Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter,
Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm
1994, 128 Minutes, Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Is Frankenstein science fiction or is it horror?
fans would like to claim it as their own, but many science
fiction commentators (including Brian Aldiss) credit this early
nineteenth century novel as being one of the first (if not the
first) science fiction novels.
Without getting into an argument
here about what constitutes science fiction and what doesn't, the
fact remains that the plot device of man creating artificial life
is one employed in many films (take the Replicants in Blade
example) and books usually regarded as science fiction.
that out of the way, let's get on with the review: Brannagh's
version of this old and familiar tale dispenses with many of the
old clichés. The monster doesn't have an enormous bolt that
keeps his head attached to his body like Boris Karloff did in
those old black & white movies we all know from late night TV
showings. In fact, if ever anybody were to create a person by
stitching him together from other people's body parts, then this
is what it would look like.
while Brannagh can dispatch with many clichés, his film is still
victim to them. One cannot really watch the film without
remembering Mel Brooks' excellent Young Frankenstein
satire and thus it is at times difficult to take the film truly
serious. However, the film takes itself very seriously. There are
some pretty bizarre moments in the film (Brannagh dancing with
the resurrected-from-the-dead Helena Bonham Carter who is, excuse
the pun, as dead as ever) that will strike as either being
suitably grisly or just plain silly. I vacillated between the two
emotions throughout the movie.
this day I still cannot really say whether I actually liked this
movie. It has its moments, but ultimately the film drags on for
too long and one really cannot get visions of Young
Frankenstein out of one's mind.