Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Reviews
November 27, 2014
Probably the best adaptation of Mary Shelly's classic science fiction horror novel. DeNiro is terrifying and sympathetic as the monster and the novels themes of the horror of man trying to play God shine through in the movie even if its tone is a bit uneven going a bit overboard on its soap opera like style
November 11, 2014
I just finished my thoughts on the National Theatre's version of Frankenstein and all the complains remain pretty much the same. On the good side: no comic relief in this movie, thank god. On the bad side? Why must HBC's hair be the main feature of EVERY film she's in??? It's distracting as hell and I kind of cruelly cheered when it caught on fire.
Also that whole bit with her as a monster, oh god, please make it stop, that never happened, why are you making it happen, this isn't making the audience feel extra pathos, it's just make the audience yell WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS WHEN YOU COULD BE USING SOME OF THE AWESOME DIALOGUE SHELLEY WROTE???
Or maybe that was just me, but either way, ugh. A shame, too, there was a hell of a lot of talent in this that never really went anywhere.
October 22, 2014
Branagh's preposterously bombastic take on "Frankenstein" is somehow able to find the occasional moment of profundity and thoughtfulness amidst the indulgent operatics. DeNiro is a weirdly inspired choice for The Creature and gives a weighty, aching performance, and while Helena Bonham Carter is relegated to a fairly standard ingenue role for most of the film, her final moments--maybe the biggest divergence from the original novel-- are really well handled and affecting.
Still, the script does itself a serious disservice by twisting Victor into a romantic hero, safeguarding him from too much culpability or darkness. The inclusion of a tragic backstory is perhaps the biggest misstep; apparently a purely intellectual motivation for scientific advancement wasn't enough (Perhaps Branagh's "Isaac Newton" biopic would feature his wife's death as a result of being crushed by a falling apple tree?), but it feels incongruous with the actual story of "Frankenstein"-- especially as the story is never really sure if Victor is trying to create life or prevent death (which are two entirely different things).
An enjoyably earnest but seriously misguided adaption.
August 9, 2014
Has a lot of poor acting, and suffers from a romance sub-plot that feels a bit forced in, none the less though Robert De Niro's fantastic portrayal of the Frankenstein monster makes the film more tolerable to watch.
July 29, 2014
A pity that Brannagh stumbled with this one as it had all the right ingredients to succeed. Visuals are pretty good, apart from that ridiculous Busby Berkeley staircase at the Frankenstein mansion.
October 20, 2010
(First and only viewing - 10/19/2010)
June 30, 2014
Not too bad for drama focused horror.
June 25, 2014
Although having mixed feelings about Kenneth Branagh's abilities as a film director, I had not seen a film about Frankenstein before and figured that this might be a decent place to start.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein feels more like a Shakespearian film than a horror film. I can't say that I'm too surprised because Kenneth Branagh is the director of it, but the fact is that he puts so much emphasis on all the tragedy in the story that he neglects to make the film a genuine horror film. Kenneth Branagh forgets to put enough emphasis on the twisted horror elements of the story and instead makes it into a melodramatic costume drama which is constantly shifting in tone and direction. Kenneth Branagh's direction on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein captures the drama of the story but not the horror, and he makes it a rather scattered affair in the end. He does manage to capture a lot of the heart of the source material and dramatise it well, but within his limited capabilities as a film director there is only so far he can go and ends up keeping Mary Shelley's Frankenstein within those constraints, making it a shakespearian costume drama in lieu of a horror film. Fans of Kenneth Branagh's works may enjoy Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but viewers who are expecting an honest adaptation of all the horror that made the source material relevant can look elsewhere. At least he manages to maintain an intelligent and faithful script in his adaptation which gives a lot of powerful dialogue to the cast.
And thankfully enough, the quality of the visual style that Kenneth Branagh gives to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is firm.
The cinematography in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an issue. Most of the time, things either follow a conventional route which zoom up on a lot of things unnecessarily, but at the more memorable moments of the film, it feels like Roger Pratt decided to combine the techniques of tracking shots with dutch angles, and it makes everything look weird. The camera spends too much time zooming in and zooming out in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and makes the visual experience rather weird. So the cinematography is a problem because it is not artistic and is more deluded in what it is actually doing because it fails to capture the best aspects of everything that is happening. It gets better in the second half, but still, there are some cinematography issues in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which lower the effect of the visual experience. But on the plus side it does prove to do a powerful job of capturing all the scenery well which is great because the scenery in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is very versatile and has a lot of colour to it without transcending the feel of a world that is only good and evil, black and white. The colour in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is rather monochromatic at times, and it is good because it keeps things dry and symbolic.
The other thing that the cinematography captures is a magnificent setting. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein feels truly like it takes place during the timeframe of its setting. I mean, the production design looks very old-style and the costumes of the characters reinforce that which makes the general feel of the film all the more better. Visaully, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is terrific, and the design of everything and The Creation is magnificent. Everything in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein looks terrific, so the budget of the film went to the right places and gave it a memorable visual style, and it is certainly a better costume drama than many others out there. The musical score also makes it a powerful experience by enhancing the atmosphere.
And the cast of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein turn in a powerful effort as well.
Kenneth Branagh's performance as Victor Frankenstein is seriously great. The Academy Award nominated Shakespearian actor plays out the role of Victor Frankenstein with his Shakespearian acting skills and manages to get the part very well. He really puts a lot of power into his performance to emphasise the tragedy of everything, and the final result is a powerful one. Kenneth Branagh puts all of his knowledge of Shakespearian acting into his performance as Victor Frankenstein and manages to grip the part with a lot of power. Kenneth Branagh overshadows his own role as director of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with his performance as the lead actor, and it makes up for his inability to handle the material too well.
Robert De Niro is great as The Creation. While some of the script lines are not the best for building the character up, The Creation is consistently powerful as a character because his appearance is excellent and creates an interesting new take on the iconic character, and Robert De Niro breathes a spectacular sort of darkness into the part. It is not perfect, nor is it one of his best roles because admittedly it has some moments of being dull, but all in all he captures the sadistic dark spirit of the character perfectly and turns in an entertaining performance with some Shakespearian elements of his own which he gets right. Robert De Niro is grand in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Helena Bonham Carter is also lovely in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein because of the fact that her natural beauty and charm make her easily appealing while her chemistry with Kenneth Branagh feels genuine in its passion. She projects a lot of emotional power into her role and steps into the physical stature of her very well. Helena Bonham Carter makes a great effort in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and you could expect noting less from her.
John Cleese is also great to see in a small dramatic role because he sinks into the part very well and speaks his words with a passion. It is great to see him branching out from the comedic roles that made him famous. Tom Hulce also has a powerful supporting part.
So although Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is undone by Kenneth Branagh's inability to make the story anything more than a glamourous self-indulgent Shakespearian tale, his performance is great as is the rest of the cast's and the visual style he applies to the film is terrific.
April 27, 2014
At times bordering on over the top mania, Branagh's Frankenstein is still a fine production, boasting a slew of good performances, especially a towering DeNiro as the tragically spurned Monster, and a haunting yet elegant score by Patrick Doyle. However, the film is definitely more lush sights than hard scares.
April 1, 2014
the film is a decent adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel in parts, particularly great is Robert De Niro as the creature. But it fails utterly when it truly counts for the fact that it advertises itself as a faithful work, and yet outright depicts events that never occurred in the novel, or resemble the original intent. Branagh also makes the mistake of never really playing it subtle in terms of actin or direction. Everyone except for the creature is on speed, when they ought to be far more calm. Overall, just skip it.
February 25, 2014
De Niro makes a pretty good Monster, and the rest of the cast is pretty cool, but the movie is a slog.
February 19, 2014
Kenneth Branagh seems out of his element here, his reach clearly exceeding his grasp. His frenzied adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel suffers from jarring shifts in tone from schmaltz to carnage.
February 14, 2014
Quite possibly the worst movie of all time. Unbelievable that Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter put their names to this drivel that looked like it had been edited by primary school kids. . If you are unfortunate enough to watch this, try to see it as comedy - very black comedy then watch a real Frankenstein comedy like Young Frankenstein.
November 11, 2012
Dissapointng. Robert De Niro barely evokes as much fear as Boris Karloff did back in the 30s. Branagh also struggles to adapt Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein, making the film, more of a flop than I expected.
January 14, 2014
Pretty bland and forgettable little horror movie. I like the different approach it took to it's source material, and I love the homages to the classic Boris Karloff take, but the film was quite boring, took itself too seriously, and wasn't even that close to the book, despite being an attempt to be an accurate adaptation. 'Bram Stocker's Dracula' was a much better film in comparison, despite also taking liberties with it's source material. It seemed the powers-that-be just thought "Well hey! If it worked for Dracula, why not FRANKENSTEIN?," and made this movie as a way to cash in on that film. Overall, the movie isn't a bad watch if you're into horror movies or Frankenstein, but for everyone else it's pretty dull.
December 5, 2013
Yet another one of those films that is underestimated in its power. Who cares if it doesn't try to capture the essence of the classic 1930's film, it is its own thing. It is great in its portrayal of both Frankenstein and the monster, the performances are good, even the general storyline is nicely played out so even though it may not capture the image of a Karloff-esque monster movie it is still a great movie.
November 28, 2013
This is definitely one of the most faithful versions of Frankenstein. Unrecognizable De Niro and not so adapt for this role. Fitting Helena Bohnam Carter. The movies in costumes were always her thing. I think she's the soul of the movie.
November 18, 2013
Fantastically acted and appropriately horrifying, Kenneth Branagh's update on the horror classic is a faithful, fresh, and inventive visual marvel.
October 22, 2013
Always a good Classic.
October 31, 2013
While it could have been better executed overall, this is nonetheless a bold retelling of the classic horror story that displays a spectacular performance by Robert De Niro as the horrifying, yet misunderstood, creation.