Review for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
After the huge commercial and critical success of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola gave the Director's chair over to Kenneth Branagh in this adaptation of Mary Shelley's infamous tale of Frankenstein.
Discovered by a Sea Captain, Victor Frankenstein tells his life story. This involves studying, falling in love with his 'step sister' Elizabeth before going to University where he is obsessed with the idea or prolonging life or bringing it back. Inspired by his Professor, stealing his notes and taking it further than he ever has, what he creates is an abomination and one that he will suffer great pain for.
This film of Shelley's novel is probably as close as you can get to the original text, but that is not to say that the film is perfect. Far from it. At just a little over two hours long, this film feels like it drags on a bit too long. Which is a shame as I generally enjoyed parts of the film, but it just felt like I wanted it to just get on with the next part.
Of course the film looks amazing, the make-up effects (which is not CGI) is fantastic and worth the Oscar nomination it received. The work on the Monster is amazing and DeNiro's performance is one of his best, though it feels at times that he is just there and not given enough to make an impact. Whereas Boris Karloff owns every second of James Whale's 1931 version, DeNiro does not have the same feeling.
What the film is, ultimately, is a wonderful period piece in which everything all looks amazing, the score is epic and everything just looks lost in a rather run of the mill adaptation. It is also never scary enough to call it a horror which is what many will be coming to the film for.
There is a massive amount of Special Features and so if you are a fan of the film or the book you will have a lot to enjoy. The audio commentary is not by anyone involved in the film's creation but instead by Film Historians Michael Brooke and Johnny Mains. Both have a lot to say throughout and though it would have been nice to have heard from someone directly involves the two clearly know what they are talking about.
Mary Shelley and the Creation of a Monster is a look at how the book was created and the subsequent adaptation to stage and screen. If you are interested in the creation of the novel this has some great parts.
Dissecting Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a discussion of the differences between the novel and the film. This is interesting to see how much was done right in the film and certainly makes me want to go back and read the original again.
Frankenstein (1910) was the first screen adaptation of the novel by J. Scarle Dawley. It is a silent movie, barely thirteen minutes long and a curious thing to watch. Despite the aged film, the effects of Frankenstein creating the Monster is ingenious and though nothing like any of the monsters we are used to seeing, this was definitely something fans of the characters should watch.
Three interviews with Costume Designer James Acheson, Composer Patrick Doyle and Make-up Artist Daniel Parker (who was nominated for an Oscar for his work) are all great and interesting for those who enjoy these aspects of filmmaking. All three have some great stories about how they came to the film and what they contributed towards the film.
Two trailers which do a lot to hype up the movie and only show little or just glimpses of the Monster which was great. A quick Image Gallery is nothing special and maybe if they had includes more sketches of costumes, sets or make-up that would have made it more worthwhile.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is not terrible and I have seen much worse and there are definitely glimpses of brilliance throughout. Sadly no matter how much lightning you get is still not enough to make this film live on.