Sunday, April 10, 2016

Phil sees VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN from 20th Century Fox - April 10, 2016

Author Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" is considered a literary classic. In the world of cinema, there has been at least 75 films based on Shelly's novel, which was first published in 1818. Some of these includes classics like Universal Picture's FRANKENSTEIN starring Boris Karloff, Hammer Film's THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN featuring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. Then there are the exploitation films featuring the man made monster like AIP's I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN, Embassy Pictures JESSIE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER, the list goes on and on. The latest film adaptation come from the folks over at 20th Century Fox. Starring James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe and Jessica Brown Findlay, VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN is yet another attempt to put a different spin on Shelly's book, this time the story being told from Igor's point of view.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
The film's official synopsis: Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor's experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

Now the last Frankenstein based film I saw was the horrible I, FRANKENSTEIN, which you may recall I saw during my trip to Hollywood back in 2014. However, this one I really enjoyed. Director Paul McGuigan and screenwriter Max Landis (son of horror director John Landis) helped bring a fresh and different perspective to the Frankenstein lore. Landis' script is smart, funny and is actually poignant. The main theme weaved into the film is the definition of friendship and what does that mean exactly to the main characters. Victor frees Igor from his cruel and abusive circus life and gives him a new life: a home, a new body, self esteem and self respect. But the twist is that Victor uses his good deeds to force him to do things that he doesn't agree with. Landis also throws in big time action and humor into the script to give it more of a punch. Combined with the stylistic eye of Paul McGuigan (whose past directing credits include PUSH, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN and WICKER PARK), the film stands above the most recent film adaptions that has been produced over the past two decades.

As for the acting, both McAvoy and Radcliffe are fantastic in their respected roles. McAvoy's Victor Frankenstein is brilliant, funny and emotionally unbalanced, giving the character more depth and personality than previous interpretations. While famous for his role as Professor X in the X-MEN films, it's refreshing to see McAvoy stretch his acting chops and bring a new perspective to this iconic character. For Radcliffe, he ignores all previous cinema portrayals of Igor and makes him all his own. Kind, caring, misunderstood and also highly intelligent, this Igor is unlike anything you've seen before on screen. Major kudos to Mr. Radcliffe for this new and exciting spin on this beloved hunchback. Now unlike the other films, Igor has a love interest and she is the stunning and independent Lorelei, played by the talented and beautiful actress Jessica Brown Findlay. She adds another layer to the film and really rounds out the cast perfectly. Altogether a fantastic cast that brings Shelly's characters to new heights.

While very entertaining, it did fairly poorly at the boxoffice. The film's budget was only $40 million dollars (relatively small compared to most Hollywood films) but it only ended up grossing $34.1 million worldwide. Here in the states, it opened up against CREED and Disney/Pixar's THE GOOD DINOSAUR and others like SPOTLIGHT and TRUMBO. Now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, hopefully the movie will finally get the attention that it deserves.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN is well made, highly entertaining, wonderfully acted and directed film that fans of the horror genre and of Shelly's book should definitely see! So do yourself a favor and see this movie with a bunch of your friends and just have fun watching it! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended viewing!

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN is now available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The movie is also available at your local Redbox as well as on Netflix and Video On Demand. 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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