Victor Frankenstein has giant explosions, guns and a zombie-monkey-creature named Norman, who goes on the rampage at Frankenstein’s esteemed school. Taking all of this into account, it’s safe to say that this latest big budget, Hollywood ‘reimagining’ of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, is enough to make the author turn in her grave.
Still, there’s no denying that whilst it doesn’t have the brains or the heart of Shelley’s source material, Victor Frankenstein is a lot of dumb fun that, at the very least, proves very entertaining.
Deciding to take the ‘untold story’ approach, this version focuses on the relationship between Igor and Frankenstein; imagining the pair as intellectual equals and friends. With the film’s main focus on the pair, who clash on a number of occasions due to Frankenstein’s work, this has very little to do with Shelley’s original novel.
The tone is set within the first ten minutes, during a sequence where Frankenstein saves Igor – here a hunchback clown who is also a medical genius – from the circus. While making their escape, they must face fire-eaters, knife-throwers, mustouchaed strongmen and dwarves. As Frankenstein jumps and dives around the place like some kind of action hero, it’s obvious just how silly the film is going to be. And yes, that’s before we even get to the that zombie-monkey-creature named Norman.
There’s a sense of self-awareness about it though; a distinct feeling that everybody involved knows just how absurd the material really is, which sort of makes it okay. It’s meant to be stupid, it’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and it doesn’t take itself seriously at all.
Case in point are the two central performances from Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy, who play Igor and Frankenstein respectively. Both are obviously having a lot of fun with their roles and have a lot of chemistry, which makes the film instantly watchable. McAvoy is particularly brilliant as Frankenstein, as he puts in a scenery chewing performance full of spit and melodrama.
It’s important to be clear; Victor Frankenstein is a bad movie. It’s stupid, laughable and an insult to its source material. However, as far as bad films go, this is one of the good ones.
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