I, FRANKENSTEIN – Review by Susan Granger

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Since it was published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s classic literary creation has had many screen incarnations but few as ridiculous as Stuart Beattie’s convoluted concept of using him as an invaluable pawn in the perennial battle between good and evil, represented by gargoyles and demons. This version would have Mary Shelley spinning in her grave. Read on>>

Beginning with the monster (Aaron Eckhart) burying his creator, the story catapults forward to the present-day. Wandering the world alone and pursued by demons, he’s dubbed Adam and offered shelter in a massive, medieval Gothic cathedral by Gargoyle Queen Leonore (Miranda Otto), who recognizes him as a fellow outsider, noting, “Humans think of us as mere decoration.”

What the fiery-eyed demons covet is the book that Adam carries with him. It’s Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s handwritten journal, detailing exactly how to create life. Their leader, nefarious Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), has been collecting an army of soulless human corpses which he plans to re-animate to obliterate mankind. To that end, he has created an impressive, high-tech laboratory run by an attractive electrophysicist, Terra (Yvonne Strahovski). Not surprisingly, she eventually allies with Adam, who spends an inordinate amount of time skulking in the shadows.

Humorlessly adapted by Australian writer/director Stuart Beattie from a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux (one of the creators of the “Underworld” franchise), it was filmed two years ago and set for release last February. Then it got pushed back to September and, eventually, dumped into a 2014 slot. Significantly, critics were excluded from all pre-release screenings.

Filled with reams of expository dialogue, choppily-edited fights, an invasive musical score and lots of CGI-enhanced transformations, it resembles an incoherent video game. When demons die, they descend in spiraling fireballs, while defeated gargoyles ascend directly into heaven through rapturous blue lights. Aside from his glowering, grimacing and growling, Aaron Eckhart has obviously spent endless hours at the gym to achieve his admirably ripped physique, and it’s apparent that Bill Nighy is just collecting a paycheck.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “I, Frankenstein” is a mind-numbing 2. Mary Shelley must be spinning in her grave.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.