Frankenstein (2004)

June 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Hallmark makes television films? Apparently so, and strangely enough, they’ve produced a quite faithful and worthwhile adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel here. It must be one of the most frequently adapted novels of all time, and yet it seems all the right elements are usually not quite there. 

At nearly three hours, this film takes its time, and the viewer is conscious of scenes that simply didn?t need to be included, but it does have good performances, a good score and great scenery (shot in Slovakia and Norway). The cast includes Donald Sutherland, Julie Delpy and William Hurt in supporting roles, while Alec Newman (probably best known as the lead in the TV mini-series of Dune) plays Viktor Frankenstein, and Luke Goss is the Frankenstein monster. 

As the monster, Goss is the weak link here – his monster is articulate and fairly sympathetic, but he’s not large, or commanding, and his makeup doesn’t make him look horrific, more like a pale dude who could use a glass of orange juice. The scenes where others find him immediately revolting don’t ring true. And with everything available through modern effects and choreography, it’s a little disappointing to see yet another Frankenstein that simply clutches at people and smacks them. As something unnatural, why couldn’t the Frankenstein monster move with horrific speed? It could truly be the stuff of nightmares, but we seem to be stuck with the lumbering standard set by the 1931 film. Still, Goss is superior to Robert De Niro moaning and chewing scenery in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. 

So once again, it’s mixed results for fans of the Shelley novel. The extra time meant room for lines like “If I cannot inspire love, I will inspire fear,” which is excellent. But it’s unfortunate it’s a softened version of the monster, and one that doesn’t inspire much fear.

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