After rewatching Victor Frankenstein for the fifth time I could recount some things that could be made better, but it took me five watches to notice anything to improve the movie. The rewatching wasn’t made for the purpose of finding the flaws to the movie, or to make a defence for it, it was for the pure joy of rewatching.
For me, it seems, it will become a movie for watching over and over again. I personally don’t have many of those in my drawer.
As usual, I was late to the party, so when I watched I went out to the internet to find did other people loved it as much as I did, and instead of like-minded peers found a sea of hatred for the movie.
Reading reviews didn’t give me a more substantial reason for this hatred but dislike for its galore, visuals and sounds. Expectations of the movie were different than the final outcome.
I had no preconceptions of the movie before watching it. Sure I watched enough takes on Frankenstein over the years, even got to read the book as I prepared SFerakon for the big 200 anniversary for the writing of the book.
The movie took me by the storm and it took me awhile to realise what I exactly love so much about it. I love its consistency, the psychology. The storytelling and unexpected turns in the narration.
I would say, after five rewatches, that the narrator can be cut without the movie losing any of its substance. In fact, it would be improved because it wouldn’t set the audience to great expectations from the differences in the plot.
The plot is presented tightly and neatly, every single detail is in its place. Everything is used. Finnegan could be introduced sooner, the detective should have been alive in the end continuing his pursuit.
But what I think audience disliked so much, setting aside loudness, bloodiness and not-so-big-changes, was a set of the general opinion about morals of the story.
People aren’t just expecting of Frankenstein to be a monster, but for it to be redeemed, loved, nurtured and saved. When I watched the movie for the first time I was thrilled but at the same time realised that the sentiment the movie is playing at is misdirected.
The audience is more aligned with attitudes of Lorelai and the detective than with Victor and Igor. Our general direction is that Frankenstein, the monster, populates animated movies like Transilvania, we expect of him to have a wife, comedic problems and develop in a childish manner. We don’t expect it to be a mindless creature with only desire to kill.
In the original, the monster is so angry at its creator that it hunts him down through the whole world just to kill him, but before that, it kills his fiance. And all that for the only one reason, because Victor dared to create it, and then to despise its unholy appearance.
When the book was written, it was a cautioning tale of messing with gods creation and Victor’s destiny is the one to serve as a warning example. Now, almost 200 years since its creation, we’re still not ready to forgive Victor his endeavours.
We forgive the monster all its victims, but not Victor’s defying the natural order and attempt at creating life on his own. The detective died and was descript in a way to portrait him as a villain, but he represents the audience more than Lorelai with her caution.
If the detective lived through his injuries, and the monster escaped to be chased, maybe the audience wouldn’t’ be so disappointed. After all, we live in the age which sympathises with monsters and justifies all sorts of killing.
In the end, I love that the movie is out there as it is. It gives me hope that Victor’s destiny isn’t so chilling and cold. If the monster lived we would know that it’s out there to kill Victor sooner or later. This way it gave out a window for all to happen anyway because Victor’s obsession will lead him to repeat his mistakes, but it can be seen as a way for him to do it differently.
As a part of the audience more on Victor’ side of things, a mad creator obsessed with his work, I love to see him survive to be able to fix his mistakes.
In the greater scheme of Frankenstein, stories would argue that this movie fits the book better than stories of cute Frankenstein bride with adorable grey strikes in her hair. I could say that the storytelling and characterization are compelling.
I love McAvoy and Radcliffe in their respective roles, they are sufficiently mad, but what captures me the most is the attention to detail. The world they inhabit is to tangible and alive, it just has the feel of the era. The usage of Sherlock’s crew was a bit too much, instead of thrilling it was distracting. Only after a few watches I forgot about their Sherlock roles and saw them as a part of the movie.
Besides all that, I just love the movie and I can watch it again and again, laugh and anticipate the small moves, but you can argue that I’m a mad genius looking in the mirror which reflects a reality where a dedication to your work turn into an obsession and blindness. So you can say that it is a cautioning story after all, at least for someone like me.
Not just from Victor’ side of the creator who goes against the mainstream, but also from Igor’s perspective of an aid, of a brilliance which puts itself into the service of the one he admires without being able to distinguish between the gratitude his saver deserves and obedience which was displaced.
That’s where I’ll end because I found what the movie gives to me. The dynamics between gratitude and obedience and the struggle in-between.