With the success of the “Underworld” franchise, some small segment of the movie-going market is still interested in a bit of monster mayhem. This years offering is “I, Frankenstein.”
Based off the Dark Horse comic of the same name, written by Kevin Grevioux, and adapted by him for the screenplay, the film follows Frankenstein’s monster after the events of Mary Shelley’s book. After the doctor dies trying to destroy his creation, the monster spends 200 years in a solitary existence, hunting down creatures that seek to use him for evil.
This is where a comparison to “Van Helsing” could be drawn. The monster (Aaron Eckhart) is the key to life, to creating it outside the power of God. The demon Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), like Dracula, seeks to use the monster to awaken an army, but time of corpses to be possessed by Naberius’ demon horde.
From the producers of “Underworld” they have given us a new set of enemies, the demons and the gargoyles. The writers try to set up an interesting mythology for the creatures, the gargoyles as the army of the archangel Michael on Earth and the demons of the army of Naberius, who fell with Satan from Heaven. It is briefly mentioned at the beginning of the film by Lenore (Miranda Otto), the queen of the gargoyles after coming upon the newly named Adam.
Where the story seems to fall apart and never quote get fleshed out as it plays out, the saving grace of this film is the effects and the performances. Bill Nighy commits to another over-the-top villainous monster, and Aaron Eckhart seems to really be trying to give the corny lines he’s been given some depth to them.
The effects are fascinating and what sold me to see this film in the first place. When demons die, they descend to Hell in a stream of fire, and gargoyles seamlessly shape shift from human to stone. The final act, where it seems the writers may have decided to let evil have its way, ends in a bright, loud and fantastic torrent of destruction.
With the film being placed where it is, in mid-January, there isn’t much to go on in quality of material. The film is PG-13 for violence and fantasy action, and I’m generously giving it a B, because it is sheer, numbing fun in all its shallow quality. For a break from the cold, the bloodless action in “I, Frankenstein” may be trying to offer a lesson in humanity, but ends up falling from an overactive, if under-plotted, story.