Jessica Brown Findlay
While “Victor Frankenstein” references the famous mad scientist, this retelling actually takes place from Igor’s (Radcliffe) perspective. The movie begins with Igor working as a clown and amateur doctor at the circus. His whole life changes, though, when he meets Victor (McAvoy), who sees his medical techniques.
After the two meet, Frankenstein decides to bring Igor with him to help with scientific experiments to reanimate dead tissue.
This flick, from “Lucky Number Slevin” Director Paul McGuigan, feels like a cross between the recent remake of “Sherlock Holmes” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” from 2013. Unfortunately, the quality of the movie leans more toward the latter. While the movie does include some exciting moments that can keep one entertained, it is severely held back by a disjointed story and themes that are never really developed.
The movie’s first half comes off as a bit hit or miss, mainly because of its tone. Sometimes it feels like a dreary and tragic background tale and at others it seems like a dark comedy with some winks and nods to other adaptations. Then in the second half there’s a rich character who comes in and tries to use Frankenstein’s talents for an evil plan, even though this has limited development. The famed monster doesn’t even show up until the last half hour.
Radcliffe’s performance as Igor was one of the better parts of the picture as he is able to sell the tragic backstory of the character. Throughout the movie, Igor is conflicted by Frankenstein’s science experiments and Radcliffe pulls it off.
As for Victor himself, McAvoy certainly brings a lot of energy to the role, but a little too much at times. I understand that he’s playing a mad scientist, but it seems like McAvoy was hamming it up more than he needed to in certain scenes. On top of that, the character Frankenstein seemed a bit inconsistent, at some points seeming like a mad man stopping at nothing to accomplish his goals and at others being portrayed as more of a tragic anti-hero.
It should be mentioned again, too, that Frankenstein’s monster is barely in the movie, and when he does show up, there’s not much done with it. It’s a far cry from what Boris Karloff did with the monster in 1931.
Even the action was a bit poor at some moments, with slow motion sequences that didn’t really work. Additionally, there are some animated graphics on screen that give viewers sort of an inside look at the anatomy of the science, but these just seem out of place at times.
“Victor Frankenstein” was a real mess of a movie that struggles to find an identity. The idea isn’t bad, but the execution is. The movie’s only real positive is Radcliffe’s performance and a couple fun moments. Wait to rent this one if anything. Low 2 out of 5.