Movie Reviews

This ‘Frankenstein’ just won’t shut up | 1 star

Updated: 2014-01-24T16:11:04Z

By ROGER MOORE

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Aaron Eckhart bears a distressing resemblance to the not late / not great Christopher Lambert in “I, Frankenstein,” a graphic novel movie goof on the manmade monster.

Gaunt, scowling, covered in scars and sporting fingerless gloves, a tattered hoodie and biker boots, this “I” is an avenging brawler, sort of “Blade” in a blender, with “Underworld” and “Highlander” elements tossed in.

Rejected by his creator, we meet the Big Guy in a striking, Gothic past in which he avenges himself on Dr. Frankenstein. And just as he’s burying the guy, demons and then gargoyles show up to fight over the corpse – his corpse.

Why would they want this creation “of a dozen used parts from eight different corpses,” this living thing without a soul? The demon legions and their boss (Bill Nighy) have in mind some sort of demon reanimation project, a factory – DemonWorks SKG.

And the godly gargoyles, led by Leonore (Miranda Otto), aim to stop them. Their battles, often around the Gothic cathedrals where the gargoyles sit in stony silence watching over an unsuspecting humanity, are special-effects extravaganzas, with demons “descended” (killed) into disintegrating piles of hot coals and gargoyles getting “ascended”(killed) in beams of Rapture light straight out of “This Is the End.”

The whole affair goes straight to hell about four minutes in. The idea of a seemingly immortal monster, wandering the forests of central Europe, shedding the archaic English or German accent or whatever he would have learned to speak for the modern vernacular, is abandoned for nonstop battles and endless, tedious pages of exposition.

“Adam,” as the monster is named, mentions a bit of his past. Then the gargoyles spend the rest of the movie explaining who they are, what the demons are, how their world works and how much they love explaining things.

Most of this endless story takes place in a modern-ish EveryCity, where Adam stomps the darkened streets, an angry monster pawn looking for another demon or gargoyle to fix.

Yvonne Strahovski (of TV’s “Dexter”) is the fetching doctor who presides over modern-day efforts to replicate the late Dr. Frankenstein’s reanimation work – pretty enough to be a “companion” to Adam, an actress given nothing to play, just a wardrobe. It’s great seeing Otto all these years after “The Lord of the Rings,” and Nighy does his usual well-dressed villain thing, only less so.

Eckhart? His only job is to keep the makeup stitches from popping, to maintain a straight face when Leonore intones, “You’re only a monster if you behave like one.”

Sounds like a job for … Christopher Lambert.

Mel Brooks had a lot of fun with this story, once upon a time. And another, straight version of the Mary Shelley story is due in theaters shortly. The humorless, generic and chatty Frankenstein served up here makes you wonder if the good doctor, in all his patching-together of parts, didn’t forget the brains.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here