene stealing "Igor" that made the movie. The genius of a 14 year old playing "Igor" should not be missed. Find this movie, buy it and enjoy it. And yes, I bought the T-shirt!
As is so often the case, an ego-maniacal mad scientist is at the heart of our troubles, in an attempt to reanimate the Monster's corpse, the crazy Dr. Finski accidentally tears open a hole in the space/time continuum, pouring a multiverse worth of Frankensteins into the middle of the American Civil War. Correcting this little glitch in Time constitutes Our Heroes' Quest. I hate to give away too much in a review so I'll just give you a few highlights. This movie has a lot of good stuff in it, including nods to some of the classic Frankenstein films, (as well as Phil Hartman's version) some effective and often funny gross out effects, a plasma coil cannon, a Counter-Frankenstein, discussions on everything from time travel to the nature of true love, Igor played as a wise- cracking yet highly competent 12 year old boy, and Frankenstein's attempt to thwart Lincoln's assassination at Ford Theater.
Not only is an entertaining film with a good sense of fun, but it seems it was also made by a small group of independent artists and therefore could use your financial support. So spend your money on a product that is not only a good time, but that will help these folks turn out more quality entertainment.
The film follows much of "The Army of Darkness" formula. It is campy and designed to be a cult film. Jordan Farris is not Bruce Campbell and this production falls a little short of the classical cult status, but will certainly give you the necessary cult fix until the next great one comes along. The film utilizes a catchy opening soundtrack. The present time era of the girlfriend in the supermarket wasn't written well.
Guide: 1 loud F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
The whole time travel thing is muddled to say the least and character decisions sometimes feel forced to move the plot or make something happen that could've been avoided. But remember, this is just a very very low budget movie. Don't be too hard on it or just don't watch it