Ay-yi-yi, Frankenstein. Sure, his monster has always been a stitched together assemblage of body parts, but despite never actually having a soul in the first place, Frankenstein’s creation has never been quite as soulless as this. That’s not just the monster’s fault, or that of Aaron Eckhart who plays him, the buck stopping with everyone involved in this whole unfortunate exercise.
I, Frankenstein leans unsuccessfully on dreary CGI action to break up an interminable number of scenes in which the cast draw on all their acting prowess to keep a straight face while delivering absurd and often pompous exposition. Seriousness is a strange tonal choice for something so ludicrous, one that drains any chance of fun out of the film – but with action short on thrills or spectacle, and no real sense of menace to the villains nor feeling of stakes to their conflict with heavenly forces, there wouldn’t be much hope of salvation here.
Of all the cast Eckhart probably has the best excuse for delivering a wooden performance, using the scars across his face and abs on his bod to do most of the work between flat line readings. Elsewhere Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto and Jai Courtney don’t do themselves many favours, but the biggest disappointment is director Stuart Beattie, whose directorial debut Tomorrow, When the War Began was everything this is not – engaging, thrilling and character-driven.
With the exception of Underworld fans drawn to this though its roots as a graphic novel by the writer of that series, it’s hard to picture who else will enjoy the film – no matter how much brain they leave at the door.