Posts Tagged ‘Science as Magic’

I, Frankenstein

April 10, 2015

I have been a fan of the Frankenstein story since I read it as young kid one summer because it was a classic and all I had ever seen was Young Frankenstein. I wanted the story straight from the horse’s mouth. I was also a big fan of Greek and Roman mythology so the title Prometheus Unbound also grabbed my attention. Frankenstein is a rich tale full of complex thoughts on ethics, morality and the nature and compostion of a man. I expected that I, Frankenstein would be none of these things. I was shockingly wrong.

I went into this movie thinking that it was just going to be an action romp that I would forget almost as soon as it was over. Instead, it was an action romp that followed through with a lot of the themes and thoughts from the original book. Adam Frankenstein is now trying to find a place in a world that fears and despises him and he also gets caught up in a war between good and evil. The character acts believably when confronted with obstacles that you would expect would be thrown at him.

The characters are all written pretty well and with a surprising degree of subtlety given what I thought I was getting myself into. The villains are charming and intelligent which makes sense as they are demons. The female protagonist is a fairly rounded and strong character without being action girl. I wish she had a little more screentime so that we could get a little more insight into her character but this was an action fantasy and they weren’t going to do that. The gargoyles are actually a pretty mercenary lot and make surprising choices. Actually, there were a lot of surprises in this film. Places where the movie turned right when I expected them to go left.

Here’s a few thoughts I had during the movie.

“Wait, this is an almost sequel to the book? Wow.”

Yeah, I was not expecting them to actually recount some of the story from the book. Of course, they change the ending so that Frankenstein’s Creature lives but movies have been doing that for a long time. The ending to Prometheus Unbound was poetic and beautiful in a way but I often wonder what would have happened if the creature lived. What if the creature clung to humanity instead of allowing his creator to debase him into being the expected monster?

“Ok I laughed at the cheap ‘It’s alive!’ callback. Sue me.”

It’s a line that’s been attached to every single depiction of Frankenstein since the book. It kind of had to be thrown in there. It actually comes about pretty naturally and therefore kind of funny.

“He’s fallen in with a militant sect of supermodels.”

The gargoyles are all ridiculously pretty and slathered in baby oil so that everyone has a sheen to their skin. It actually got a little better as the film progressed but  I found it kind of funny in the moment.

“Why is everyone else British?”

Yeah. I know it takes place in England (I guess) but why are all of the supernatural creatures speaking with a British accent? I guess you could explain away the demons who interract with human locals on a day to day basis. The gargoyles tend to have a sort of no contact rule like the Prime Directive in Star Trek so there’s no need to have a local accent. Whatever.

“Microwaving a dead rat isn’t going to bring it back to life. Oh wait, Frankenstein is fantasy not sci-fi.”

I’ve always classified Frankenstein as fantasy even though the word science is all over it like white on rice. However, there’s next to no technobabble and nobody is ever able to explain how he did what he did. It’s more or less treated like magic in countless adaptations and I approve. I’m definitely more a fan of Fantasy than I am of Science Fiction.

I would definitely suggest people see this movie if you’re into urban fantasy and action.


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