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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 1, 2015

Victor Frankenstein Review: James Mcavoy In The Title Reason Is Enough Reason To See The Movie

‘VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN’ is the nth movie and latest reimagining of the story originally written as a gothic novel by Mary Shelley, told from the point of view of his assistant, Igor, played by Daniel Radcliffe. The way you view it on screen, it sometime looks like a bromance between him and Dr. Frankenstein, played by James McAvoy, reminiscent of what the last Sherlock Holmes movies did with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.

The first time we meet Daniel, he’s unrecognizable as a hunchback and grime-covered circus clown. He is treated as a misshapen freak, abused and bullied by everyone, and he’s secretly in love with a trapeze girl, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay, Lady Sybil of “Downton Abbey”). When he helps resurrect the unconscious Lorelei after an accidental fall during her trapeze act, Dr. Victor Frankenstein immediately recognizes that he’s a medical genius and helps him escape from the circus in a well staged action sequence.

Victor also helps to mend his deformed body, straightening it up, making him unrecognizable from his former self. He then becomes Victor’s assistant, given the name of Igor, in his experiments to create new life from stitched up body parts. But a devoutly religious Scotland Yard detective, Turpin (Andrew Scott, Moriarty in “Sherlock”), is pursuing them relentlessly to expose their “evil, sinful mischief”. It will later be revealed that Victor has his own personal motives for wanting to create new life.

Directed by Paul McGuigan (“Sherlock”), one of the reasons you should see this film is it spectacularly re-created period scenes of Victorian England. From the scenes at the circus to the streets scenes showing London’s skyline then, the production design is just lavish and stunning. The climax filled with pyrotechnics at the castle in Scotland where Frankenstein’s monster is finally created is also well conceived and executed.

Most of the actors give adequate performances but they all pale in comparison to James McAvoy who really chews the scenery in playing the title role. He just hurls himself into the part as he walks the line between mad scientist and genius doctor. He reminds us of the brash British actors of yore who acts with so much flair and flourish like Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole.

Beside him, the former Harry Potter is quickly overshadowed. He belongs to the list of former child actors who grew up to be vertically challenged, like Elijah Wood, Josh Hutcherson, and even Zac Efron. Jessica is such beautiful eye candy on screen and her role is obviously intended to give Daniel a love interest and not make the movie appear like a bromance between Victor and Igor. But there is another character, a rich medical student, who finances Victor’s experiment (Freddie Fox), who manifestly suggests a gay subtext.

And yes, this is not the last of Frankenstein movies. Last year, we had “I, Frankenstein”. Next year, we’ll have “The Frankenstein Code”. And so, Frankie goes on. And on.