Halloween Horror: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Hello, my darling readers!
With today’s movie we officially reached the 90s with four more films of this decade to come. For now, I want to share my thoughts on Frankenstein, a film that’s been on my list almost as long as the book it’s based on. I can finally tick off the adaptation, so I hope I have time for the novel soon as well!

The Plot:

Victor Frankenstein is an ambitious young man. When he moves to Ingolstadt to become a doctor, an old promise prompts him to step outside the boundaries of what should be possible. Ever since his mother passed away Victor has been obsessed with finding a way to conquer death.
Well, some things should not be allowed to rise again…

The Rating:

This was a lot. With a runtime of over 2 hours, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is quite long for a horror movie. As I haven’t read the book yet, I don’t know which parts of the film come from there but honestly, I could have done without a lot of the stuff going on.
Let me explain. The story of Frankenstein’s monster is told in retrospect by Frankenstein himself, who happens to be somewhere around the North Pole looking for his monster when he runs into an expedition. That part of the story is rather weird and for me, it didn’t tie in with the rest of the film at all. If they had just left out this intro and the bit at the end, we wouldn’t have missed a thing.

Kicking it off with young Frankstein striving to be a doctor when his mother dies would have been enough of a beginning to set the tone and would have made a rounder overall picture. Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing I have to criticize.

While a Frankenstein adaptation can be extremely atmospheric, for some reason this film felt rather bland and almost sterile. I couldn’t help be feel extremely detached and there was no chance I’d get sucked into the story.

Although the scenes are optically super pale, Kenneth Branagh (director and the actor who plays Frankenstein) managed to create so many moments that are way over the top, thus wrecking the last chance of creating intensity.

By the way, this film marks another occasion of “famous actors I don’t recognize”. The monster is portrayed by Robert De Niro. Honestly, I never would have known it’s him had I not checked the Wikipedia page for the film. He obviously tries his best with what he is given but, sorry not sorry, I can’t be bothered to care for his monster. The movie walks a thin line of making the monster appear human only to remind you moments later that it is after all still a monster. The movie walks the line like a drunk person at a police check. It’s not working at all and is just another example of how Branagh failed to find the right tone. Furthermore, I didn’t find the monster scary, it was mostly just annoying.

Again, I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t know who is to blame in this case. I am not convinced of the monster-making process. A lot of stuff seemed off and didn’t make sense to me, especially when it comes to the assembly of the body parts. If you’ve seen this film, I’d love to hear whether it felt logical to you! Maybe it’s just me…

What I did enjoy though, was Helena Bonham Carter’s performance. Her scenes towards the end were great and I wish there would have been more of her. Unfortunately, her role isn’t to layered, so she doesn’t get to show her full potential.

As excited as I was to watch Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as disappointed did I end up. The movie misses the mark as a horror film, a period drama and a love story. Not the worst film I have ever seen but certainly nothing I’d watch a second time.

Did you watch this horror film? Let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Halloween Horror: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

  1. Bummer, I could watch the trailer as it doesn’t work in Canada. I know this film tanked and Branagh was trying to be more faithful to the book but I also know the film can get away from him. One day I would like to watch all the Frankenstein pictures…a daunting goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Tuesday: Books I didn’t get to in 2019 | The Punk Theory

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