Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Reviews
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.
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***
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.
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.
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.