• R, 1 hr. 58 min.
  • Horror
  • Directed By:
    Kenneth Branagh
    In Theaters:
    Nov 4, 1994 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 7, 2001
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Reviews

Page 1 of 79
Phil H

Super Reviewer

August 23, 2007
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.
murphmann93
murphmann93

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2011
Boring!
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2011
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.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2007
Sure, it's the most faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley's book to date, but when all it amounts to is constant breathless hysteria, why would you even want to tune in? Kenneth Branagh's grandiosity as a director has served him well in his Shakespeare adaptations, as well as more recent spectacle pictures like Thor, but in exploring a sad tale about what it means to be alive, or a man, he cranks the orchestra up to 11 and hopes for the best. Unsurprisingly, it does not work. The cast heaves and wails to the best of their ability, but any attempt at greater depth or subtlety is drowned out by the cracks of thunder and swells of stringed instruments. Robert de Niro is the lightning rod for all these histrionics, mugging and growling like his career depends on it. Branagh seems to have lost confidence in his material and tried to give it a universally appealing aesthetic, as if the audience wouldn't find anything to love in a period piece. Indeed, anything not related to Frankenstein's monster is chronically dull - a misguided romantic subplot, meant to end in tragedy but feeling entirely like a plot contrivance, or some half-heartedly explored daddy issues. It's a noble attempt, and good-natured, but at the end of it all I just felt sort of yelled at. Frankenstein is like a decent meal drowned in way, way too much ketchup.
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2011
Except for De Niro's portrayal of 'The Creature', everything else about this movie was just plain mediocre.
The main problem with the movie was that too much from the novel were squeezed into a 2 hr. movie. This ended up in the movie being frantically paced, without time for any character development.
The Frankenstein family moments in the initial parts of the movie (Which did not have that much relevance to the main storyline), were painfully boring and looked real stupid.
While we are on the subject of looking stupid, Helena Bonham Carter deserves special mention, who probably may have been misled to believe that she has signed for a musical comedy version of the classic. The whole Frankenstein family looked like a bunch of lunatics, running around dancing and screaming.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My verdict : A very decent performance from De-Niro, wasted down the gutters due to poor execution from director and pathetic performance from supporting cast.
***On a final note, I believe Aidan Quinn, who played Capt.Robert Walton, would have been a far better choice to play Frankenstein***
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

March 31, 2011
There is a lot to like in this, Kenneth Branagh's stylish and ambitious take on Mary Shelley's legendary story, and, while I came extremely close to giving this a mild recommendation, I'm ultimately just going to have to not really do that, and give it a C+. See it if you really want to, but rent it or catch it on tv or something.

Visually, the film is pretty good. Some of it might look a little fake and dated, but that may have been the point. I liked the art direction though, because all the period details just look awesome and like someone put a lot of time and money into them. The really main issue here is with the specific story and script. At times the movie follwos the book fairly well, but at the same time also takes a lot of liberties and diversions. Everything is a jumbled mess and seems pretty disjointed. The direction isn't too bad, but Branagh has done better work.

The casting is where this film is really interesting. Besides directing, Branagh takes the lead as Victor Frankenstein. He's actually a pretty fitting choice and embodies the role well. Helena Bonham Carter also gives a decent performance (and looks great) as Elizabeth, Victor's adopted sister/fiance. The real interesting casting is that of De Niro as the Creature. He kind of sticks out here. On one hand, he's good with doing the anger thing, and looking creepy, but on the other, he's really hammy, and it's hard to take him seriously. They should have gone with a lesser known or something, because this feels more like purposeful stunt casting, and not something genuine.

This film has some good sequences, but, much like De Niro's participation, things are a mess. Perhaps it's a bit too manic, bombastic, and ambitious? It's better to have more ambition than not, but still, this is a loud and exhaustive affair. It is watchable, despite not being all that good, and, the hamminess aside, it won't kill you to see it even though you'd be better off doing something else. I mean, after all, it's not the worst take on Frankenstein, so take that as some kind of praise if you want.
CloudStrife84
CloudStrife84

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2007
Very underrated horror-drama. A little rough around the edges and uneven script-wise, but it still had me really captured. I can understand why it's not to everyones taste, but as someone who love movies set in the 18th century, this was right up my alley. If it wasn't for its wonderful cast though, I doubt it would have been half as good. It's a little weird also that they chose Robert De Niro to play the monster. He looks a bit misplaced in that role. The film also suffers from an "ants-in-the-pants"-syndrome. There's a lot of running around and the characters never seem able to sit still for more than a few seconds. Nothing wrong with a little action, but it could have been much more sophisticated if wasn't in such a hurry all the time. Another drawback is the poor editing. It's so sloppy in places, that you may wonder if the editor let a monkey play with his equipment. In the grand spectrum of things though, it's still a good and enjoyable movie. Just a bit messy technically and unbalanced in its writing.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2009
While it is not the worst adaption of Frankenstein, it is nowhere near the brilliance of the 1931 classic. This film attempts at being faithful to the novel, but fails to capture its essence. While there are some decent performances, there are a lot of bad ones as well. It is not as imaginative as it should have been and feels planned out.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2009
Kenneth Branagh?s version of the classic and much loved horror story really does have its moments but is missing a certain something only Shelly could deliver.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2006
Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this screen adaption of Mary Shelly?s Frankenstein, very fitting roles for both Brannagh and Helena Bonham Carter, who both suit the era and the mood of the piece well. For those who are watching this film as a Robert De Niro film (as I did first time around) there may well be some disappointment as (let?s say) he doesn?t reach his acting potential here.

Much of the story is a symbolic gesture and asks as a good metaphoric tale, put together well with the scientific and medical knowledge for authenticity. Perhaps with the most poigment moment being with the blind man scene. Which creates the heart of the story.
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

October 18, 2008
Dr. Frankenstein creates a new life from stitched together corpses, and his ungrateful monster haunts him, seeking revenge for making him an outcast abomination. A well-intentioned, if occasionally sloppy, attempt to tell the story as Mary Shelley originally wrote it, but mainly it illustrates why Universal chose to dramatically simplify the story when making the classic 1931 adaptation.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2006
I thought this was a well acted and thought through version of the classic story. It has to be good when you get an actor like DeNiro to play the monster.
The set design of the film is excellent and a lot of time and thought went into making it a gothic and creepy world suitable for the gruesome story that lay before us.
Branagh played the role of Frankenstein perfectly and was as troubled as the mad scientist should have been.
I recommend this one and I also think people should check out the original sometime near the viewing of this so that they can see the differences between the two.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2007
like all of branagh's efforts, too full of himself w/ too little sense of humor...hey! waitadarnminnut, he reminds me of me! for that i'll give him one more star, but keep it under yer hat and don't tell nobody, okay?
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2007
I wanted this to be good, but I really knew better. Kenneth Branaugh, who is so good doing Shakespeare, is just too sweaty and overwrought as the doctor who wants to create life. And I thought DeNiro as the monster was very odd casting, so I was distracted rather than intrigued by the idea. Ok to watch if there's nothing else on, but otherwise....eh.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2007
The costumes and atmosphere are perfect, as you would expect, and goriness abounds, but none of it is as scary as it is thought provoking.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2007
And here was me thinking Jackie Collins wrote Frankenstein. Kenneth Branagh's version of the classic novel is more literal adaptation than most, and makes for a different experience. Gone is the horror and gore, replaced by a more sensitive monster and exploration of themes of humanity and the soul. Far from perfect, the film lacks emotional resonance, but it has an epic sweep missing from most gothic horror flicks.
nuheart
nuheart

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2006
I liked it, I don't care. Better than Coppola's Dracula by a longshot.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2006
Great and faithful version of Shelley's horror tale and Robert De Niro makes a fantastic performance as a monster.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

December 5, 2006
I saw this once and wasn't too blown away. I remember DeNiro and Branagh wrestling around in KY Jelly for about two minutes but that's about it. I think I need to see it again.
MissMorganLeee
MissMorganLeee

Super Reviewer

November 10, 2006
eeeeeek kinda djfoiemclkxmdfue just makes me feel wierd when i saw it makes me twitch lol. like helena bonham cater tho.
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