Actors: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe
Directors: Paul McGuigan
Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Region: Region A/1
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20TH CENTURY FOX
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Run Time: 110 minutes
This re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel from Twentieth Century Fox is not a complete waste of time, but it is a bad enough that I am sure the failure has Universal Studios concerned. The iconic horror studio has long been planning a “Monsters Universe” franchise to mimic the success the comic book universes, but the last thing that they want is audience’s to think of unsuccessful attempts such as this. Fortunately, The Mummy is the first endeavor in the open-world of Universal horror, and hopefully audiences will have time to forget this film before they re-imagine Frankenstein one more time.
There are many problems with this latest CGI entry into the familiar world of the mad scientist, though it all starts with the screenplay from Max Landis. Nepotism seems to have enabled yet another half-baked script to emerge from the son of John Landis, whose basic premise for the film is in direct conflict with the title chosen. Though the film is called Victor Frankenstein, the narrator for the tale is actually Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), despite being a character that is not even included in Shelley’s original novel. Even more importantly, this was the exact same premise for the animated film, Igor, which was far more effective despite being made primarily for younger audiences. This is the largest problem with Victor Frankenstein; the elements which work are borrowed from better films and aren’t enough to cancel out the many elements which very clearly don’t work.
One thing that does work is the performance given by James McAvoy as the title character, though the screenplay betrays him with illogical actions in the third act. He is far more believable than Radcliffe, who is a bit too over-eager to prove to audiences he can act in a role without a lightning bolt on his forehead. Though his willingness to throw himself into the role is commendable, there is an awkward stiffness to Radcliffe which often comes off as bad acting. I’m sure this is not helped by having a far superior actor in a supporting role to remind us what good acting looks like.
The style of the film is also vaguely familiar, though it aligns more with Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films than anything belonging in the horror genre. This makes for a few visual exciting action scenes in replacement of typical horror tropes. In fact, there are really only two sequences in the entire film that even remotely resemble horror, both entirely reliant on computer generated creatures, including Frankenstein’s monster. But this is not nearly as disconcerting as the gaps in logic it takes to get to this point, or the convenient way that even the unholy acts of Victor Frankenstein are justified in order to provide an unearned happy ending for nearly all involved. The real tragedy is the treatment of Shelley’s original material.
The special features on the Blu-ray highlight what seems to be a primary focus on the visual impact of the narrative in a 7-part documentary about the making of the film. Also included are three galleries of photos, from the production design to a behind-the-scenes gallery. There are also a handful of deleted scenes, though they add no more excitement to the narrative.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10