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Frankenstein (1994)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Reissue)
Movie Connections:
Frankenstein
> Frankenstein (1910)
> Frankenstein (1931)
> Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
> Son Of Frankenstein (1939)
> The Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942)
> Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943)
> House Of Frankenstein (1944)
> House Of Dracula (1945)
> The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958)
> Mad Monster Party (1967)
> Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)
> Young Frankenstein (1974)
> The Monster Squad (1987)
> Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
> Frankenstein (1994)
> ...Show All Connections?
Genres:
Costume Horror, Creature Film, Gothic Film, Horror
Director:
Kenneth Branagh Kenneth Branagh
Starring:
Robert De Niro Robert De Niro
Kenneth Branagh Kenneth Branagh
Tom Hulce Tom Hulce
Helena Bonham Carter Helena Bonham Carter
Aidan Quinn Aidan Quinn

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: July 29, 2004
The movie opens up with a group of guys on a boat getting stranded on an iceberg at the North Pole. As they're trying to free their ship, they see a man approaching them, and then hear some ghastly sounds in the distance. The man is Victor Frankenstein, and tells the crew that they must get their weapons and go kill this thing. The crew will have none of that, and demand to know what's going on and what was making those sounds. Victor then proceeds to tell the story, and the movie starts in... apparently, Frankenstein was quite the intelligent man and was headed into the field of medicine, but didn't care much for the ideas of the teachers around him. He decided to break off onto his own, and met up with another doctor who shared some of Frankenstein's ideas. This doctor had been working on a way to bring the dead back to life, but had stopped due to the monstrosity that he had created. Frankenstein wants to continue the work, and ends up making his own monstrosity... which happens to be halfway intelligent, and quite pissed off for being made the way he is.

This version of the classic Frankenstein tale took a lot of liberties with the original storyline, changing up quite a large number of the details and the way things happened. Normally, I'd gripe about such nonsense, but considering how many times this classic novel has been made into a movie, it's expecting that things would have to be changed up a bit to keep things interesting. The finished storyline and the way things worked out was pretty nice, but the execution of said storyline was horrendous. There was way too emphasis on the characters in the movie, showing how they lived and what was going in their lives, and the things shown had little or no relation to the overall storyline. For example, we see a huge scene with people dancing around like idiots, and then it switches over to a chick playing piano for a while, and then it finally moves on to the fact that Frankenstein is getting married. It took the movie twenty minutes just to drop this bit of knowledge, another ten to show him moving into his new apartment, another fifteen to show him reading some books, and it just kept that pace for the majority of the film. I'm not normally one to bitch about movies building up the storyline before setting things into motion, but the things they focused on for so long were quite boring and had very little effect on the outcome of the film. Did we really need to watch him read some notes for ten minutes to get the fact that he was learning how to make a monster? I certainly don't think so. There were many scenes such as this spread throughout the movie that I was very tempted to just fast-forward through to get back to the main storyline, but alas, I stuck it out for you review-readers.

<Spoiler>
And what was up with that ending? Throughout the vast majority of the film, the monster is chasing Frankenstein and wanting to make his life a living hell; killing his father and his wife, threatening to kill Frankenstein himself, all of the usual monster scare tactics. Then, when Frankenstein dies of shock / hypothermia / whatever at the end of the movie, the monster cries and throws a huge fit about it? Bad ending, no soup for you.
</Spoiler>

The acting was alright here, nothing overly special. Robert De Niro played the monster created by Frankenstein, and did a good enough job with the role. I wasn't too fond of some of the lines he was given, but that's not really a fault of the actor. Kenneth Branagh plays the lead role of Frankenstein, and has the best character in the film. That's not to say that his performance was stellar or anything, but compared to everyone else, he was the best. Helena Bonham Carter plays his wife Elizabeth, and while her actual acting skills were decent, her accent here was overly phony sounding and quite distracting during her scenes. This strikes me as a bit odd as she's originally from the UK, so I'm not sure what the problem with her accent was... maybe she was trying for a different accent in the film, and her native one interfered with it, or maybe I'm just too used to hearing Americans trying to have an accent as opposed to the real thing. Who knows, but it definitely annoyed me.

If I was rating this on the storyline alone, I'd go with a 7/10 or so. But since the execution of the film was so horridly fucked up and boring, I'm going to have to drop that down to a 3/10.
Recommended Movies
The Revenge Of Frankenstein Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man The Ghost Of Frankenstein Frankenstein Victor Frankenstein
Frankenstein Unbound Dracula Van Helsing House Of Frankenstein House Of Dracula
Dracula vs. Frankenstein Young Frankenstein Bride Of Frankenstein Sleepy Hollow Son Of Frankenstein
Clarence Bodicker #1: Clarence Bodicker - added 07/30/2004, 02:25 AM
I remember this movie scared the shit out of me when I saw it. Save the insults, I was 8.
Symx #2: Symx - added 02/04/2005, 07:01 PM
In my opinion this film deserves more than a 3/10. Of course a slow story line never bothers me.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 12/31/2005, 08:10 PM
Wait... You to liked this? I can't say I hated it, but I'm never gonna buy it. The Universal movie was better... then again, Universal is awsome.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 05/31/2015, 03:36 PM
I disagree, this was one of the more faithful adaptations I've ever seen, save a few bits here and there, most of which took their inspiration from Universal's classic. The only one I really hated was the Elizabeth scene. As for the ending, it's very close to the novel's ending, but features a melodramatic, sappy twinge to it that did no favors to either this movie or the pages that inspired it. 7/10
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