Movie review

This humorless 'Frankenstein' just won't shut up

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Aaron Eckhart bears a distressing resemblance to the not late/not great Christopher Lambert in "I, Frankenstein," a graphic novel movie goof on the man-made monster. Gaunt, scowling, covered in scars and sporting fingerless gloves, a tattered hoodie and biker boots, this "I" is an avenging brawler, sort of "Blade" in a blender, with "Underworld" and "Highlander" elements tossed in.

Rejected by his creator, we meet the Big Guy in a striking, Gothic past in which he avenges himself on Dr. Frankenstein. Just as he's burying the guy, demons and then gargoyles show up to fight over the corpse -- his corpse.

'I, Frankenstein'

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Mirando Otto.

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense fantasy action and violence throughout.


Why would they want this creation "of a dozen used parts from eight different corpses," this living thing without a soul? The demon legions and their boss (Bill Nighy) have in mind some sort of demon reanimation project, a factory -- DemonWorks SKG.

And the godly gargoyles, led by Leonore (Miranda Otto), aim to stop them. Their battles, often around the Gothic cathedrals where the gargoyles sit in stony silence, are special-effects extravaganzas, with demons "descended" (killed) into disintegrating piles of hot coals and gargoyles getting "ascended" (killed) in beams of Rapture light straight out of "This Is the End."

The whole affair goes straight to hell about four minutes in. The idea of a seemingly immortal monster, wandering the forests of central Europe, shedding the archaic English or German accent or whatever he would have learned to speak for the modern vernacular, is abandoned for nonstop battles and tedious pages of exposition.

"Adam," as the monster is named, mentions a bit of his past. Then the gargoyles spend the rest of the movie explaining who they are, what the demons are, how their world works and how much they love explaining things.

Most of this endless story takes place in a modern-ish EveryCity, where Adam stomps the darkened streets, an angry monster pawn looking for another demon or gargoyle to fix.

Yvonne Strahovski is the fetching doctor who presides over modern-day efforts to replicate the late Dr. Frankenstein's reanimation work -- pretty enough to be a "companion" to Adam, an actress given nothing to play, just a wardrobe. It's great seeing Ms. Otto all these years after "Lord of the Rings," and Mr. Nighy does his usual well-dressed villain thing, only less so.

Mr. Eckhart? His only job is to keep the makeup stitches from popping, to maintain a straight face when Leonore intones, "You're only a monster if you behave like one."

The humorless, generic and chatty Frankenstein served up here makes you wonder if the good doctor, in all his patching-together of parts, didn't forget the brains.


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