Monday, 5 May 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Jesus bananas...I thought this type of film died out a long time ago, I mean seriously how dated is this entire concept! Do I even need to state which two movies this is clearly based around? Of course we all know why this is so familiar, because its an adaptation of Kevin Grevioux's graphic novel, which in turn is merely the same spiel as his previous creation 'Underworld'. All he has done here is change the battling supernatural creatures of the night...and what's with this title??

So there's a raging war going on under cover of night, a bloodthirsty religious monster war which is hidden from human eyes...well. On one side there is the Gargoyle Order commanded into being by arch angel Michael, on the other side a demonic horde of hellspawn unleashed by Satan after he was kicked out of Heaven. The demons are led by Bill Nighy and are after Frankenstein's monster to unravel the mystery of the reanimation of dead bodies so they can reanimate tonnes of human bodies for their army of demon souls to take over. Then they can take over the world and wipe out the human race muahahahaha!

My my this film is almost an antique, it is literately like we're going back in time to around 2003. Grevioux is a good visionary and solid writer but clearly all he's done here is try to milk the success he gained with the Underworld franchise. The films are virtually identical for Pete's sake! they even cast Nighy in the same role as the same character! This film is more of a monster mash admittedly hence the 'Van Helsing' vibe pulsating strongly as events unfold. Out go the interesting characters and fun real time stunts we saw in 'Underworld', in come lots of CGI beasties. The really bad thing is the CGI isn't even that good, the cityscape's and brooding skies look nice sure but the Gargoyles look pretty bad and dated effects wise. The demons fare much better because they utilise hands on makeup effects with prosthetics which is decent but they look more like big lizards than demons.

You see...the funny thing about this film is they have really really REALLY tried to make this as lavishly flamboyantly gothic as they possibly could. Every sequence and every shot they aim for something dark gloomy and...well basically everything you've ever seen before in various gothic movies starting with 'The Crow'. Don't get me wrong it does look nice at the start with the creepy graveyard set against dark rainy clouds and then as we move into the modern era with obligatory nightclubs and even more obligatory dark alleyways, but its all so cliche now and they are trying way too hard to push this look. Even the characters are dressed in attire we've seen before, everything is black leather, black suits, black hoodies etc...accept for the Gargoyles in human form who have a Thor thing going on. Also their weapons look like they've come from the 'Blade' franchise and basically all the demons in human form look like pale vampires.

The real fun deconstruction comes in the plot holes and details. Let me begin...firstly why are the Gargoyles always in human form? they aren't human so why walk around as one in private. I also feel confused about the Gargoyles genetic makeup, are they actually made of stone? they say they are gargoyles which humans see as are they made of stone? I'm guessing not as they probably wouldn't be able to fly and would also be indestructible. Also...the Gargoyle Queen? really? that sounds so lame, and she's heavenly white in colour oh geez! The HUGE cathedral the Gargoyles live that just for them or do humans use it? surely people would notice funny goings on in this place no?? and my God why is it so flippin' huge?!

This leads me to another point, this war is suppose to raging out of sight from the human race...but how is that even remotely possible when this creatures are flying about all over the show. In these modern times guess what...people do go out at night, people work during the night, they would be real easy to spot, especially with all the racket they make with their battles. Oh and they have these battles in the street!! haha...wut?!! Gargoyles turning into large bright blue/white balls of light and shooting up into the heavens (accompanied by thunder), demons burning up into piles of black ash on the ground all over the place...and not a single human in sight anyway!! What city is this again?? the city where nobody ever comes out at night or hears anything it seems.

In all honesty I don't really see how Frankenstein's monster even fits into this plot. The demons want to find the secret for reanimating dead corpses and they are mainly hunting Dr Frankenstein's book of secrets for that, so why do we need the monster? In fact the monster doesn't really do anything to help them in the end. Plus I gotta ask why is Frankie's monster so powerful and fast? he's made up of various regular human body parts, why on earth would that make him much stronger and faster than the average human. Oh and his name is Adam, as in Adam and Eve and the myth of following me here? Oh! and he also has a comical exaggerated deep gravely voice just like Bale used for whatshisname.

It really feels like this film should have been made in the late 90's, I think it would have gone down a storm back then, but right now its way outta time. There are some nice visual moments here and there but seriously this is such a blatant rip off of so many other films along with a blatant rehash of 'Underworld' its just shocking. You know what you're getting into when you see the trailer and if you like this type of thing then no worries, I myself do like gothic monster/superhero flicks but even this felt way too generic. Aaron Eckhart as the monster?? come on! the dude is buff and looks better looking than most regular folk who aren't stitched together with random body parts. You could of at least tried to make him look nasty or semi scary sheesh! its so daft, if you want a chiseled square jawed action hero then don't make it Frankenstein's monster.

The actual finale setup and visual concept is exactly the same as 'Van Helsing' with the massive technological lab full of vampire eggs...or in this case dead bodies. What made me giggle is the overly heroic stance of Eckhart at the very end as he stands atop a building against a stormy night sky, weapons in hand, legs apart and glaring menacingly into the darkness. His immortal quest to protect humans from the demon hordes...I'm Batman...wait...

'I, descender of the demon horde'
'I, my father's son'
'I, Frankenstein'

Shouldn't that be I AM Frankenstein and I AM my father's son...whatever.