I Frankenstein (2014)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Co-writer and Director Stuart Beattie
Audio Commentary-Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaide Kevin Grevioux
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Frankenstein's Creatures
Featurette-Making Of-Creating A Monster
|Year Of Production||2014|
|Running Time||88:35 (Case: 92)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Stuart Beattie|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
200 years later, he's still alive.
If you think I, Frankenstein would be some sort of homage to the Mary Shelley classic or Boris Karloff manifestations you'd be very wrong. This creation is more a reworking of the Underworld franchise than any classical monster movie. Substitute vampires and werewolves for demon and angels/gargoyles and they are so similar you could easily mistake one for the other. Even the staging and art design is almost interchangeable. So does this re-imaging of the Frankenstein monster work? Well it may for some people but this reviewer found it underwhelming for the most part.
Frankenstein's monster (Aaron Eckhart) is burying his neglectful creator after the good Doctor perished in the snow whilst trying to avenge his wife's murder. The murderer was in fact the same monster that Frankenstein created, but treated so badly. The monster is attached by demons but is dramatically rescued by winged gargoyles who carry him back to their queen Leonore (Miranda Otto). The so called "Gargoyle Order" are angels who are tasked with protecting humans from the demons that are hell bent (pun intended) on destroying the human race. Their base is a huge Gothic style cathedral in an unnamed city decorated with gargoyles who guard the world unknown to the humans below. Realising that the monster is someone the demons find important, Leonore christens him Adam, and tries to recruit him into their order. Adam is not interesting in joining however, but he does fashion his own demon destroying weapon using a symbol which immediately "descends" demons to hell. Leaving the gargoyles he becomes a sole crusader who finds his best defence against demons is to hunt them down first before they get to him.
Fast forwarding a couple of centuries to modern times and Adam is still pursuing demons, but now the demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), who is in human form as industrialist Wessex, has sent his minions out to finally capture Adam. Naberius is using human scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski) to try and create life from dead objects. Hundreds of years ago Victor Frankenstein managed to do that, and in Naberius's mind proved that the creation of life did not require God. Now Naberius wants to discover the secret through either Adam, or the original Frankenstein manuscripts. If Naberius is successful then thousands of human corpses he has stored away could be reanimated into demon spawn, and finally overwhelm the gargoyle guards and destroy human kind.
If you like your action scenes loud, fast, dumb and SFX ladened then this movie will be a treat. Writer-director Stuart Beattie must believe in the more is better approach because every cliche of fantasy angels versus devils engagements is used, from red lights descending into hell to blue lights ascending into heaven. From angelic choruses backing appropriately solemn moments, to shark-toothed demons leaping across roof tops. Fortunately most of the special effects are quite effective, with even the stony faced and obviously poorly rendered gargoyles starting to look good after a while. The sets are suitable dark and Gothic with the cathedral itself pretty spectacular. Fight scenes are a mix of Matrix-like martial arts, and good old fashioned bludgeoning. Eckhart is spectacularly muscled and ripped as our hero, although not quite in the same league as Wolverine. His face might well have been set in stone however, as his expression and wooden delivery remains unchanged throughout the entire 90 minutes. In fact the only actor who gives the stodgy script any reverence is Nighy, who just manages to rise above the dismal prose. Strahovski is one of the more improbably glamorous scientists you'll ever see, and her transformation into a sort-of love interest for the soul-less Adam is correspondingly unconvincing. Whether you'll find I, Frankenstein enjoyable is problematic. My attention started wandering off a number of times but there are fortunately enough well staged fight scenes to bring you back into the action. When the dialog starts getting heavy however, so do one's eyelids.
Video is presented in the theatrical aspect of 2.40. This transfer is excellent for standard definition with good detail, vibrant colours and deep blacks. A lot of the action takes place in darkness or gloom but the delineated gradients of grey and black make sure everything is clear. Facial close-ups show accurate skin tones and fine detail. Colour is used well, especially in the demon scenes with deep, rich reds and lustrous golds offset against steely blues and greens.
The make up and prosthetics are excellent with the video displaying them to their best. There is considerable use of shadows throughout and fortunately these are well rendered. Being filmed for 3D you see some obvious 3D props but these don't distract from the overall visual experience. I, Frankenstein is an excellent representation of what can be achieved with standard definition video.
The default audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital at 448 Kb/s with two commentary tracks using Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. Overall this effort is typical for a crash and boom movie with lots of effective foley effects and a suitably regal score. I found the surrounds were surprisingly subtle for the most part although they do spring to life during the battles. Similarly the only time I found the LFE to be really impressive was during a thunderstorm where you could really feel the room air pressure tightening. Dialogue was clear and to the front with synchronisation always spot on. The score by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek was rousing for the most part although often descending into cliche (angelic chorus anyone?). Subtitles were English only and easy to read.
|Surround Channel Use|
Animated menu with audio.
Preview - occurring on startup before the main menu.
Divergent (2:16) - Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s.
Audio Commentary - Co-writer and Director Stuart Beattie
Beattie provides a comprehensive review of the background to filming I, Frankenstein including the writing, casting, concept, and production. Beattie doesn't flag in providing information which makes this an interesting overview.
Audio Commentary - Filmmakers Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuaide and Kevin Grevioux.
Again this is a pretty interesting commentary track with each of the four contributors providing plenty of insights into the casting, production, and concept of the film. Whether I, Frankenstein deserves two commentary tracks is another question.
Featurette: Frankenstein's Creatures (13:40)
Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. Executive producer and co-writer Kevin Grevioux introduces behind the scenes footage, special effects development and interviews with various cast and crew, including Beattie, producers Andrew Mason and Gary Lucchesi, and Aaron Eckhart amongst others.
Featurette: Creating A Monster (12:26)
Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. Beattie and makeup effects supervisor Nick Nicolaou describe the traditional makeup and prosthetics effects as well as the use of CGI in the finished product. There are also contributions from costume designer Cappi Ireland, production designer Michelle McGahey, director of photography Ross Emery amongst others.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The local pressing seems identical to Region 1 apart from language options.
I, Frankenstein is almost good but is let down by an unimaginative plot, stodgy script, and wooden acting. The fight scenes are well staged however and I suspect a less critical second viewing with brain disengaged might find the experience more fulfilling. A high definition Blu-ray version would definitely be worthwhile. Good for a rental only.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
Extras are good.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|