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30 Jan 2014

A Monster of a Movie: Beyond a Cool Hoodie, 'I, Frankenstein' Is a Terrible Mess

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Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein. Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein.

When I took a look at January’s movie-release list, I found one date particularly disturbing and foreboding.

That would have been Jan. 24, the release date for I, Frankenstein. I feared that date like an ardent Coke-drinker with a saltwater-taffy addiction and a taste for meth would fear a dental appointment.

That fear was justified: I, Frankenstein is a movie so bad that it will affect your body chemically in a negative way, as if you ingested a chainsaw. A viewing of this film could have an adverse affect on your sphincter, your thyroid, your epiglottis, your self-esteem and your ability to process mathematics. Seeing I, Frankenstein, even for a few minutes, could diminish your sperm count, cause irreversible eye fungus and make you inconsolably sad.

Aaron Eckhart—in a career move as terrible as the time Halle Berry said, “Sure, I’ll play Catwoman. What’s the worst that could happen?”—plays Adam Frankenstein, aka Frankenstein’s Monster. Adam has led a lonely, undead life for the hundreds of years since he was stitched together and brought to life by some crazy science involving electric eels. He has spent those years scowling a lot, and hitting demons with sticks like some sort of super ninja. His look has progressed from Gothic longhaired bad-ass to clean cut (but probably stinky) metrosexual—replete with a hoodie/trench coat that is just to die for. Really: Adam’s coat is the best thing about the movie, and I confess to wanting one.

The film takes place in modern day England, where some sort of demon prince (Bill Nighy … OF COURSE!) is looking to create an army of Frankenstein monsters so that he can defeat some sort of gargoyle army, aka the good guys in this movie. I’m not making this up … demons vs. gargoyles, aided by a semi-reluctant Adam Frankenstein in a kickass jacket. That’s the plot.

Eckhart doesn’t crack a smile during the entire movie. He never once changes his expression; this might make sense in a Frankenstein sort of way, but it makes for monotonous movie-viewing. His every line is delivered with a growly croak that sounds like he’s trying to take first place at a movie-trailer-voiceover contest, or first place in an over-earnest, far-too-dramatic, completely vacuous douche contest. He’d probably win the latter.

Did I mention that there were gargoyles in this movie? The Gargoyle Order, or whatever the hell it is, is led by Leonore, played by once-promising Lord of the Rings actress Miranda Otto. When Leonore switches from human to gargoyle form, her chest is void of nipples, for this is a PG-13 rated movie, and we just can’t stand for that sort of thing.

There are various, poorly staged 3-D battles between demons and gargoyles, and I honestly had no freaking idea what was really going on. I know the demons looked like they were wearing Halloween masks from a dollar store, and they were trying to fight for the journal of Victor Frankenstein for the recipe on how to reanimate humans. (I think one of the ingredients was coriander.)

As for the post-production 3-D: It is the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s a big mess, with the once-reliable Eckhart at its center.

Seriously: What the hell were the producers thinking when they set about making this thing? Putting a new twist on Frankenstein is one thing, but turning him into an ab-tastic ninja with a surly attitude, sexy scars and a snappy hoodie was a terrible idea.

I, Frankenstein is playing at theaters across the valley.

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