For those die-hard fans of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is not the film for you. To start with, Victor Frankenstein dies within the first 10 seconds and his monster is less of a ‘monster’ than an average-looking blonde guy with a few scars. In this attempt at a horror thriller, set 200 years after the death of his creator, Adam Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart) is caught up in a raging war between the saintly gargoyles and the vengeful demons. Demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) is keen to resurrect his devilish allies by helping them possess human corpses and believes Frankenstein’s monster holds the key to helping him achieve this.
Eckhart does his best to portray this weird anti-hero, who turns out to have more of a soul than first realised. But aside from the messed-up face, this performance failed to hit the heights of Harvey Dent. And Eckhart is not the only one: Nighy creates a reasonably scary villain, but you can’t help but feel he was just collecting the cheque in this one. Mirando Otto produced a decent enough performance as gargoyle queen Leonore, but this was nothing any of the main cast will be remembering for long.
It must be said that some of the fight scenes, with CGI shots of the gargoyle towers and Jai Courtney slaying demons like a boss, were ever so slightly impressive to watch. But that’s all I’ll say. The frankly ridiculous script was too far-fetched and it seems as if the producers already had their mind on a follow-up video game. Director Stuart Beattie sets too fast a pace for a film that needed a little build-up to introduce the audience to the Frankenstein story. Instead you are left with only brief snippets of Eckhart’s narration to explain his sudden transformation from ghastly monster to vigilante-in-a-hoody. The role of Yvonne Strahovski as Terra is even more curious: whether she is supposed to be the love interest of the film is left up in the air, with only a fleeting look at the end between her and Adam as any hint at a future relationship.
The idea of this sci-fi flop did have some potential: a look at how Frankenstein’s monster would cope in the real world without his maker. But the plotline of gargoyles and devils makes this a boring fantasy adventure that lacks any serious drama. More could have been made of Eckhart’s struggle to find his soul, but instead the 84 minutes were filled with people exploding into fire and stone men flying through the air. And apparently this is a war humans don’t know about. Since when would we not notice someone blowing up in front of us?