The Rundown: There’s science, clowns, monsters, and then more science in this adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic Frankenstein. Instead of the story of a man and his monster typically told, this version is told through the eyes of Victor’s assistant Igor. So, I was going to see Krampus this weekend. Krampus got sold out, so me and my buddy decided to see what else was showing. We settled on Victor Frankenstein, because we like monsters and we heard Harry Potter was in it. What ended up seeming like it would simply be a mediocre monster movie became something unexpected. The story begins with a nameless circus hunchback. He is abused, tormented, and laughed at, but is fascinated by biology and serves as a makeshift camp doctor for the traveling circus. During a performance he is noticed by a mysterious man and taken away from the life of the circus. He is given the name Igor, and becomes the man’s lab assistant. This man is Victor Frankenstein, played by the exuberant James McAvoy. What follows is the classic story of a man and his monster, and the disaster that follows when men play at being gods. Now, as I had just decided to see this somewhat spur-of-the-moment, I had no idea what to expect from Victor Frankenstein. Daniel Radcliffe as Igor was really intriguing, and I really haven’t seen him in much else since his Harry Potter years. The most interesting thing I found about the movie was the point of view they chose to tell it from. While Igor as a character is not at all present in the original novel, the character of the hunchbacked lab assistant has been made classic by the 1930’s Frankenstein movies and has been adopted as a staple of mad scientists everywhere. This film does something different though, giving the assistant agency, emotion, and more independence than we’ve seen from such characters in the past. That and sex appeal. Within moments of his adoption by Victor, his hump is drained, he’s given a back brace, and up he goes. I have no problem with a less-deformed assistant, and in fact, there is much to suggest that Victor’s curing of Igor’s hunched back is one of the many reason that he’s so enamored with him. This is the drama on which the film hinges, and really makes it a pleasure to watch. In previous incarnations of Frankenstein, Victor is simply a mad genius who ignores the pleas of local townsfolk and the skepticism of his colleagues on a crazy quest for immortality. Through Igor’s eyes we get to see more of the genius, and less of the madness. There is a character in Frankenstein that only someone who was spending every moment with him would understand, and this film shows it to us. This man believes in science over god, and his motivations are for the betterment of mankind. These ideals are shown well, and seeing it all from Igor’s perspective they can be no nobler. This is the other interplay throughout the film, setting up the conflict between men of science and men of god. In this, the movie doesn’t do as good of a job, mostly because it seems the filmmaker couldn’t decide which side was the ‘correct’ side. At times the voice on the side of religion, Inspector Turpin played by the amazing Andrew Scott, seems to be the villain. Hounding a poor Frankenstein who just wants to continue in his work. At other times Victor is painted as the classic madmen, toying with forces he can’t possibly understand or control. One could have played up that indecision, and made the film ambiguous in its views, but if that was the intention it failed to come across. Certain scenes seem deliberately set up to point at one or the other as the one in the wrong, whereas I would much prefer to see both sides vying for dominance. Still, it does add a compelling undercurrent to Igor’s own misgivings about the grand project that Victor is undertaking. The only real failure I feel is in keeping Igor consistent. At the start of the film he and Victor are an awesome pair, with Victor’s frantic energy tempered by Igor’s calm attention to detail. Yes, Victor saves him, but Igor also seems to truly believe in the work they’re setting out to do. The voice of reason comes in Igor’s love interest, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay), who is appalled by the implications of their work. Instead of a back and forth between Igor’s caring for Victor, and his belief in the work, he tends to just agree with everything she says. It seems to balk at what could have been a nice dramatic interplay, and instead drastically shifts Igor’s tone without any real catalyst for the change in idea other than that his girlfriend thought so. Still. the movie about how a man and his assistant come to make a monster is compelling, and if the studio had kept in line with that perhaps I would have been able to rate it higher. While the narrative of two men on a noble undertaking, one a gentle doctor with practiced hands, the other a high energy genius bursting with ideas, is fascinating, it seems to devolve into pointless action sequences towards the end. Still, the first two thirds of this movie are worth watching regardless, and while it does sort of dumb itself down towards the end it’s still wildly entertaining to watch. I might wait for digital download or DVD on this one, but I’d definitely give it a shot if you’re a fan of the genre. Victor Frankenstein (2015)Jeffrey's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.