*There may be spoilers. You are warned.
Howlers are more fun with friends. I saw this with my friend Kate and we clearly have way too much SCIENCE in our brains (I have a degree in epidemiology, she’s finishing a PhD in linguistics) so we did some snickering and “no, that is not correct”-ing and generally had a good time ‘shipping McAvoy and Radcliffe.
The plot for Victor Frankenstein is mostly cobbled together with a vague idea of what the original Mary Shelley book was about. The movie focuses on Victor Frankenstein’s demons through the lens of Igor/no-name abused circus clown and his super-genius talent for correcting Frankenstein’s experimental blockages. Plot connections are tenuous (did we need Andrew Scott’s Scotland Yard detective, except as deus ex machina in reverse?) and half-baked (Jessica Brown Findlay’s Lorelai is saved from dying in hospital by a wealthy Baron to be in his cabaret – which we don’t see, ever – and also to be his beard in public but is apparently just accepted into society (which speaks to how someone didn’t do his/her research into Victorian Society behavior and class beliefs) and also drags Radcliffe’s Igor upstairs during a ball….the Baron wouldn’t take that well). It all turns out as one expects. Particularly if you go into this expecting nothing but ridiculousness.
There is some great casting. Louise Brealey, of Sherlock and Bleak House fame, has the unfortunate and super offensive/inaccurate screen credit of “Sexy Society Girl” in a fantastic bit part where she gives excellent “shocked and offended because I am a LADY and we are discussing procreation” face during a fancy dinner. Freddie Fox can make a career playing upper-class Old Money Englishmen, because he is that good at it. Victor’s father is cast so deliciously I won’t spoil it but for 5 minutes of screen time that actor was worth every second. As Igor, Radcliffe wears two of the worst wigs currently in cinemas (although I am worried the second might have been his own hair with FAR too much mousse – not a good look) but he does some good physical acting as a hunchback and as the owner of a newly-straightened spine after Victor miraculously cures him through a combination of zit popping and chiropractic (it was gross, part of it). James McAvoy, though, drank the Kool-Aid for this movie. He was SELLING that dialogue like the rent was due tomorrow. He had a lot of commitment and that went a ways toward making this movie less terrible than it could have been. A long way, LOOOOONG way, from being a good movie.
A+ set decoration and costume design. We commented a lot on the waistcoats McAvoy and Radcliffe wore, the textiles were very pretty. Jessica Brown Findlay wore beautifully vibrant clothes (guys, someone needs to cast her as Lena Heady’s younger sister ASAP because man, does Findlay look like Heady did when she did some period films in the late 1990s/early 2000s).
In short: a fun popcorn movie, not a good movie in any way (has a really weird title card at the end of the credits that states how many people worked on the movie).
1. Deadpool – in it, and I really hope the soundtrack is that dope.
2. Krampus – I get a distinct Drag Me To Hell vibe off this trailer and since I spent most of that movie with my hoodie pulled over my face like Kevin from South Park, I pass.
3. In the Heart of the Sea – I might be up for Ben Wishaw as Herman Melville and a sea-soaked Thor, er, Chris Hemsworth.
4. The Revenant – I think this was the movie that had some reviewer saying something like this wasn’t a movie for women (yep). Technically, Victor Frankenstein isn’t a movie for women, either, since it clearly ranked only one named female character who did not audibly talk to another female character (there’s a Mrs. Winthrop (uncredited) in the IMBd listing that I don’t remember from the credits roll in the actual movie because it was really short) and a plot that is so full of holes it might be cinematic Swiss cheese. And yet I paid 8$ plus tax for it. If I don’t see The Revenant in the theatre it’s more likely due to the fact that I have yet to really like an Iñárritu film (haven’t caught Birdman, yet). I have seen my share of “brutal” movies (raise your hand if you’ve seen Salò).
5. The Hateful Eight – Tarantino. I usually catch up with him after the DVD release. And a three-hour movie really tests limits on my bladder. However, if I luck out and any of the nearby theatres get the 70mm film (which I highly doubt) I might try for a screening. (There are two named female characters! And Tarantino known for brutality onscreen! Now I’m on a rant….guess I need to take my new Mulholland Dr. Blu-ray out for a spin).