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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 24

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is ambitious and visually striking, but the overwrought tone and lack of scares make for a tonally inconsistent experience.


Average Rating: 4.2/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 8

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is ambitious and visually striking, but the overwrought tone and lack of scares make for a tonally inconsistent experience.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 53,127

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel stars Robert DeNiro as a terrifying monster created in an obsessive attempt to defeat death and stretch the limits of medicine in the early 19th century. With the use of flashback, a dying Dr. Viktor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh) divulges a tale of gruesome terror to a sea captain (Aidan Quinn): As a medical student, the rebellious Frankenstein elaborates on the work of a brilliant scientist (John Cleese),



Aug 7, 2001

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (24) | DVD (14)

Kenneth Branagh has indeed created a monster, but not the kind he originally envisioned.

June 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching the movie work itself into an operatic frenzy, one remains curiously detached: the grand gestures are there, but where's the music?

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not frightening, just silly.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Branagh is in over his head. He displays neither the technical finesse to handle a big, visually ambitious film nor the insight to develop a stirring new version of this story.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Branagh doesn't evoke terror, only repulsion.

January 1, 2000 | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As this movie switches, unevenly, from swashbuckling adventure to classic horror to frilly-shirted romance to campiness to graphic gorefest, there's no telling what you're watching.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Branagh's ambitious take succeeds as a cautionary tale about true monstrosity: hubris and man's inhumanity to man. But one man's operatic style is another man's unintentionally comical excess, and...Frankenstein certainly tempts fate... [Blu-ray]

October 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Clearly, one person's authentic homage is another person's overwrought teeth-gnashing fest, as Branagh's film never hesitates to slop on the melodramatic mustard.

October 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

I'm inclined to give it an 8 now. The more you watch, the more you appreciate how Branagh was able to faithfully retell Shelley's novel while still managing to make it fresh and make it relevant.

October 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comments (2)
Movie Metropolis

Uma das mais fiéis e complexas adaptações da história original, respeitando seus temas principais mesmo que desviando-se, aqui e ali, de pontos específicos da trama.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Different look at the old Frankenstein story, directed by Branagh.

February 24, 2008

A weirdly muddled and embarrassingly over-the-top fiasco.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source:

A sub par effort on one of the most frequently ill adapted stories ever made

August 9, 2007
Film Threat

For all its attention to detail and special effects, this version lacks the pathos and tragedy in the complex and ambivalent relationship between the father-creator and his creature-monster; De Niro is misguided by director Branagh.

January 2, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It's Greek tragedy, and when its characters utter invocations to the gods in turn, it manages to feel cheesy in exactly the right way.

February 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

What can I say? I found the bravura and chest-thumping intriguing. I don't even feel guilty saying that.

August 23, 2004

An oddly moving father-son love story.

January 13, 2004 Full Review Source:

As wrongheaded as Coppola's Dracula (in different ways), Frankenstein is all bluff, bombast and bargain-basement borrowings from Ken Russell's Gothic.

April 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An interesting concept by Branagh, and a touching De Niro performance. It is hit-and-miss at times, a bit overwrought.

March 6, 2003
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

A noble failure, but a failure nonetheless.

December 30, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

Visceral and energetic sceen translation of this literary classic.

August 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Branagh's directing style is soupy and derivative of all the wrong movies.

January 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline

Audience Reviews for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Slightly better than 'Bram stokers Dracula' in the sense that its more sensible and realistic with less cheese haha De Niro is believeable as the monster and Brannagh is actually just right for 'Victor'. The rest of the cast much like Coppola's Dracula is pretty impressive and gives the film a real epic sense with the likes of Cleese, Holm, Carter, Quinn and Briers, the only difference is this film doesn't have any major let downs performance wise like Dracula does with Reeves and Ryder. Helena Bonham Carter is perfect in the film, she fits anything like this really, any dark period drama...she fits it haha.

The visuals are damn good with that cracking gothic feel of course, you get a really good sense of dirty, dusty creaking wooden floorboards set against age old science with lots of odd looking machines created by Frankenstein, rotten body parts and murky dark cemeteries, you can almost taste the sweat and dampness of it all hehe.

There isn't anything especially stunning here I must confess, its pretty bog standard despite having De Niro against type casting as the monster, by the numbers without anything to really make it a classic. Its better than Coppola's film casting wise that's for sure and makes abit more sense but there is nothing that really stands out. Hard choice if you put De Niro up against Oldman for best monster performance, I guess Oldman may take it but this film would win for everything else I reckon.

Not as visually stunning as Coppola's Dracula maybe but certainly more down to earth.
October 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

This adaptation by Kenneth Branagh is much like Coppola's version of Dracula, they are very close to the original works of their respective creators. Branagh's vision for the adaptation of the classic Horror work is superb. I read the book in my early teens, and still remember ii, it's one of those books you do not forget. By what I remember, Branagh kept [pretty much everything intact. The film has an old school monster atmosphere, but is modernized slightly. The cast do a fine job at bringing the classic characters to life and the story is chilling, creepy and has everything you'd expect from a classic horror film. Robert De Niro plays the monstrous creation created by Victor Frankenstein and Kenneth Branagh plays Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young doctor who seeks to defeat death. Instead he unleashes a monster who is bent on ruining his life. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an underrated horror film. Critiques of the film has been severely unfair and some downright dismissive. But this horror story is really a close adaptation of Shelly's work, and though not perfect, it does have enough momentum to terrify the audience as it tears across the screen. What you have here with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is a good, underrated film based on one of the greatest horror tales of all time.
June 22, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Sharp Featured Man: I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.
    2. Sharp Featured Man: You gave me these emotions, but you didn't tell me how to use them. Now two people are dead because of us. Why?
    3. Dr. Frankenstein: There was something at work in my soul which I do not understand.
    4. Sharp Featured Man: And what of my soul? Do I have one? Or was that a part you left out?
    – Submitted by Bonnie F (22 months ago)
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