From the producers and creators of the Underworld franchise comes the next step in monster evolution: I, Frankenstein. I missed this one at the show but was looking forward to the Blu-ray just for the fact that it’s been severely bashed since those first awful looking trailers debuted months ago. I usually don’t judge a film by a trailer until I have actually seen the film for myself. I am also not familiar with the graphic novel series it’s based off of, so my levels of familiarity the world of I, Frankenstein is limited. Let us see how the end product fared.
I, Frankenstein is the latest re-telling of Mary Shelly’s creation revamped and repackaged for the 21st century. Adam (Aaron Eckhart) is Frankenstein’s Monster, he’s 200 years old, and he is pissed! Why is he so upset? Well, his creator pieced him together from various corpses but forgot to include that pesky little soul, which gives him a distinct advantage over any other creature on Earth, Heaven, and Hell. Adam, in essence, is Switzerland. He’s neutral to the warring gargoyles (the good guys) and the demons (the bad guys). What he has no control over is that since he’s relatively immortal, doesn’t age, grows weak, and has no soul, is that he would make a good enforcer for either side.
We get an extended prologue where we see Adam and how he came to be along with what happened after Victor Frankenstein died. Some demons and gargoyles take an interest to him before we flash forward to the present. Adam is pretty much a hoody wearing transient who just wants to live and let live. Along the path to nowhere Adam continuously gets accosted by both groups of supernatural creatures while trying to keep the secret of how he came into being hidden. He carries a journal that is wanted by Naberius (Bill Nighy), who chews the scenery beautifully, as Nighy knows that he is in on the joke. Yvonne Strahovski makes an appearance as a scientist who works for Naberius and is trying to unlock those very secrets that Adam is trying to keep hidden from the world. How convenient, Yvonne.
I, Frankenstein has your typical gargoyle on demon fights in addition to Adam dishing out punishment to both races that truthfully, don’t amount to very much. I read that this was to be part of the Underworld universe before the idea was scraped. Personally, I dig the first three Underworld films and hated the fourth but I digress. What I really hated about I, Frankenstein is that it lacks a soul just like Adam. I sat there watching the film waiting for it to take hold and it never did. Aaron Eckhart and company has done great work in their careers but this material betrays their talents. I, Frankenstein is an incoherently boring mess of a film.
One of the many things that seriously irked the crap out of me while watching the film were the lack of humans inhabiting the world of I, Frankenstein. You have this grand scope of a film that takes place in and around these lush gothic cities that are beautifully lit that have ZERO people inhabiting them. Where are the people? To add insult to injury during the gargoyle/demon fights whenever a demon is killed explode into a bright flame that is several stories high – it’s an extremely exaggerated way of dying. The same thing happens when a gargoyle dies – they ascend in a brilliant blue light to heaven or wherever. The problem in ascending/descending is that you would think that stuff like that would be visible to the naked eye (assuming you have a general population) but it doesn’t seem to be. Law enforcement and military forces don’t seem to care about giant gargoyles, demons, and Frankenstein’s monster running amok, because they’re nowhere to be found.
I’m not familiar with the source material, so I do hope much of the movie’s faults have previously been clarified in the series of books, because the film fails doing that. The film has some great production work, fancy special effects, but fails in the execution of the storyline. I can understand Eckhart taking the role, because it puts him in a lead category, but there’s much better material out there for him. Stuff like this just sets him up for failure. Oh, and it also doesn’t help that the film runs at 92 minutes and 10 of those minutes are the end credits. Seriously?
Encoding: AVC MPEG-4 (MVC 3-D version)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Clarity/Detail: Crystal clear in every way – contrast and sharpness levels are exquisite.
Depth: You can literally swim in the oceans of this transfer. The film may be a piece of crap but this is a demo quality presentation.
Black Levels: Immaculate black levels. Crush? Not here!
Color Reproduction: A remarkably warm color palette and by that same token it shifts into a very cold one. Yes, the dreaded teal and orange effect is present but these are reference teal and orange levels!
Flesh Tones: Adam looks pretty good for a 200-year-old human composite. Everyone else also looks great and not a single pore is obstructed.
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Dynamics: This is what lossless soundtracks are all about. The action is fierce and every single independent speaker channel captures all of the subtle and not so subtle nuances of the destruction at hand.
Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel handles the low level bass with amazing clarity in that it never distorts while keeping it tight and heavy.
Surround Sound Presentation: From giant wing swoops to bladed weapons, flames, and every other supernatural occurrence, the surround channels keep it real.
Dialogue Reproduction: Every lousy word of dialogue is crystal clear. You’ll be asking yourself “did they really say that,” throughout the silly movie.
I, Frankenstein has several special features for your viewing and listening pleasure. We have a couple of audio commentaries with the crew and a couple of featurettes covering the film’s production. A trailer rounds out the supplements.
- Audio Commentary By Co-Writer and Director Stuart Beattie – This is a pretty straightforward commentary by Beattie as he talks about ever facet of the films conception and what made and didn’t make it into the final film. I can tell that Beattie is trying to save face on how awful the finished product is but I do appreciate his honesty. He did direct the film after all and never comes off like someone who is ashamed of the final product.
- Audio Commentary By Filmmakers Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, James McQuade, and Kevin Grevioux – Everyone present on this commentary track is a producer, executive producer, there’s a co-producer visual effects supervisor, and Grevioux is the co-writer of the film and creator of the graphic novel. Again, like the first commentary track everyone talks about what went into the making of the film and so forth. No one really has a negative thing to say either. It’s a very informative commentary track all things considered.
- Creating A Monster (HD, 13:00) – Here’s a featurette that focuses a bit on the traditionally created monsters of the FX world and their digital enhanced counterparts. It’s a very basic featurette mixed in with some fluff.
- Frankenstein’s Creatures (HD, 14:18) – This featurette is more fluff and is an overview of the project itself. Everyone is so happy to be there and to be part of something like it. Sound familiar? It is.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:33) – The I, Frankenstein trailer is presented in high definition.
Okay, your jaw probably hit the floor when you saw the final 3.5 star review for I, Frankenstein, but I must clarify. I average out my reviews, so doing the math and adding up each rating spec and then averaging out the total is why you get a 3.5 final score. Make no mistake, I, Frankenstein is garbage but the Blu-ray is demo-material and the extras are above average especially with the TWO audio commentaries by all of the important players. I would advise that you keep away from I, Frankenstein. Go for a walk, grab a bite, take a nap, etc. There are better things to do out there than watching this dreck.
Order I, Frankenstein on Blu-ray!