Igor / Frankenstein / Docteur Frankenstein
UK / Canada / USA 2015
John Davis, Derek Dauchy (executive), Ira Shuman (executive) for Davis Entertainment, Moving Picture Company (MPC)/20th Century Fox
directed by Paul McGuigan
starring Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Freddie FoxCharles Dance, Bronson Webb, Daniel Mays, Spencer Wilding, Robin Pearce, Andrew Scott, Callum Turner, Di Botcher, Eve Ponsonby, Will Keen, Louise Brealey, Nicola Sloane, Alistair Petrie, Neil Bell, Mark Gatiss, Guillaume Delaunay
screenplay by Max Landis, based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, music by Craig Armstrong, visual effects by Moving Picture Company (MPC), prosthetics by Millennium FX, Waldo Mason Effects
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Hunchbacked Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is the lowest of the low clowns at
a circus, but he's also a brilliant surgeon, spending all of his time not
on stage studying anatomy books. Then trapeze artist Lorelei (Jessica
Brown Findlay), Igor's secret love, has a terrible accident. Rather by
chance, Doctor Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) is in the audience and
tries to save the girl's life, but it's ultimately Igor who really
succeeds doing just that. This impresses Frankenstein very much, and thus
he frees Igor from the circus, but upon their getaway, a man is killed
through no fault of their own, and soon enough they've got Inspector
Turpin (Andrew Scott) on their trail, who's not so much looking for the
killer of some carny folk but for someone who collects animal parts for -
he suspects - some unholy cause ... and unfortunately, Frankenstein has
dropped a bag containing a lion's foot at the scene of the crime ...
At Frankenstein's lab, Victor soon heals Igor of his bad back and
immediately makes him his assistant, as their brilliance in the medical
science is pretty much equal, but Igor lacks Frankenstein's vision - and
thus he learns that Frankenstein actually tries to create a living being
out of body parts from assorted animals only much too late. Eventually,
they manage to bring one of Frankenstein's creations to life though in a
poorly attended demonstration at the university, and they manage to tickle
the interest of an investor, Finnegan (Freddie Fox), who agrees to support
them. After the demonstration is over though, Frankenstein's creature
turns evil and almost kills Frankenstein and Igor, and they only just
manage to kill it - which ultimately gets Inspector Turpin on their trail
again. But as of now, Igor and Victor still try to figure out where they
went wrong, and come to the conclusion that next time they have to create
a thinking being that can reason not to turn evil ... or something.
Anyway, they want to create a human, and Finnegan is fascinated by the
idea. However, the police close in on Frankenstein, and ultimately he and
Igor have to make a narrow escape ...
At Finnegan's, Igor has second thoughts of creating a human, so
Finnegan gets rid of him, trying to have him drowned, but he survives, and
Lorelei, the girl he saved back when and who has since become his
girlfriend, now nurses him back to health. Then it's off to Finnegan's
secret and remote lab, where Frankenstein is about to give life to his
creature - and ultimately Igor arrives to late, as Frankenstein succeeds,
but the creature isn't at all as benign as planned. And then Inspector
Turpin shows up as well, and the stage is set for utter chaos ...
Charles Dance makes a brief appearance as Victor's father.
For undisclosed reasons, this movie tries to tell the age-old Frankenstein
tale from hunchback Igor's perspective - only apart from the beginning,
Igor isn't Igor at all but a character who most closely resembles Henri
Clerval in Mary W. Shelley's source novel, Frankenstein's learned friend
and partner without his vision but higher moral standards, which leads to
the assumption that Igor is only Igor for the circus setpiece at the
beginning, to add some spectacle to the proceedings - and this is the main
fault of the movie, it derives the source material of all moral ambiguity
(also by creating a clearly identifiable baddie in Finnegan) but adds lots
of action, like fights and chases to the story - not at all unlike what
Guy Ritchie has done in Sherlock
Holmes a few years prior. So basically it just tries to be a
blockbuster, even if that means to hollow out everything that has made the
character so far. And it works even less here as basically the film lacks
any interesting characters, and while James McAvoy's Frankenstein is a
very decent portrayal, he lacks Robert Downey jr's charm to butter over
his character's emptiness. Likewise, Daniel Radcliffe's sorcerer's
apprentice character is too one-dimensional to connect with the audience.
And while most earlier versions of Frankenstein focussed on
the horror aspects of the material, which is only logical, this is a movie
that doesn't come across as creepy at all.
It's really a lost chance, as the film looks slick and obviously had a
decent enough budget to do the material justice - it just fails.