Saturday, February 4, 2017

Short Attention Span Review: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Short Attention Span Review: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Max Landis did something new and interesting with his script for Victor Frankenstein and director Paul McGuigan gave the picture a great look, but the two leads (James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe) are really what make this one click.  Narrowing the focus for this take on the classic story to Victor and Igor (with Igor taking center stage) could have been disastrous, but the witty script, the bold visuals, and a pair of quality performances make this one of the most entertaining Frankenstein pictures out there.  The film is told largely from Igor's perspective and Radcliffe is fine in this role, but it is safe to say that McAvoy's bold scientist with a hunger for forbidden fruit dominates the proceedings.  Andrew Scott also makes quite an impact as a devout detective who is determined to thwart Frankenstein's devilish dealings with science, and Charles Dance is commanding in an impressive cameo.  Also impressive in what amounts to little more than a cameo is Frankenstein's creature, and while he only appears briefly in the closing reel, the design in play and the effects that bring this monstrosity to life are both incredible to behold.  That finale was also quite a spectacle, and surely no other Frankenstein film can offer up such an action-packed conclusion.  While I can be a bit of a purist when it comes to adapting material like this, I actually found Victor Frankenstein to be one of the most rewarding spins on the timeless mythos that I have beheld, and I don't think there are many versions of this tale that I'm unfamiliar with.  It's a bit less frightening than the standard approach, but far more entertaining--and while it makes drastic alterations to Mary Shelley's story, Victor is basically the same character and the big questions regarding life and death that fuel his descent into madness are well-preserved.  Those questions are the backbone of the Frankenstein legacy, and this film stands as proof that they are still potent enough to anchor a thrilling horror opus.

Final Grade: A-

This spin on the classic tale is centered on the relationship between Victor and Igor, and stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe work hard to make this fresh approach an exciting success.

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