'Victor Frankenstein' [Blu-ray]
(James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, et al / Blu-Ray+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2016 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Superstars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe are electrifying in this action-packed thriller that breathes new life into the most famous horror tale of all time. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his trusted assistant Igor (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But when Victor s experiments go too far, his obsession has terrifying consequences, and now only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness... and save him from his monstrous creation!
Blu-Ray Verdict: Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor and James McAvoy plays Victor Frankenstein (not Fron-kin-steen, in a nod to Mel Brooks), and both actors seem to be doing everything possible to bring energy and enthusiasm to a movie that can't seem to decide if it's a reboot or a reimagining or simply an origin story. Radcliffe effectively uses his physicality as the circus clown who is so mistreated and misunderstood, and McAvoy is such a hyper-active mad scientist that I'm sure his fellow actors many times were inclined to advise "say it, don't spray it".
McAvoy does seem to be having a grand old time playing the brilliant yet unhinged young doctor-to-be, and to his credit takes a much different approach than Colin Clive when he gets to the infamous line "It's ALIVE!" The best parts of the movie are the intricate and amazing sets, the monster himself (albeit too brief), and the expert use of classical music and film score. The circus sets are colorful and active, while Frankenstein's soap factory home/laboratory is fascinating and creative, and the final Scotland castle on a cliff is breath-taking. Pulleys, chains and cranks are everywhere … as is an incredible amount of body parts, organs and fluids.
After a very well done circus opening, we are jarred with a seemingly out of place action sequence involving a slo-motion chase and fight scene that seems to be attempting to mimic some of the recent Sherlock Holmes movie stunts. Here they are unwelcome and ruin the flow. Another aspect that seems forced and unnecessary is a romantic interlude between Igor and a trapeze artist (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). It feels like an add-on to remind us that it's supposed to be Igor's story.
Additionally, Andrew Scott plays an intriguing Scotland Yard Inspector who is every bit as obsessed with his faith-based beliefs as Victor is with his science-has-no-bounds stance. A story told from the Inspector's perspective might have worked, but instead it comes across as another add-on. Another add-on is the filthy rich and very devious fellow med student (played by Freddie Fox) who agrees to fund the experiments, but mostly the character is an after-thought necessary to move the plot along. Wasted is the always menacing Charles Dance, who has but one scene as Victor's strongly disapproving daddy.
A combination of the romance, minimal role of Igor in the grand finale, the medical school bumbling, the clunky Inspector involvement, and the all too brief monster appearance makes the film all but impossible for viewers to connect. They tell us twice "You know the story … a crack of lightning, a mad genius, and an unholy creation", but the reality is, the fact that we know the story, makes this one all the more disappointing. It's fun to look at, but is lacking the depth and soul that has allowed Shelley's book to stand up over two centuries. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Deleted Scenes – Blu-ray™ and Digital HD Exclusive!
• The Making of Victor Frankenstein
• Galleries – Production Design, Production Photography and Behind-The-Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer
Own 'Victor Frankenstein' on Blu-ray on March 8th or Own It Early on Digital HD now!