Plot: What’s it about?
Some decisions made in Hollywood are curious. This is especially true in recent times where they seem to reboot movies every few years. Sure, remakes are nothing new, but the turnaround rate is much shorter these days. Another curious decision was to release Victor Frankenstein in the month of November. It just feels like a film that should’ve opened one month earlier in October. You wouldn’t release a Christmas movie in the summer. While this isn’t a straight horror flick, the horror elements are there. It might’ve even fared better had it opened in October as well. The film seemed to come and go when it opened theatrically, not even cracking $6 million domestically. Critics were also not terribly kind. While Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy aren’t exactly household names, I’m not sure what exactly is to blame for the film’s failure. As mentioned, most likely it was the timing. While I’m not usually a fan of this sort of film, the trailers did somewhat intrigue me. Still, I wasn’t able to make it to the theater to catch it. Surprisingly, the film isn’t half bad so long as you approach it with the right mindset.
We begin at a circus where an unnamed hunchback (Radcliffe) performs as a clown, but one can see he’s not happy. An accident occurs when an aerialist falls and injures herself badly. The hunchback and Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) both assist each other in saving her. Victor is quite surprised by the hunchback’s ability to perform a dry surgery in under a minute with no tools at all. He informs him that he’s meant for more than just playing a hunchback clown at the circus. Victor is able to fix the hunchback, and gives him the name of Igor, named after a deceased roommate. While Igor is thankful for what Victor has done for him, he’s still curious as to why he was chosen at all. Victor informs him of how he’s impressed with Igor’s skills and we eventually see what Victor is doing. There’s a bit of buildup, but we eventually see Frankenstein’s origins and the repercussions it has on the town. While the film won’t be regarded as a new classic, there’s still a bit to enjoy about it. For one, the look of the film is quite pleasing to the eye. I also think McAvoy and Radcliffe work well together. We see the drive behind Victor, and McAvoy does a good job at showing the determination and craze in his eyes. Radcliffe doesn’t really stretch himself as the worrywart, but the role is well catered to his abilities. I enjoyed this film much more than the recent, I, Frankenstein.
Video: How’s it look?
I would assume that any movie that has to do with re-animating the dead will have certain…stylistic liberties associated with it. Sure enough, the 2.40:1 AVC HD image looks swell, and the various backdrops means to re-create London do their job – for the most part. It’s a very unique and, at the same time, odd looking set design. Bad? Not really. However green hues tend to dominate a few scenes. Flesh tones, which admittedly play more of a part in this film than others, seem to be on the washed out side. The living ones, however, seem to be a bit on the pasty side. Still, all things considered, it’s a very pleasing transfer and one that will satisfy audiences.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Similarly the included DTS HD Master Audio sound mix has a certain flare to it that really makes a few of the scenes pop. Dialogue and vocals (and grunts) sound good and the front stage is brimming with life throughout. (Rimshot). The surrounds are surprisingly active during the first two acts, but are a bit more subdued during the final one. LFE play a part here as well which gives a little more “oomph” to a few of the more action-oriented scenes. All in all, a good, robust and very pleasing track that’s sure to be enjoyed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Deleted Scenes – Nearly fifteen minutes’ worth, none of which really offered much more to the film.
- The Making of Victor Frankenstein – This is actually a collection of seven behind the scenes featurettes, but honestly they’re so short it’s not really even worth me writing them out. They all play the same, have a few choice sound bites and combined play out like a glorified trailer to the film.
- Galleries – Running a few minutes each, these have some rather unique and beautiful-looking set design pieces.
- Production Design
- Production Photography
- Behind the Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
While not a classic, Victor Frankenstein is still much more enjoyable than the negative reception would have you believe. The film is pleasing visually, well-paced, appropriately acted and has enough action to please fans. Rent it.