The latest adaptation of the original Frankenstein tale, Victor Frankenstein (12A), released in UK cinemas on December 4th, is a classic example of a horror love story which keeps you glued to your seat throughout.
Directed by Paul McGuigan, it explores the tale of a mad scientist, Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy), who rescues a hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) from the circus, and uses him as his partner in his attempt to create life from death. Frankenstein meets the hunchback, who he names Igor after his absent housemate, at the circus, where together they very impressively save the life of Igor’s love, acrobat Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay).
There are multiple themes in this story which extract a cocktail of different emotions. With a blend of science, love, horror, violence and family tension, the emotional reactions vary from shielding your eyes and ears from guts and gruesome sound effects, to wiping away tears to hysterically laughing.
Based in an old London, religious themes are also explored, and the discussion of God and the correct ways of life and accepting death appears numerous times throughout. The typical theme of having good guys versus villains is present but in a different way, where you find yourself weighing up who is who throughout.
Victor Frankenstein’s character is portrayed fantastically as a cool, intelligent man with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. He is at times unpredictable: his casual attitude and dry hilarious sense of humour adds so much more character to the film itself. He is the type of guy that possesses so many different qualities. McAvoy could not have played the character better if he tried. His passion and excitement in his project with Igor is an extremely believable piece of acting, and coincides perfectly with his comedic side which comes so naturally to him. Seemingly a nutcase, towards the end of the film you see a different side to this man, who is actually under a lot of emotional distress due to an incident which occurred in his early life.
It is difficult to remember that Igor is not Harry Potter without the wand and specs and is in fact the assistant of a mad scientist, however as the film develops, his character starts to leave his mark. Radcliffe plays a sweet, innocent and extremely caring character, who is just as excited about Frankenstein’s work as the man himself, and possesses a deep love for his fellow circus sweetheart Lorelei. Unlike his partner, Igor seems to keep a more cautious frame of mind and is wary when he feels himself facing potential danger, especially when the detectives become suspicious about what is really going on in Victor’s basement. He constantly reminds Victor, who strives to make his name remembered and prove to his non-believers, including his dissapointed father, that it will not be him that is remembered as a man, but Frankenstein as a monster.
The chases, violence and weapons stimulate tension throughout. The setting was impressive. The story jumps straight in to the scene of a stereotypical circus then develops into gorgeous camera shots of bustling London streets, with horses and carriages and men wearing top hats and girls in huge dresses. With an extreme amount of intricate details, it is apparent a lot of thought and money was put into getting the scene right down to a T. In terms of camera angles and shots, they were also obviously planned perfectly. The same goes to the make-up and costume. The special effects with the monsters created (the monkey being the first project and Frankenstein the second) were realistic and effective.
There are not many negative aspects of the film, except that it does drag out a little bit towards the late middle and end and some parts seemed a bit cliché. All in all this film is definitely worth a watch. It has its own take on an original story and does so in an engaging and memorable way, focusing more on the man Frankenstein himself, rather than the monster created. (4 stars)