Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Movie Review: "Victor Frankenstein" What Is Dead Should Stay Dead And Not Remade

I've been away for a long time.  Wasting my time on tumblr and twitter, being generally paralyzed by the state of the world, the usual.  But I've found myself wanting to write about films.  Currently I am screening the films of Daniel Radcliffe.  I was knocked out by Swiss Army Man, about which more in a future entry.  I've never seen more than a few minutes of Harry Potter.  So I don't come encumbered with any baggage when I watch his films.

So, I’ve been watching Victor Frankenstein, and I have to say, it stinks. Both James MacAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe do their damndest to bring the story to life. But not only have we seen this before, we have to wait for a hellishly long time for the monster.  Which then explodes in a series of blinding flashes and complete nonsense.  At the end the movie sets itself up for a sequel. Since it flopped, I doubt one is forthcoming.

Watching on my computer screen is a blessing.  I can stop the movie, do some chores, and come back. I can’t imagine sitting through this on the big screen.

Good evening, I'll be your tortured freak for the evening

The beginning is by far the best part of the movie, when Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is the abused nameless hunchback/gifted doctor in the circus who is freed by Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy).  Amazingly enough, the “hump” is a gigantic 18-year-old abscess.  Um, okay.  The first intensely homoerotic sequence is Victor smashing the hunchback against a pillar to straighten his body.  Victor names him Igor.  Igor is amazed at standing up.  He is told to take a shower and dress and do something about his hair. Amazingly enough, he knows how to shower, shave, and cut his hair.

Why look, it’s Daniel Radcliffe.

Within hours, his gait has straightened, learned to dress himself in spiffy Victorian fashion, and stride jauntily around the streets of London. Throughout the picture, Radcliffe manages to suggest his former self at moments. But for the most part he becomes a proper English gentleman able to dance, fall in love and have sex with Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. She has no real identity because we come for the monster, stay for the hot and heavy bromance.  I love a good potential ship as much as the next fan, but I wanted to slap James McAvoy.  My god, man, you probably didn’t need to go to craft services because you were too busy chewing scenery.

Victor and Igor create a chimpanzee and bring it to life, but it turns out to be a crazed killer in a sequence that doesn’t get anybody killed but does break a lot of glass. Hunted by an extremely dull police inspector, they hide out in a castle and bring the monster to life in the last 10 minutes.  Right before the whole big bang finale, we hear Igor saying, “you know the story” which serves to make the ending of the movie even more tedious.

It involves lots of shouting in the rain.  The monster is–well–a monster.  Tries to kill everyone, there are explosions, screams, minor characters falling to their death blah blah blah.  I’ve watched the ending twice and I still can’t figure out what’s going on. Explosions, majestic faux-classical chorus, people screaming. That’s okay, I’ll wait it out.  By the way, there’s huge pieces of metal, guns, electricity–how come it doesn’t occur to anyone to stab the bloody thing in the HEAD?

The movie flopped, in part because of its bloated budget. If the filmmakers hadn’t be so in love with their Sherlock knock-off, they might have cut 30 minutes and cut the redundant dialogue about life/death God/man. Why bother when we know the ending?

It’s not all bad. I opened my mail, paused it and made some phone calls, looked it up on and got to look at Daniel Radcliffe. He is sexy and adorable. I’ve only seen him as adult actor. So I have Harry Potter reference points. Probably good, because then I might be thinking of the Boy Who Lived instead of the Monster Who Died.