I, Frankenstein

I, FRANKENSTEIN picks up where Mary Shelley left off, with the the doctor (Aden Young, SNIPER) dying in the Arctic trying to kill the creature (Aaron Eckhart, PAYCHECK). Then it skips ahead to the current day, and there is much evidence* to support that if Shelley had lived 163 years longer she would’ve continued the story in the same way: with “the modern Prometheus” as an immortal who wears cool fingerless gloves and a hoodie under a jacket and is good at fighting and has two magic batons because he’s at the center of an ancient war between demons and gargoyles. *[citation needed]

It takes place in the great city of Greenscreensboro, where it’s always night and swarms of CGI flying guys sweep down and fight mobs of fast running demons – basically just dudes with monster heads who wear leather jackets and do martial arts (fight coordinator: Ray Anthony, SON OF THE MASK). I think this is supposed to be a “the world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping” type secret war situation, but there seem to be almost no regular people in the city to ever witness anything, or to wonder why there’s a gargantuan cathedral with a non-Christian symbol on top towering over the city with guys dressed like extras from 300 constantly going in and out.

Move along, folks. Nothin to see here.

The Queen of the Gargoyles (Miranda Otto, HUMAN NATURE) names the monster Adam and offers him her protection, but he’s a loner, so he takes off. Centuries later, some “electro-physiologists” get ahold of Dr. Frankenstein’s diary, so Adam goes in and gets it and then jumps through a window. One major human character is the scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski, KILLER ELITE) who doesn’t realize she’s working for demons (or that they exist) until she starts helping Adam Frankenstein try to get the book.

Bill Nighy (VALKYRIE) plays a billionaire who’s actually the demon prince Naberius. Jai Courtney (A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD) plays a gargoyle commander named Gideon. So you pretty much have the full range of acting there. (Just kidding. I kinda like Jai Courtney. He just has ended up in some bad movies.)

With all its generic digital slickness I assumed this would be from some director of commercials, but actually it’s Stuart Beatty, writer of COLLATERAL and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. His screenplay is “story by” and “based on the graphic novel by” Kevin Grievoux, the actor who plays the deep-voiced demon bodyguard and created the UNDERWORLD series. He seems to be a big nerd for mixing together obvious fantasy/role playing type tropes into generic movie stew. It has the artificial metropolis of THE CROW (and UNDERWORLD) plus the fakey animated monster battles of VAN HELSING with the monarchic warring monster races of UNDERWORLD (but with swords) and the acrobatic monster fights of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or BLADE and then the discovery of an enormous machine of hanging corpses very similar to the battery machine in THE MATRIX. This is the demonic scheme: to create an army of Frankensteins to be possessed by demons (?). Anyway, this part offers my favorite laugh-out-loud ludicrous detail: each of the thousands of bodies are in a steam punk type container affixed with a digital readout: 1% REANIMATION.

According to Wikipedia, “Eckhart and Otto trained for three months with martial arts experts Ron Balicki and Diana Lee Inosanto in the Filipino martial art of Kali for their fight scenes.” It shouldn’t seem this goofy to see respectable supporting actor Eckhart as an action hero. He’s handsome, and in good shape (he goes shirtless and has ridiculous abs), but slow-motion-jumping-Frankenstein seems so beneath him. This isn’t doing him any more favors than JONAH HEX did for James Brolin. Actually, less. Brolin was pretty cool in that one, you could see the potential, but not with this one. Maybe if it wasn’t such a corny idea then Eckhart’s big starring vehicle would’ve changed how we look at him. I don’t know. I don’t know everything. I haven’t read Frankenstein’s journal.

The title is funny to me because onscreen it doesn’t have a comma in it. It’s like “You Jane, I Frankenstein.” Your other complaint is actually a topic of the movie: he has to come to terms with being called Frankenstein, the name of his “father,” who he killed. And yes, I do believe he says the title out loud at the very end. You’ll get a kick out of it.

I don’t think there’s much in I, FRANKENSTEIN that I enjoyed in the spirit it was intended, but at times it’s a pretty funny stupid movie.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 at 11:30 am and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

31 Responses to “I, Frankenstein”

  1. *pushes up glasses*


  2. Such a silly movie. The Power Ranger head makeup plus bad CGI equals a non-starter for poor Aaron Eckhart. Plus the weapons. Why does he choose such lame weapons? The only two stick weapons that are cool are nightsticks, or those warehouse sticks in Rambo 3 (which he probably donated after the fight).

    From my own review: There’s no Frankenstein-y moments either. There’s no cool limb-falling off and re-attaching it moment. He’s never ripped apart like Bishop in Aliens, and then sewn together again into a super badass body. So many wasted opportunities. The only really point of even having him is because he’s “soulless” etc. There’s no variation in his makeup. It’s like they just cut up Eckhart and sewed him up. Even his eyes are the same colour. I much preferred the de Niro Frankenstein’s monster makeup from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He actually looked like he was made from different people.


    Review: I, Frankenstein

    You’ve heard the same whining for years now: “Hollywood have run out of ideas”. “They’re just doing remakes and reboots and sequels now.” “Oh look, another…

  3. This may be one of Vern’s shortest reviews ever, and I can’t say I blame him since I saw this fairly recently and can’t remember a thing about it. As in, I literally don’t remember Jai Courtney or Yvonne Stravhovski or Bill Nighy even being in this. I do kinda hope Kevin Grievoux keeps it up and keeps writing movies about Mummies and Creatures from The Black Lagoon and Invisible Men that are also rehashed versions of Underworld, though. Make em all into a ridiculous Shared Universe and I might actually like this series.

    Despite not remembering anything about this movie, I did bring it up recently when watching “Bleed for This”, since Aaron Eckhart is absolutely excellent in it. Sure, the “balding, overweight, Oscar-bait biopic performance” is something we’ve seen a thousand times, but Eckhart really sells it (and it’s a good movie to boot), and it made me think, “man, I’m really glad he stopped trying to be a shirtless action hero.”

  4. Frankenstein has been remade sooo many times. I hope this one has better effects than the previous movies. Vern, you are probably right this this one is not very different than the others.

  5. I ove the scene towards the end when Adam decides to confront.. I don’t know, Bill Nighy’s contingency? Anyway, it’s a big dramatic moment that basically amounts to Aaron Eckhart just going down the street from the “good guys” hideout to the bad guy’s. Like, they’re literally having this epic battle on one city block.

    Also, the spanish posters all say “Yo, Frankenstein” which sounds like the greatest 90s sitcom never made.

  6. This was supposed to have accredit scene tying into Underworld, but the studio cut it because it was dumb and would have damaged that still-viable franchise.

  7. The list of bad Frankenstein films must absolutely dwarf the list of good ones. We’ve got Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, and Frankenweenie (short and animated). I’m sure there are other good ones, but I haven’t seen them.

  8. SON OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the greatest movies ever if you ask me.

  9. ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN is also up there. Also happens to be one of the best Dracula joints too.

  10. Also FRANKENHOOKER, obviously.

  11. As a kid, the VHS cover of Frankenhooker confused and intrigued me. It seemed to be saying, “We all know that Frankenstein isn’t a female sex worker, but what this movie presupposes is, maybe she is?”

  12. I remember FRANKENHOOKER having a batshit cuckoo ending and a very progressive one at that.

  13. I watched this one because it was on YouTube in as close as YouTube gets to official DVD quality after its theatrical release but before it made Home Video. It had been up for about a month by the time I got to it; the lack of concern Fox had for protecting it’s intellectual property here matched the quality of the film. Like the UNDERWORLD films, this is pretty much my least favourite kind of film; completely vapid, totally bland, portentous and deathly slow; idiotic but absolutely no fun.

    Much better but I didn’t really like the FRANKWEENIE film either. The eponymous character is cute and appealing, but the film seems to slog towards [SPOILERS?] an inevitable and depressing conclusion, but when that inevitable conclusion *doesn’t* come it makes the whole thing seem shallow and kind of pointless. Plus I thought it had a few of those tone-deaf mean-spirited moments Burton has a tendency towards.

  14. I concur with Broddie’s enthusiastic recommendation for SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, the first three Universal FRANKENSTEIN movies are all excellent A+ productions, it was starting with part 4 GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN that it started to be regulated to cheap B-movie fare (naturally I still dig the B-movie line of Universal monster movies but it’s easy to see why they started to lend themselves to parody). ABBOT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN goes without saying is pretty damned entertaining.

    Hammer’s CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is really great, Cushing is always a masterclass actor but watching that one you remember/realize just HOW good he was and how much better he was than 99% of the movies he ended up being in (see also Mako, Christopher Lee, most of the actors we really dig here on this here website). The sequels had the genius idea of following Dr. Frankenstein instead of the monster and while none of them come anywhere near to being as great as CURSE, I still find them a lot fun in seeing how piece-of-shit Cushing-stein fucks up, gets out of this one (spoiler he dies at the end of each movie but each sequel picks up after the prior one but usually neglects to mention how he survived because they wisely we know that we the audience don’t really care).

    FRANKENSTEIN 1970 is a bad movie anchored by a very good Boris Karloff performance (is there any other kind of Karloff performance though?).

    I enjoyed both FRANKENWEENIEs but the short is better because the full length one has an ending that goes against what was seeming to be the moral of the movie just so it could have a happy uplifting ending. It’s been too long since I’ve seen FRANKENHOOKER just me to comment, the talking VHS box will forever be legend.

    Now I’m running out of other good or even interesting FRANKENSTEIN films others have not mentioned already…

  15. FRANKENWEENIE offended me so much, that I actually keep forgetting its existence and never mention it, when the topic shifts to “Burton hasn’t made a good movie since _____________”. I mean, the “villain” who became what it was by accident and isn’t even really evil, dies a cruel and violent death, but afterwards nobody even stops for a SECOND and says: “What a tragedy” or something like that. That was tone-deafness on the level of THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEAD TRANSPLANT ending.

    About the classic FRANKENSTEIN films: It’s interesting how FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN is the prototype of the hollow cashgrab, that people associate with modern Hollywood. The “Farola Faroli” song is catchy and the finale has some cool stuntwork, but everything else about it is the kind of movie, that these days would be today ridiculed with internet catchphrases like “Hollywood ran out of ideas” or “all modern movies suck”. Even the trailer is one of those, that give too much away!

  16. CJ: What I think you’re missing in regards to FRANK MEETS WOLF is awesome and that it’s from my and other’s childhoods and is thus above criticism! Seriously though, I totally agree with you. Half the movies snobs and nerds revere they would absolutely hate and tear to shreds if they had come out today.

    As for FrankWeen Shows you how much it stayed with me then because I have no friggin’ clue what you’re talking about with villain at the end and I just now realized other than the bullshit happy ending I don’t remember a whole hell of a lot of that movie.

    Back on topic: Parkour Frankenstein monster sounded like my kind of dumb but when everyone told me it was boring like UNDERWORLD I steered clear as far I could after such a damning review.

  17. I gave up on FRANKENWEENIE: THE MOVIE after about ten minutes. It just felt so synthetic, which is a weird criticism to level at a movie starring a bunch of plastic puppets, but there it is. It just felt like a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy: a decades-late facsimile of Burton’s own parody of 1950s suburban homogeny that was a reaction to 70s nostalgia for a golden-hued 50s America that only ever existed in black-and-white sitcoms. Whatever teeth this supposed subversion once had have long since been filed down. THE MUNSTERS was more transgressive.

  18. I got in the mood to rewatch old ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS episodes not long ago. I was shocked at how well ADDAMS FAMILY held up, the great cast and the comedy is not only still funny but actually somewhat relevant still. MUNSTERS not so much. If it wasn’t for Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis, the show would just be an even weirder oddity of it’s era. Still enjoy it but it doesn’t hold a candle to ADDAMS FAMILY firing on full cylinders with it’s excellent cast and sharp writing.

    Like I said, I remember mostly enjoying FRANKWEEN THEATRICAL EDITION but now that I’m putting myself on the spot I realized I can’t remember almost anything about it! To think that was a movie Burton actually wanted to make instead of just pick up a paycheck and have us wonder why we ever liked him in the first place. Anyways, yes MUNSTERS is more transgressive.

    *Goes without saying I’m talking about the original shows not any of the reboot/remake/revival/whatever ones.

  19. Coincidentally I also watched both the classic ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS episodes recently and IMO they both hold up damn well (But are both outdone by the first two seasons of BATMAN).

    Random trivia: 20 or so years ago, I bought a book about THE MUNSTERS for cheap. It was written by an obvious fan, expert and collector of all things Munsters. The book included episode guides, background knowledge, basically everything you wanted, except interviews with the cast and crew. There also was a chapter about ADDAMS FAMILY and holy shit, did the guy hate that show! He criticized the art direction, the actors, the lusty relationship between Gomez and Morticia, it was the most biased und unjustified fanboy rant that I ever read outside of the internet.

    The rest of the book was cool, though.

  20. Well BATMAN is better than most things in life and thus didn’t think I needed to mention that. Also, dammit CJ you best not be one of those season 3 is shit guys cause I’m one of those assholes who defends the hell out of season 3 and since this is the Internet I’m going to be forced to call you sexist and misogynistic for not liking it because you clearly couldn’t handle a strong independent female person being added to the show!

    And haha about that book, if you ever remember the name (and it’s in English) please notify so I can track it down since it sounds like it’ll be up my ally (the information part not the shitting on ADDAMS FAMILY part).

  21. No love for PENNY DREADFUL?

  22. Haven’t seen it but it’s on my list which means three year minimum until I (maybe) give it a shot (I’m not a TV guy, I’m only just now watching BUFFY for goodness sake).

  23. geoffrey: Don’t worry, I’m not saying that season 3 of BATMAN ’66 (as the nerds call it these days) is shit. It’s just not as brillant as the first two and pales even in comparison to THE MUNSTERS and ADDAMS FAMILY. I still had a lot of fun with it, but it’s a noticable drop in quality.

    Lucky for you, I still own the book and its American title is apparently THE MUNSTERS: TELEVISION’S FIRST FAMILY OF FRIGHT and it doesn’t seem too difficult to find. At least I found it immediately on American Amazon. I hope it’s as good (and biased) as I described it. Haven’t read it in years.

  24. I’ve pointed to Frankenweenie as an example of a good Burton film in the 21st century. It’s been a long time, but I especially liked the depiction of the teacher (voiced by Martin Landau). He wasn’t one of those inspirational Mr. Keating teachers. He just wanted to do his job and show his students some (mad) science. And then when parents got pissed at him, he called them all a bunch of ignoramuses. (I’m paraphrasing). Give it another shot, people!

  25. I also really like FRANKENWEENIE, though I suppose I can understand some peoples’ dislike for it. For me, it’s the closest Burton has come to his initial anarchic spirit since MARS ATTACKS!. (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY had a bit of that, but people don’t seem to regard that too highly these days either.)

  26. >His screenplay is “story by” and “based on the graphic novel by” Kevin Grievoux

    Yeah, about that…

    It doesn’t appear that there is a graphic novel of ‘I, Frankenstein.’ There is a prequel comic which was released to tie-in with the film but as a comic book property ‘I, Frankenstein’ appears to be vaporware.

    This wouldn’t be the only time a potential comic book was scrapped because Hollywood bought it as a screenplay – ‘Oblivion’ was developed in the same manner (although ‘Oblivion’s publishers had always been in it to sell film concepts, not print comics, so they were pleased).

    In fact, there’s a seedy little underbelly of the comics industry made up of publishers selling film rights to comics which have never actually been published; the publisher tells Hollywood it’s a comic so Hollywood assumes there’s an audience – then the publisher tell dealers there’s going to be a Hollywood movie so dealers assume there’s an audience.

  27. Isn’t that how COWBOYS & ALIENS got made? PATHFINDER?

    Someone told me that Dark Horse pulled that with TIMECOP back in the ’90s.

  28. Oh, Cowbows & Aliens was one of the worst offenders – that thing spent more time in the Hollywood trade papers than it did in the comic book marketplace. Pathfinder went a similar route to that of I, Frankenstein.

    Timecop’s not quite that – it genuinely was a comic book. Maybe it was written to attract Hollywood but that’s not quite the same thing – it has more in common with the Boom! Studios model of fishing for Hollywood dollars (North Wind, Station, Samuel L. Jackson’s Cold Space).

  29. Another real good Frankenstein is FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY. Check it out if you haven’t seen it!

  30. Oh…and the infamously lost THOMAS EDISON’S FRANKENSTEIN was found about 10 years ago. Its on YouTube etc. It’s ancient, fun and funky!! Some cool and weird fx. Also, really short, like 10 min…so you can fit it in between flicks!

    Also dig up an article in VIDEO WATCHDOG about how it was found by some stubborn old guy who kept it off the market, and then died and there was no legal precedent of what to do with it!

  31. I was weirdly compelled to watch this because I have a friend who this is his favorite sub-genre. He also likes the Tom Cruise MUMMY, the DRACULA they did a few years before, probably the UNDERWORLDs…a few more.

    He put a pic up on Facebook showing his “comfort food for a rainy day” and it was a bunch of these movies. As a kind of liker of these (I always like the idea of them more than the actual movies…) the only one I hadn’t seen was this one. Which actually he listed as his favorite of these. So I vowed to check it out.

    It’s lame as shit…I pretty much agree with Vern’s review and the talkbackers below…but it had it moments. Not sure I quite get why it exists and actually who the audience is. My weirdo friend and…myself I guess.

    Usually I like movies that have a sort of fake world that you aren’t exactly sure are supposed to be regular Earth, Earth in a dystopian future or some other fantasy world, but I think this one stretched the suspension of disbelief just too much. Also, for such a fucked up idea for a way to reimagine Frankenstein…there was something just so lazy about it.

    I did think the gargoyles looked cool.

    One thing, and I’m shocked Vern or anybody else didn’t point this out….how much this resembles HIGHLANDER. Might be because I coincidentally watched this during HIGHLANDER week here…but the compairisons are blaring. Aaron Eckhart looks kind of like Christopher Lambert in this, especially with the long hair at the beginning. Has a trench coat, etc. His weapon isn’t a sword but they do have a fight in front of a huge window. There is also lighting behind things, though for the life of me I can’t remember if they are fans. The overall influence can’t be denied.

    There is no Kurgan equivalent, but Bill Nighy’s character does strike me as something that could have been an adversary on the TV show.

    Also, and this is a real weird coincidence, the demons looked like a variation on some of Steve Wang’s various Gill Men….which was the featured topic on here a few weeks ago.

    I do wish Kevin Grevioux well. He does have a strange career of writing in this weird subgenre and acting in a very odd assortment of fanboy related stuff. He is in a ton of movies that nerds love to hate. BATMAN FOREVER, STEEL, Tim Burton’s PLANET OF THE APES…and many more.

    I did see him at a lower rent Comic Convention once. Seemed like a nice enough guy. Weirdly he was promoting his uncredited appearences on STAR TREK DS9 most…even though this was at least 2016 and all this other stuff had come out. Maybe because his STAR TREK pictures sold best I’m guessing. Pretty sure he was basically a re-occuring stunt man on that show. He also was not in the main autograph area, which usually indicates he had rented his own table and was a “vendor” not a “guest”. I’m all for faking it til you make it…but this was a guy who seemed to be faking it even after he had made it big time.

    Anyway, like I said… I do wish him well. He does strike me as a weird 14 year old fanboy nerd in a nearly 60 year old really built black man’s body. It’s like his actual life is as mismatched genres as his movies are….and that’s gotta count for something!!!

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