Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Trailer: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay

Directed by: Paul McGuigan

Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins

Genre(s):  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Review by:  John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)

A re-imagining of the classic horror filled tale of Doctor Frankenstein and his assistant? Yes, his assistant (Daniel Radcliffe) takes center stage here not to upstage the obvious side character that actually is the main character. I’m talking about Doctor Frankenstein folks! There are many tales of Frankenstein, this is one of the many lower on the list. Now, if you’re really wanting a movie on Igor, then I think you’ve found your movie!

 

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

Before I get started, I felt that I needed to give you a brief back story of the Igor character. Did you know that his first appearance in Media was not a movie at all? Not even a book. It was the song “Monster Mash”. You know you’ve heard it. Unless you sleep the entire month of October. The first Frankenstein movie did not contain Igor. The Bride of Frankenstein didn’t either. He had an assistant but his name wasn’t Igor. I will get more into his name later. Lets talk about another name real quick. Victor Frankenstein wasn’t in the first film’s either. In those movies his name was Henry. Just so we are straight here, Victor was the original name for the good doctor. It was a total Bruce Banner / David Banner moment. Which is why I’m guessing they threw in the easter egg of Victor’s “older” brother Henry. The best part of this movie came from its originality and the particular path it took as a story.

You can’t get any better than James McAvoy as Doctor Frankenstein. There were times that he took it to a 10 when it should have been a 9 but he melded the Mad Scientist character with the tortured soul character. Brilliant. Daniel Radcliffe was fine as well as anybody else in the movie. I didn’t have any “acting” complaints from him. Now his character? We will touch on that in a bit. The character of Lorelei I had felt was going to be a damsel in distress character. I thought she would mirror the Elizabeth character that was fiance to Henry Frankenstein in ’31 but this time around possibly fiance to Igor since he was getting a major overhaul. The Barnaby character played by Daniel Mays was convincing but again, the writing didn’t help his cause.

The plot was something that I thought was promising. I remember hearing about this movie before it even filmed. I was excited to see what could happen when they took the story from the point of view of Igor, Frankenstein’s trusty assistant. By the time it made it to theaters though the name had changed most likely because Igor wouldn’t pull in audiences like a trustworthy Movie title such as Frankenstein. Maybe it was named that the whole time, I’m not sure but from the way Radcliffe had described the story, you would think the same thing. Igor taking the name of another man? Maybe this was another Easter egg to the fact that Igor really wasn’t Igor in the earlier classic movies. The Name of this movie should not have been Victor Frankenstein yet it was and they tried to throw the brother connection in there to make this movie tilt more towards his salvation. It was more so Igor’s film and rightfully so, since it was his come up. It made more since to have Igor be a savant when it came to medicine. Why else would Frankenstein choose to have him aid? To get dead bodies John. Oh yeah. There’s always that. They may want to reconsider re-classifying this movie. This isn’t a horror film in any sort of way.

I think Doctor Victor Frankenstein… wait. He never graduated. He wasn’t a Doctor. Did they call him doctor? Anyway, maybe he could have become a great chiropractor. Seriously he fixed a 18-year-old back disorder in the matter of minutes. With only a slam to a pillar and a back brace he had lying around. Oh, and he totally could start-up his own YouTube channel siphoning (by mouth) Cyst’s from People’s backs that are so large that they think they are hunchbacked. So much ridiculous writing. The Hunchback gets the Pretty girl to fall in love with him how? How about how young Igor scaled the side of a mountain after being in bed for like a week and he did it all with no problem! Igor the 1st body encased in Ice? What was the purpose of that? Why did he steal the eyes? Was this to make Igor not trust him. I just don’t know. The crazy Religious Police detective was a one note pony. Would he really gather a bunch of Officers and try to break down this guy’s door when he didn’t have a warrant? Nobody thought to check that out? He was more focused on the fact that he felt he was doing god’s job in this thing. I get that, but c’mon give him some proper reasoning. He was not smart. Can we talk about the “Monster”? My, my that thing was hideous. Not hideous as in scary. But hideous as in this is what they put their best foot forward with. Listen, if you make any form of a Frankenstein movie. Your “Monster” has to be good. This thing was a joke. Lasted about 4 minutes of screen time too. Boo! The monkey abomination was cooler than the actual Frankenstein monster. There! I said it!

I didn’t like this movie. James McAvoy carried my torch, but I carried the pitchfork. Mainly because it could have been so much more than what it turned out to be. I went in thinking that it was going to be the Frankenstein story told through the eyes of Igor. Instead it started that way but got confused halfway through and didn’t have enough steam to make up its mind by the end of the film.

 

1.5

STARS

 

Comic Book Connection James McAvoy (Wanted, X-Men: Origins, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Dark Phoenix)
Nudity Bonus That could have helped this movie out a bit.
Favorite Moment Watching Victor work in the castle (lab).  It reminded me of the classic movie.
Most Hated Moment Sucking crap out of Igor’s back.  Disgusting.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie This movie reminded me of a subpar Sherlock Holmes movie for some reason.  Not as good.  Not even close.
What did my wife think of this movie? She liked it.  She thought it was good.
Box Office Budget $40,000,000.00
How much it made Domestically $5,775,076.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Failure
Did you notice? 1.  Igor does actually say “Yes, Master” in the film.  Monkey showcase at the school.
2.  The movie made Worldwide:  $34,227,298.  Which didn’t even make its budget back.
3.  Max Landis wrote this movie.  He wrote movies like Chronicle, American Ultra, and that’s the decent stuff.
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 24%
Audience 35%
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The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

 

Trailer:  The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive

Directed by:  James Whale

Runtime:  1 hr & 15 min

Genre(s): Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Review by: John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)

4 years following the original “Frankenstein” movie we get a direct sequel that starts by having Mary Shelley describe that her characters were not actually killed off in the movie. From there we discover that Frankenstein’s monster had much more living to do, finding friends, more enemies, and a potential mate.

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

The Bride of Frankenstein is a movie that you must see if you are a fan of old monster movies. Much more character building for Frankenstein’s monster and I love that it connects to the 1931 Frankenstein movie seamlessly. We are introduced to a new menacing “mad scientist” in Dr. Pretorius. More evil than his college Dr. Henry Frankenstein and he steals the scenes he is in with his mere presence. If you are worried about being scared though, you have nothing to worry about. There is no fright in this movie.

The over acting is a staple for the 1930’s Hollywood picture. They had to over act like this in silent films so, the acting had carried over well after they started including audio. During the beginning of the film I’m assuming they were going for levity and the inclusion of some comedic elements to make the scarier more horrifying. Instead they made the sillier almost unwatchable. I’m pointing my Frankenstein finger at one character exclusively. Minnie was a distraction. For instance when she is running from the monster it takes away from everything Frankenstein is supposed to be. Several times I expected to hear the Munsters theme music, which made me sad. Because like many, I’m sure I’ve built these classic monster movies up in my head to scarier than they actually are. There isn’t an Igor character here but we do have a “Karl”. Karl is an idiot, Don’t be like Karl. Unless he made it out of there at the end, then I suspect that Karl is smarter than his eyebrows make him look.

 

Frankenstein is a living creature that is made from the bodies of dead people. He just wants to be human and help others. His appearance keeps people from reacting anything close to civil. You attack the monster, you get thrown to the ground. Frankenstein comes across an old blind man to reiterate the fact that if you can’t see him you won’t be afraid of him. They become friends and in a short period of time (I assume) the old man teaches his friend to speak. Good, Bad, Friend, ya know, the basics in everyday speech. Phil Hartman’s portrayal of Frankenstein in SNL came to mind when Frankenstein’s Monster had uttered the words “Fire, Bad!!”. We even saw ole frankie puffin’ away on a stogie! That’s a sight of disappointment let me tell you. Its like walking in on Superman as he is taking his hairpiece off. The friendship of the old man allowed Frankenstein’s monster to open up and be controlled by Dr. Pretorius. Which after some strong arming by the evil doctor he got Dr. Frankenstein to agree to make the monster a mate. Only to realize that this woman saw him as everyone else did. A monster.

The story is lacking in payoff in my opinion. I went into the movie assuming that I would see The Bride of Frankenstein for at least half of the movie. I mean, its her movie! No, that is not the case here folks. The final 4 minutes of the movie is when Frankenstein’s mate is revealed to the world. I really liked her mannerisms and there was so much there to build on. 2 seconds later it was over. It was easy to take note of the famous line spoken by Dr. Frankenstein. “She’s Alive!” which is foreshadowed earlier in the scene. (look for it) As for Dr. Pretorius’ introduction I felt the “tiny” people were over the top unnecessary to the movie and we could have established his crazy mad scientist background another way that had a closer tie to Dr. Frankenstein. Cinematography was pretty cool especially when they would try to make Dr. Pretorious look menacing and mad. Tilting the camera with electricity in the background is always a win.

I felt they could have put so much more into the ending. We were just introduced to the Title character and 4 minutes later the movie ends leaving our characters (minus one Dr. Frankenstein) dead. Frankenstein assuredly dead just as in the first film. The story was put together well, but I must say that the title of the film was completely off. I’m renaming this one to Frankenstein 2: The Blind Friend. Reason being it was the old blind man that moved the Frankenstein’s monster character along to allow him to side with the evil doctor and in turn die again. There was two alternative titles that were used in the USA release. Frankenstein Lives Again! & The Return of Frankenstein which fits the story so much better than what it ended up being known for.

3.5

STARS

 

Comic Book Connection n/a
Nudity Bonus n/a
Favorite Moment When we get to see The Bride of Frankenstein unveiled to the world.  Very cool.
Most Hated Moment Frankenstein smokin’ a stogie while bouncing with joy listening to his friend play the violin.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie This movie reminded me of the original but with more Frankenstein talking.
What did my wife think of this movie? She didn’t watch this movie.  Could I blame her?
Box Office Budget $397,024.00
How much it made Domestically $2,000,000.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Success
Did you notice? 1.  Christian imagery is seen throughout the film.  Ie. Monster on a crucifix?
2.  Dr. Henry Frankenstein is seen in the castle while the building is collapsing, yet he escapes in the end.
3.  When the bride see’s the Monster for the first time she actually smiles.
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 100%
Audience 87%

Frankenstein (1931)

Trailer: Frankenstein (1931)

Starring:  Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff  – Directed By:  James Whale

Running Time: 1hr & 10 mins – Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

 

Big JD (Host)

Movie Selection Relevance

Happy Halloween!  What better time to watch a classic horror film than now.  It was a toss up between Dracula & this movie.  I figured since last week or so the new I, Frankenstein movie trailer premiered than this was an automatic lock.  It is a movie I’ve never seen and “frankly” I’ve always been curious.

Synopsis:

Henry Frankenstein was a very accomplished scientist that his obsession on “creating life”  had taken over his life.  Even when he was engaged to be married he still had to complete his life’s work on creating life with his bare hands from an assembled mess of dead body parts.  When he finally achieves his goal he finds that it is not possible to play god and that happy endings don’t come cheap.

Review:

Disappointing.  My first thoughts rang out during this entire movie.  Knowing that this movie had been made over 80 years ago I was prepared to give it some leeway.   Although, there were some things I couldn’t let slide no matter how much of a classic this movie claims to be.

The acting was very typical of 1930’s cinema.  Overacting in all of its grandeur.  I let this go due to the period of which this film was made.  I felt that Colin Clive did very good with the character of doctor Frankenstein.  (minus the fainting attacks)  Casting was superb with the likes of Boris Karloff playing a classic monster.  Go figure.  He did what hes good at I guess.  The directing was not to my liking although I will be nailing James Whale in the Editing portion so, I don’t want to double ding.  In this category also exists Lighting and Wardrobe.  The lighting gave a fantastic feel to this film, and the wardrobe only helped add to the feel and tone of the movie.  Well done.  I guess you might throw set pieces in there as well.  You could tell they were set pieces but I felt they were done very well and I especially liked the dark skies backdrops.

The editing of the film let much to be desired.  It started with bad cuts before and after the “digging up the grave” scene.  Then the bad editing and smooth transitions were all over the place.  Again, I was going to let it slide until I got to the “Monster meets Maria” scene.  Which I feel had tremendous potential of showing that the Monster had a large heart.  But after he tosses the little girl in the water it goes into a jumble of cut scenes showing the monster freaking out.  But what happened to the little girl?  Oh we see the father carrying her later on and we just have to assume that she’s dead.  I’m guessing the studio didn’t allow James Whale to show Frankenstein killing the little girl.  But if that was the issue he could have cut the film better with additional scenes to stronger convey what happened.

So, the father of Maria carries her lifeless body all the way into town and up to the doorsteps of the town mayor. (I’m guessing he’s the mayor).  And the mayor says why did you bring her?  With his reply being “she was murdered!”.  Now, stop right there.  What in the world makes him assume that she was murdered?  He left his young girl all by herself so that she could play right next to a lake.  He comes home and is surprised that she drowned?  Seriously?  Better parenting might have saved her life.  How could she not know how to swim when she lives right next to a lake?  So, then the town gets all upset and takes to fire & pitchforks after a person they’ve never seen before if he even exists.  Then Frankenstein joins the search in which after his fiancé was attacked he assumes his monster is in town.  But did he tell the mayor at all about this?  Nobody knows.  Quick question:  Was Fritz suppose to be Igor?  Or was Fritz the original character from the Shelley book?  I’m thinking he was.  The soundtrack was hardly there.  Wait, I might have to go check to see if there was a score…

Overall plot to me was very weak.  Man creates monster, monster gets loose, monster kills creator, town kills monster.  Actually that small synopsis felt like it had more depth than what I spent an hour and 10 minutes watching.  They give up on the “monster” after one incident that he was actually provoked into (fire).  That doesn’t seem like the Dr. was actually obsessed with his “experiment”.  Maybe he was just obsessed with the experiment itself and once he finished it he grew tired.  The Monster of Frankenstein was creepy at best.  I’ve seen this character my whole life and I thought he would be scarier than what he actually was.  He was quite agile for a Frankenstein monster.  Ninja-like at times.  I guess I was expecting more of the zombie stiff walking/creeping to show up but we get very little of that.

On the whole, I’m glad I watched it.  I was pretty terrified to start it up but once I did I realized there was nothing to fear.  Seriously, nothing at all to fear.  It’s not that the movie was cheesy, it’s more of the fact that it had so much potential to be more than what it was.

*Sidenote* I think I know where George Lucas got some of his character inspiration for his Yoda character.  Please see Baron Von Frankenstein.

Comic book Connection: n/a

Nudity Bonus:  n/a

 

2.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

After finally getting a chance to sit down and watch a Halloween Classic video all these years I finally get to see what the fuss is all about.
Boris Karloff the grand-daddy of monsters and playing multiple monsters being type casted just like Lon Channey and Bela Lugosi as the classics of horror, Boris plays the tall lanky giant of a man(or monster if you prefer) who says very little, much like my beloved Chewbacca. In this movie I feel there isn’t much of an acting part however he does bring the monster to life like when he is with the little girl and tosses the flowers to float in the water.
The rest of the cast did well but no one really stood out.
Classics like this for me are slow starters I feel like I am going to be bored but they are great sleepers they eventually grab my attention and keep me involved, for example for me with this movie it was a slow pace at first watching them collect everything for the monster. I know this is an adaptation but I felt they should have explained more about why he was so set on proving his point, who told him he was crazy in the first place ( Obviously the Professor/ Doctor who suddenly jumped on board then wanted to explore more before he “killed” the monster, and then the father Baron von Frankenstein obviously wasn’t too worried about his son because it had been how long then he wants to go get him, and was sure it was another woman “his experiments” Lots of things that would have been good scenes if more was produced.

I am sure we’ve all heard “Time is money” and if figure that is why the movie was a measly 1hr 10min long, to me it just gave me a taste with a chipper happy ending…? I mean the monster is dead right? and the maid staff wanted to bring wine for the recently wounded Young Henry Frankenstien, but I felt that it should have added more scenes that went into more detail, Also why did they call Igor “Fritz” a midget hunchback who looked like he could have been a ginger…even little guy.
Well over all the movie for a classic was ok, I don’t really see myself going out and watching it again, but it does leave me curious to see The Bride of Frankenstein. I was told it was much better, but like always that is one’s opinion.

2.50‘s

 

Kimmay!

In the last post, if you read it, I mentioned that I do not like old horror movies. I guess I should have said that I do not like the ones from the 60’s to the late 80’s. But the classics…I absolutely love them. Actors like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff really knew how to draw their audience in. The acting was not cheesy and to me, had just the right amount flair to make it fun to watch.

I must say I felt sorry for the monster in Frankenstein. This kind of brings up the question of nature over nurture and which one is more of a factor of how one is in life. Fritz, Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant. tormented the monster as much as he could. It was almost like he was the only child that got replaced by a new baby. He teased and teased even though “daddy” told him not to. The monster wanted to be good, that was shown when we was playing with the little girl. He just wasn’t taught how to be gentle, or the fact that throwing a person in water could kill them in 10 seconds or less.

So it was decided when the little girl was found dead that the monster must be taken care of. Dr. F takes it on himself to find and kill his own creation. But kinda gets his butt kicked in the process.

I really do like this movie. It has drama, romance, death and intrigue. So I give this movie…

4.0‘s