It’s always disappointing when great actors find themselves neck deep in terrible movies, mostly because history has shown that they can do SO much better.
James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, two of the most talented actors working today, have most definitely done better than this, so much better in fact, that I really can’t help but wonder why on earth they’re even in this awful movie. And Victor Frankenstein is one very, very awful movie.
How awful you ask? Well, this twist on the classic tale is actually worse than 2004’s Van Helsing (starring Hugh Jackman), a movie so god-awful and unnecessarily long, that I’m fairly convinced time collapses on itself while viewing it.
Yes, Victor Frankenstein is worse than that.
In this updated version of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror story, the scowling mad doctor’s tale is told from the perspective of his trusty lab assistant Igor (Radcliffe, sporting one of history’s worst haircuts). The idea has some merit, and certainly the character of Igor is a fascinating one, he is a construct of the film industry, as Igor does not actually appear in Shelley’s novel, and in fact the devoted hunchback did not make his first appearance until the 1931 film Frankenstein, although to be fair, that first character was called Fritz, not Igor.
Despite the change of POV, there isn’t anything new in this overdone, over-produced mess, even though both leads give their all to their performances. McAvoy in particular tackles the role of Victor with all the fervor of a man on a serious Red Bull high, energetically delivering his lines with such ferocity that he quite literally spits every word he speaks. Undoubtedly the actor found himself increasingly dehydrated after every take, and Radcliffe, who was on the receiving end of all that spittle, would have found himself in dire need of a tissue.
With all the superior adaptations that have already been produced, it seems overwhelmingly redundant telling the same exact story only louder and more explosively (literally), and Victor Frankenstein takes itself far too seriously to be even be considered mindless, cheesy fun.
And man does that ever disappoint. The trailer, which is without a doubt the most unreliable source of a film’s potential greatness, made this shinny new Frankenstein seem like it was going to be life-alteringly awesome, so I was pretty psyched to watch this. Unfortunately, any and all fun and freaky moments in this flick are already in the trailer, leaving very little to be excited about in the finished product.
This new Frankenstein had some serious potential, there’s no doubt about that, but everything from the script to the over-the-top effects do a disservice to the cast, which sadly have very little (if anything) to work with. Victor Frankenstein may have some serious star power in front of the camera, but even Mr. Tumnus and Harry Potter don’t have enough magic combined to save this sloppy, chaotic mess.