HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Victor Frankenstein
HTS Overall Score:77
It seems that the film community is awash with new remakes, or retellings, of old classic literature and films. Dracula was taken on with the rather mediocre “Dracula Untold” and there have been at least 4 different takes on Frankenstein and his monster over the last couple of years. “I, Frankenstein” was a ridiculous cheese fest, but it in no way thought of itself as anything more than a fun action/horror movie with lots of Velveeta on the side. Alchemy even had a low budget rendition of the titular character that I reviewed a few weeks ago, and it was actually rather good. “Victor Frankenstein” is a bit of a different take on the characters, though. Some say that a change of perspective is all that’s needed to freshen up a stale story, but this rendition is rather flat and bland, despite changing the story around quite a bit from what we are used to, and giving the focus more of a look on Igor than Victor or his horrible monster.
Discussing the movie on the forums some month back someone mentioned the fact that the famed Igor character was actually never in the book, and in most cases, not in many of the movies either. Refreshing my memory by going back to the novel on my shelf I had to agree with this conclusion. Igor is NEVER mentioned once in the novel. Even in the old films there was no mention of him. There was a hunchback named Fritz at one point, and an associate of Dr. Frankenstein named Ygor (played by Bela Lugosi) in a couple of the sequels, but nothing related to the standard hunchback assistant modern audiences associate with Frankenstein. I correlate this much in the same way “Elementary my dear Watson” is associated with Sherlock Holmes, even though that phrase is never once said in any of the short stories and novellas about the detective. It’s modern addition that somehow became part of the lore.
Interestingly enough, a hunchback named Igor plays very little into the story of “Victor Frankenstein”, although the name does. We start out in a circus, where an unnamed hunchback lives in a life of squalor and misery. However, as abused and ugly as he is, this hunchback has a penchant for knowledge and acts as the circus doctor as well. One night he is seen by Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy) during an accident where a high flyer by the name of Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) falls to the ground. Recognizing his incredible medical knowledge and deft hand work, Frankenstein frees the hunchback from his chains and escape with him into the night. That is after the circus workers try to stop them with one of them ending up dead.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=67241[/img]Giving the hunchback the name Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), Frankenstein incorporates the young man into his experiment to create life. The first experiment with a monkey goes partially according to plan, but Victor wants bigger and better. Changing the subject to a man, the two go out of their way to create the greatest experiment ever created. If they don’t bring all of Scotland Yard and the rest of humanity down on their necks from their ghastly purpose.
The story is pretty much told entirely from Igor’s point of view this go around. Victor is a main character, but really Igor is the one you grow to care about and becomes more human. They take the idea of his being the stereotypical hunchback, but soon have him upright and more normal once Victor diagnoses his hunched over appearance as being from an abscess that needs draining. Once on his feet, Igor proves his medical knowledge as being on par with the visionary Frankenstein, and in many ways better than the master. The story really stumbles during the second act though, as Igor becomes involved with Lorelei romantically, which irritates the obsessed Doctor to no end. This time we don’t have the monster killing Victor’s wife and running off, a misconstrued beast that is really just confused. Instead he really IS a monster, created BY a monster, and the only humanizing effect of the whole movie is Igor. A man seen as a monster who actually is the sanest and down to earth person in the whole scenario.
To make matters even worse, James McAvoy overacts to the extreme in his portrayal as the charismatic Dr. Frankenstein. His shrill voices and overly dramatic bulging eyes got rather annoying after a while, and even Andrew Scott as the ever hounding Inspector Turpin was never allowed to shine, instead just spouting off gibberish that even had me wincing within the first 2 minutes of his screen time. I’ve always though Daniel Radcliffe has been a bit typecast and my suspicions were confirmed here. As the hunchback he has an incredible presence that allowed me to really believe he was deformed. However, the script doesn’t give him much to work with in that respect, and he is relegated to being the good guy, once more.
Rated PG-13 for macabre images, violence and a sequence of destruction
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=67249[/img]Shot with the Arri Alexa cameras with at 2.8k resolution and mastered with a 2K DI, the film looks incredibly detailed and sharp. There are some cheap CGI shots that draw one out of the reality, including some pretty weak shots of London’s backdrop (very obvious matte paintings) and the obvious CGI inclusion of the monster itself. However fine detail elsewhere is incredibly good and well defined. The rain shots of Victor up on the castle roof as he throws the switch on his final creation is amazingly clear as you can see the raindrops falling on the dirt and grime over his face, as well as strands of hair intertwined into the mess. Black levels are deep and inky, showing off incredible detail and shying away from the ever present fear of black crush. Overall, an amazing looking picture that shows off how good Blu-ray can be.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=67257[/img]The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track sparkles with all sorts of energy and (dare I say it)….life. The trampling footsteps of the Londoners as they run through the heavy sodden cobblestones of the city sound eerie and full of weight. Bodies slamming into stone walls thud with sickening power and the rippling sound of energy as Frankenstein pours thousands and thousands of volts into a corpse just sizzles with a sort of presence that can be cut with a knife. Vocals are always crisp and clear, with James McAvoy’s maniacally shrill tone piercing through the most prevalent. Surrounds are alive with all sorts of activity from the afore mentioned creation of the monster, to the clopping of horses hooves upon stone. The LFE is deep and guttural, adding a sense of raw power and intensity to the track that just hums with a deep low end the entire time.
• Deleted Scenes
• The Making of "Victor Frankenstein"
• Theatrical Trailer
“Victor Frankenstein” is not a complete travesty, but it’s sadly not a really good movie either. It takes itself way too seriously and is lacking that sense of fun that makes other “lesser” films more palatable. The film has an interesting premise and the different point of view makes the film almost a new entity in and of itself, but the lack of cohesion and balanced makes the end result strikingly bland. Thankfully it’s not as horrible as the critical response was for its theatrical run, but “Victor Frankenstein” is nothing more than a piece of pulp fiction that can’t live up to even the cheesy sequels with Bela Lugosi. Audio and video are fantastic, but I’d still give this one a simple rental if you’re curious.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Written by: Max Landis
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Turkish DD 5.1
Runtime: 110 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 8th 2016
Buy Victor Frankenstein On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Cheap Rental
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