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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


Roger Davidson

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
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Of the two monster films reviewed this week, "Interview" comes off better than this. It is yet another remake of the classic novel and film of the same name. The story is basically the same. Frankenstein (Director-Actor Kenneth Branagh) brings a creature, stitched from separate human organs, back to life. He abandons the creature (Robert De Niro) after he figures it was a mistake to have made it and goes off to marry his distant cousin (Helena Bonham Carter). However, the monster starts to learn of how he was created and decides to track Frankenstein down. The entire story is told in flashback by Branagh on board a ship in the Arctic, where the monster has finally tracked him.

The film has its ups and downs. Thankfully, more ups than downs. One of the downs is that the romance between Branagh and Carter is treated more like a soap opera than an actual love affair. Another down is that the film's story goes by way too quickly, as if they're trying to hurry everything to the end. Still, the performances by Branagh and De Niro are good. De Niro plays the part of the monster quite well. A creature tormented by the world as an ugly evil being when he's only a lonely man searching for a friend or companion. The makeup job they did on De niro is excellent, capturing a creature that was truly stitched together. The lab sets are good too.

The film isn't a total disappointment. It has a good supporting cast such as Tom Hulce ("Amadeus") as Frankenstein's best friend, John Cleese in a surprising non-comic turn as Frankenstein's teacher and Aidan Quinn as the captain of the Arctic expedition. You should rent the old "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff and this version. Then you should compare them and see what you find. I prefer the old one to this one, though the new version does have a interesting plot that stays pretty close to the old story. Judge for yourselves.

My Rating = Three Stars

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