The Moronic Prometheus
The brain trust responsible for Stuart Beattie’s unofficial sequel to Frankenstein thank Mary Shelley in the end credits. This leads one to conclude that contrary to every instinct felt while watching the film, perhaps Shelley did indeed plot this continuation, jotting down the idea of a war between Demons and Gargoyles in which her creature intervened. Perhaps Beattie found the notebook in his attic, much like the fabled journal of Victor Frankenstein that plays such a large role in his movie. Perhaps, as he thumbed the browned pages by candlelight, absorbing the lore Shelley had dreamt in her second nightmare, not to mention the extraordinary story of an evil Demon prince who planned to possess the soulless corpses of thousands, thereby creating a Satanic army to destroy mankind, he realised this was a lost literary classic that the world should see in a condensed ninety minute film with added virtual camera and cartoon CG effects. Unfortunately he held the book too close to that candle and it burst into flame, meaning we must take him at his word when he tells us that I, Frankenstein stays true to the spirit of the author’s ideas.
It’s a pity that Shelley’s notes were lost because the finished film, scripted by Beattie from memory, leaves many questions unanswered. How does super charging human flesh extend life expectancy to a number of centuries? If I stick my finger in the mains will I be killed or become immortal? How did Victor Frankenstein find 12 corpses that make such a coherent composite? Was it pure luck that randomly stitching together a dozen strangers gives you the perfect likeness of Aaron Eckhart? Why is the advance in human society a shock to the creature when he returns to the city? Where on Earth could he have hidden for 200 years and not be a witness to social and technological change? Why is Frankenstein’s journal written in English? When Naberius ordered 10,000 electronic displays to indicate the reanimation percentage in a corpse, why didn’t anyone ask questions? What kind of system automatically sends a slain demon to hell and a fallen Gargoyle to heaven? What if a Demon has a change of heart or, as seen in the movie, a Gargoyle commits an immoral act? Jai Courtney’s Gideon ascends despite his attempt at murdering the newly christened Adam Frankenstein. God will be furious. And perhaps most importantly, why is Adam the only one to change his hair in 200 years?
Still, despite its impenetrable internal logic, I, Frankenstein is an inoffensive ninety minuter, assuming you’re not aggrieved at time and money being spent on a derivative fantasy actioner that dares to reimagine Frankenstein’s Monster as Christopher Lambert in Highlander, going as far as to recreate the warehouse fight between MacLeod and The Kurgan. Bill Nighy’s mercenary turn as the demon prince is a lot of fun – no one can purse lips and chew vowels quite like him, but everyone else, including Eckhart, is inanimate as the dead. In fact there’s so little behind the eyes of anyone in this movie, even Victor Frankenstein would look elsewhere when scouting for materials.