As you have no doubt read from the title this new take on the Frankenstein story has an actor who is well versed in playing duality, having played Two Face in The Dark Knight. Yes, Aaron Eckhart is the latest in a long line of actors to play this iconic role. Below is the official synopsis of the movie (via Bloody Disgusting).
[box_light]Set in a dystopic present where vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons rage in a battle for ultimate power, Victor Frankenstein’s creation Adam (Aaron Eckhart) finds himself caught in the middle as both sides race to discover the secret to his immortality. From the creators of the hit supernatural saga, Underworld, comes the action thriller I, Frankenstein, written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie based on the graphic novel “I, Frankenstein” by Kevin Grevioux, and brought to life by a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, Socratis Otto, Mahesh Jadu, Caitlin Stasey and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.[/box_light]
If the line “From the creators of the hit supernatural saga, Underworld…” doesn’t give you an idea of the tone of this movie, then you should probably go watch Underworld. Gone is the gothic tale penned by Mary Shelley and enter something which sounds suspiciously like Van Helsing. Hopefully it will be able to make a better attempt at giving a fresh spin on this tale than the above mentioned film did (which was a fun popcorn flick but hardly mind blowing). Here is the latest photo of Aaron as Adam the creature (via Bloody Disgusting again).
Gone is the lumbering creature made famous by Boris Karloff and enter a guy with a few stitch scars. This looks more like a fighter from a post apocalypse movie than the Frankenstein creature I remember from my youth. This would be fine if it was a design faithful to the book but just looking at the front cover of the comic you can see that Adam looks completely different. The comic book actually looks a lot more interesting.
Maybe I am being too harsh on this movie, but the Underworld style of film-making, with its obsession with weapons and slow-mo and flowing jackets, has run its course. Hopefully we will see something new here, but as little else is known about the film we have to hope it has some originality to it. What with Max Landis working on his own Frankenstein film (click here for more information on Daniel Radcliffe as Igor), maybe Frankenstein’s creation may become the new Vampire and Zombie for the horror genre.
This film has some stiff competition with films dating back to 1931, and with acting heavy weights like Robert De Niro, Christopher Lee and Benedict Cumberbatch all playing this monster made of other men’s flesh, Aaron has a lot to live up to. At least we know he can act the part, if the script will do him justice. Graphic novel creator Kevin Grevioux is on board so hopefully his vision will shine through even if his designs did not. The film is scheduled to be released on January 24th, 2014, so expect more information on this film to come. Below is the film’s artwork which does feel like a mix between Van Helsing and Underworld.
There will no doubt be mixed views about the THR news that Daniel Radcliffe is in final negotiations to play Igor, the famous hunchbacked assistant of Doctor Frankenstein. This is a tale that has gone through countless cinematic retreads and revamps since its inception by Mary Shelly all those years ago, and has even had successful theater runs, the most recent starring UK Sherlock star Bennedict Cumberbatch, and US Elementary star Jonny Lee Miller. But Igor himself was actually a cinematic creation and became immortalized in our minds because of great performances from the likes of Dwight Frye, Bela Lugosi and many more that all helped to create this hunchbacked helper.
Max Landis (Chronicle) is on writing duties, while Paul McGuigan (director of Lucky Number Slevin and Push) is at the helm to direct. Max’s own father John Landis (Blues Brothers, Thriller) is on hand in a producing role. So if nothing else this new version has some pretty good talent behind the camera. Max Brooks version of this tale is told from Igors perspective. Aint It Cool News has a great interview with Max about his plans. One of the more interesting things said was his plan to make the film a version we have never seen before.
[quote] “That’s when the idea came to me: instead of trying to do some high minded ‘revisionist’ Frankenstein, why not try to stay true to a version that only lives in the zeitgeist, and has NEVER REALLY EXISTED.
And why not do it in an intelligent, hopefully, thoughtful way, about friendship and science, genius and madness, love and ambition, life and death?
Why not use that imaginary, fairy dust framework of ‘guy with hunchbacked assistant makes monster’ and make it fun, sad, scary and hopefully, I really hope this, moving.” [/quote]
This seems like a really fun and maybe even more heartwarming version of the story than we have seen before. I doubt it will go as funny as Young Frankenstein, but this will certainly be an exciting version of the tale and this will make a change from the more downbeat versions we have seen in recent years.
On Igor’s appearance:
[quote]He is described as pathologically dirty, with long hair and wearing old clown clothes. (A circus tone permeates much of the project, according to sources.)[/quote]
So quite a departure from the clean cut Mr Potter, but still a great piece of casting if it all goes through. Ratcliffe has also pushed the envelope in the past, most famously on stage in Equus where he performed a nude scene. It is not uncommon for actors to want to break type (Jim Carrey and Elijah Wood have done it countless times) and it normally harbors interesting results. It should be fun to see how Daniel gets to grips with a more horrific, tormented character and how he interprets the circus feel this new Igor is alluding to. When you read about Max’s thoughts on Frankenstein you cannot help but feel his energy for the project. To see if it lives up to his plans we will have to wait, but a more refreshing approach to the tale could be just what movie fans are looking for.
One of the best parts about movies is, in my opinion, the costuming. Just think how important costumes are – would Daniel Radcliffe be Harry Potter without his glasses on, or would we even believe that Scarlett O’Hara was a selfish, upper-class Southern girl if she wore maid’s clothes? Heck, costumes are so important that they even have their own award at the Oscars.
First attempt to costume Bane…
That’s why when I saw The Dark Knight Rises in the theatres I actually spent a second or two investigating each new costume that appeared on the screen. I adored Selina Kyle’s classy, Audrey Hepburn-style dresses and accessories, that is when she wasn’t kicking ass in her (thankfully) full-coverage Catwoman disguise. However, what really piqued my interest was Bane’s entire ensemble and how much it horrifically reminded me of soldiers’ uniforms from central and eastern Europe during World War II.
Apparently, I was not too far in my thinking. In a recent interview with GQ, The Dark Knight Rises‘s costume designer, Lindy Hemming, said that the costuming department specifically looked for the type of military coats that people would wear in Eastern Europe or Northern Pakistan, “where [mercenaries] find military surplus and wear it” (GQ). Hemming also said that Christopher Nolan asked for Bane’s outfit to be a bit reminiscent of the French Revolution, so she tried to envision and create a coat that had a high collar which then bends back down. Finish Bane off with pants tucked into army boots and some heavy knee pads and you’ve got one scary-looking son of a bitch.
But what about Bane’s funky-looking belt and gas mask? That’s a good question. One that was apparently answered during the filming of the movie, and yet, all of those scenes were excluded from the final cut. Hemming expressed her disappointment in this decision and said that there was originally a lot more backstory for Bane.
In regards to his belt, she pointed out that it was a combination belt and back brace for whatever injury happened to his back to cause the scars we see. She said, “One of the fundamental things about his costume is that he has this scar from the back injury. Even if he hasn’t got the bulletproof vest on, he still has to wear the waist belt and the braces. In that scene in the prison, where he’s learning to fight the same way Batman learned to fight, he’s wearing an early version of his waist belt. It’s showing support, but it’s not the finished one he eventually wears” (GQ).
As for Bane’s gas mask, Hemming explained that one scene shot for the film clearly showed Bane being beaten by people while he was wearing an early version of his mask. She also said that there was an entire other scene to help clarify where the mask even came from, and why he has to wear it.
I believe it’s a shame that these scenes were not included in the final cut of the film because the clothes really do make the man. Without the information about why Bane wears a gas mask or a brace belt for his scars and back, he suddenly becomes a little less intimidating, and also a little less goal-oriented. Is what he’s doing in TDKR affected by more than the little bit of his past that was revealed to us? We don’t know and can’t know yet, but hopefully the producers will realize this aspect of Bane’s character is necessary for developing the overall story and legend of the Batman legacy and include these cut scenes as special features in the DVD release.
It’s extremely hard to escape a franchise as successful as Harry Potter. By escape, I don’t necessarily mean that the actors want nothing to do with the movies, but there comes a point where as an actor you’d like to do other things and sometimes well-received franchises limit an actor’s ability to do so. For instance, are people like Taylor Lautner and all the younger supporting actors from all the Twilight and Harry Potter movies ever going to have an actual career? The answer, in most cases, is no, probably not.
I can’t tell whether I want to see this movie because it looks legitimately good, or if it’s to see if Daniel Radcliffe can have a career after his decade long stint as Harry Potter. I think he can if he just doesn’t wear glasses again. Ever. There’s not an opportunity to really see him acting in this trailer, but he sure does a good job looking horrified….not that it counts for much.
Here’s a short plot description from the Jane Goldman written script:
Young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) leaves his son in London to settle the legal affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow. He discovers a series of inexplicable accidents and suicides have forced the parents of her village to barricade their children indoors, as if protecting them from an unseen foe. When Arthur stays the night all alone at the Drablow’s foreboding house, he hears the screams of a drowning child and sees decaying children listlessly wandering the marshes. He will soon discover these haunting figures share the same date of death, and the same killer.
Sounds pretty jacked up. But watch the trailer to get a real tingling down your spine:
Yeah, I hate that effin’ monkey with the maracas. He can go to hell. But this movie looks like it’s worth a watch. The movies have been saturated with a plethora of ghost/haunting movies since The Sixth Sense, and the majority have sucked it pretty hard. So let’s find out if the adaptation of Susan Hill’s 1983 novel of the same name is any good come 2012.
The series that sucked in the lives of millions of people worldwide has finally reached its conclusion. It’s not even the weekend yet, and the franchise has already pulled in a cool $126 million. Millions of fans dressed as wizards have crowded the midnight halls of local movie theaters for the last time. Some have been die-hard fans of the books (as I am), and some just wanted to see Voldemort bitch-slapped in his creepy snake face. Whichever the case, Warner Brothers turned out a final film that young and old, casual or die-hard fan, could sit back and enjoy.
The film opened exactly where the last one left off. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) had just buried Dobby at Shell Cottage and is preparing his strategy against Voldemort (who is off rifling through Dumbledore’s grave for the Elder Wand). Harry’s mission, left to him by the late Albus Dumbledore, was to hunt down Voldemort’s horcruxes (pieces of his soul left in inanimate objects to anchor him to immortal life) and destroy them. Up until this point, three of the horcruxes have been destroyed – Tom Riddle’s Diary in the Chamber of Secrets, Slytherin’s locket in Deathly Hallows Part One, and Marvolo Gaunt’s ring by Dumbledore. It has been assumed that Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces including himself, which would leave three left to be destroyed – Hufflepuff’s Cup, Nagini the snake, and an unknown object. Harry believes that one of the objects is hidden in the Lestrange family vault in Gringotts, the wizarding bank run by goblins.
We have also learned in the previous film the importance and identity of the Deathly Hallows. The Deathly Hallows were unspeakable gifts given by Death himself to the three Peverell brothers. The first brother was given the Elder Wand, which made whoever owned it unbeatable. The second brother was given the Resurrection Stone, which could temporarily bring back loved ones from the dead. The youngest brother was given a Cloak of Invisibility. Whoever owns all three becomes the Master of Death.
Here at Shell Cottage, Harry is given a choice. In one room is Griphook (Warwick Davis), a goblin who holds the key to breaking into the Gringotts vault to keep destroying Horcruxes. In another room is Ollivander (John Hurt), a wand maker, who holds all the knowledge he needs to retrieve the Elder Wand, the only Deathly Hallow not in his possession. In the end, Harry chooses his selfless mission over power, and gains the necessary knowledge from Griphook to break into the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).
After breaking in and destroying the horcrux (Hufflepuff’s cup), Griphook betrays Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) in order to steal the goblin-made sword of Gryffindor. They escape on the back of a dragon and end up in Hogsmeade. With the help of Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth (Ciaran Hinds), they make their way into Hogwarts to find the unknown Horcrux, which they believe is an object belonging to Ravenclaw. Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) suggests that the object is Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, a type of crown. Harry goes to the Grey Lady, the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly Macdonald), and she tells him where the diadem is hidden.
Harry retrieves the diadem but is met by Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and his goonies, one of which starts a raging fire. Harry saves Draco from the fire (why anyone would save that ferret-faced bastard is beyond me) and manages to destroy the diadem in the process. Ron and Hermione find their way down to the Chamber of Secrets to find Basilisk fangs (because, conveniently, basilisk venom destroys Horcruxes) and destroy Hufflepuff’s cup. And then, to celebrate, they start making out.
Meanwhile, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters have breached the defenses of the castle and are reigning their terror over the students and teachers. Voldemort, who is now in possession of the Elder Wand, realizes that the wand has not given allegiance to him. Believing that Snape had become owner of the wand during his murder of Dumbledore, Voldemort uses his snake to attack Snape. While Snape is dying, he places his tears in a vial and tells Harry to take them to the Penseive.
Harry does, and much is made clear to him through Snape’s memories. He discovers that Dumbledore was right to trust Snape, that all these years there was one very real reason Snape could not swear allegiance to Voldemort ever again – Snape was passionately in love with Lily, Harry’s mother, who was killed by Voldemort himself. Makes sense why he hated Harry so much, then, since Harry was supposed to have been the spitting image of his father (who looks like a math teacher apparently). He also discovered something much more heartbreaking – that he, Harry, was also a Horcrux, and he must also be destroyed in order for Voldemort to be defeated.
Harry then meets Voldemort in the forest, where Voldemort uses the killing curse on him. Harry is transported to a train station, an interim location between life and death, where he speaks with Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) about all that has happened. Harry is given the choice to move on to death, or to remain in life and finish the job he started, without the piece of Voldemort’s soul within him. So he returns; and with the help of new Hogwarts resident badass, Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), and his snake slicing skills, Voldemort is defeated! Hooray!
I try to have an open mind going into these films. If anyone out there is as into reading as I am, you know how disappointed you can be if the film deviates from the story you love. It’s natural. However, this film was as close as you can get to the line between following the story and making a good film in itself. I was pleasantly surprised that much of the script was lifted from the book itself, including most of Snape’s memories and the scene with Dumbledore at King’s Cross.
The pacing, the music, and acting were all perhaps the best I’ve seen in the franchise. There was so much that could have gone wrong in this, the culmination of this long beloved story, that it was refreshing to see the filmmakers do it right for a change. My one complaint is that this still felt like half of a movie, and there was little to tie in the story from Deathly Hallows Part One. I imagine the two will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray as one big film (taking a page from the consecutive style of Lord of the Rings).
There were several things I was worried wouldn’t translate to film, or wouldn’t be handled properly or glossed over. The first and most important being the heartbreaking story of one Severus Snape. Alan Rickman stole the show on this one. He owned that character. He had known before anyone, before the final few books were even released, what his character’s inner torment was and where his motivations lie. He brilliantly has managed to keep that knowledge a secret in his performance while still making it believable, so the film audience would be just as invested and just as surprised as those who had read the books.
My second worry was that the ending, the imminent downfall of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, would be glossed over and cheesy. However that, too, was given sufficient story-telling time and consideration. Although I didn’t really understand why Harry and Voldemort were flying through the air hugging each other, their duel was action-packed and interesting. There was enough time spent on the Elder Wand for the casual film-watcher to understand why Voldemort’s wand had failed him, although I missed Harry’s “Expelliarmus!”
The third and final worry of mine was their treatment of the epilogue at King’s Cross station, and how they were going to make a group of kids in their late teens and early twenties look like real live grownups. With a little CGI and a little makeup (though none for Emma Watson, apparently), they managed to look….ALMOST right. I thought Draco Malfoy was the worst; he looked like the star of the school play. But it was cutesy, it provided closure, and it was just as weird and awkward as it was in the book.
All in all, I really enjoyed the film. It has that little something for everyone – intrigue, action, drama, and romance. The story is much darker than the others, even in the books, and provides for less comedy which is unfortunate. And with all the important people who died (albeit, without death scenes), it makes for a huge downer at times. But that’s war, and that’s life sometimes.
I give the film 4 bears (it was 4.5, but I deducted the .5 for the lack of Jim Broadbent)!