Two hundred years after Henry Frankenstein strung “a dozen used parts from eight different corpses” together and brought them to life with a bolt of electricity and the cry of, “Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive…” the creature is back for a new adventure based on the graphic novel called “I, Frankenstein” by Kevin Grevioux.
This time around his green parlor and neck bolts are gone, replaced by a chin cleft Igor could hide in and scars lining his unusually fit body. He’s a tormented soul, or rather, it is his lack of a soul that torments him. “I care not for the world of men,” he says, “I go my own way.”
For hundreds of years instead of terrifying villagers Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, now dubbed Adam (Aaron Eckhart) has hidden himself in the most remote places where he thought no human, demon or Gargoyle could find him. But he was wrong.
It seems a legion of 666 fiends, led by a demon prince named Naberius (Bill Nighy) are desperate to find Adam so they can learn the secret of reanimating corpses. Naberius plans on inserting demon souls into dead bodies to create an unstoppable army and “unravel the mortal coil of life.”
On the other side are the Gargoyles, commanded by Leonore (Miranda Otto), an archangel determined to help Adam find his humanity and save the human race.
An unholy mix of religion, martial arts (Adam has some slick Bruce Lee moves) and Mary Shelley, “I, Frankenstein” should have been called “Aye, yi, yi, Frankenstein.”
There is some cool gothic Gargoyle imagery on display and a variety of posh English accents to class to the joint, but it seems only Nighy realizes that this would have played better as a campy comedy.
In amongst the over earing narration, dropped storylines—for instance, a bride for Adam is mentioned and then never mentioned again—and shots of Adam peering around corners, every now and again someone will say, “I think your boss is a demon prince.”
Mel Brooks would have known how to stage that line. For all its atmosphere—i.e.: darkly shot scenes—“I, Frankenstein” would have been a lot more fun if it embraced its silly side just as Adam must embrace his humanity. With humanity comes a sense of humor, right? Not in this case. The movie plays like a satire of bad horror movies that forgot it was a satire.