Trailer Review: I, Frankenstein (2014)

I, Frankenstein puts a new spin on a traditional horror tale.

I, Frankenstein is a new action thriller written and directed by Stuart Beattie. It’s also based on an unpublished graphic novel and original screenplay by Kevin Grevioux, who co-wrote the Underworld films. The movie has an interesting concept, as it expands on the story of Frankenstein’s monster and puts the character at the centre of a 21st century feud between two immortal families. The film stars Aaron Eckhart, Miranda Otto, Yvonne Strahovski and Bill Nighy.

Eckhart plays Frankenstein’s monster, who is called Adam in the film. Adam is immortal and trying to live a quiet life until he is discovered by two warring factions keen to exploit his powers. On one side there’s a bunch of shape shifting Gargoyle people led by Mirando Otto’s character Leonore, on the other side there is Bill Nighy’s mad scientist character, who wants to make an army of Frankenstein monsters and use them to take over the world. Adam doesn’t seem keen on helping either side in the war, and he teams up with a scientist called Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) to try and protect mankind from the carnage.

Eckhart is a solid actor and it’s nice to see him starring in the lead role here. His character Adam is interesting, as he has chosen to be a hero instead of a monster; he also adopts his creators’ surname and becomes known as Adam Frankenstein instead of merely Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a shame the other elements in the trailer pale in comparison, as nothing else stands out to make the film a must watch at the cinema. The acting looks fine but the action scenes are bland with mundane choreography and the special effects are nothing special either – the gargoyle monsters in particular look rather benign, and like extras from a video-game with bad graphics.

The film bears similarities to Len Wiseman’s Underworld movies as it has the same visual style and tone. I, Frankenstein shares Underworld’s gothic set design, cinematography and the world in I, Frankenstein seems to be completely devoid of bright colours as everyone wears black, grey or brown clothing. This particular style was fresh and original ten years ago, but it has become rather cliche nowadays and is unimaginative. It seems to be the cookie-cutter approach some studios take to making dark action films involving monsters such as werewolves, vampires etc. I, Frankenstein has a good concept, but its production design looks like it came from a typical Hollywood action thriller assembly line.

I, Frankenstein has an interesting premise and a good cast but the other elements seem rather bland, there is nothing exciting in the trailer and it relies too heavily on ideas borrowed from older genre films. However, the film may appeal to some genre fans who enjoyed Underworld, provided the good parts outweigh the bad. It’s also possible the feature may turn out to be a lot better than its trailer.

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