It’s time for an even older film. Frankenstein is a monster who grew very popular and actually has a lot of fans. Just look at how many films this guy has. It’s quite unbelievable since I’m not a fan of the series by any stretch of the imagination and it’s hard to see how any movie of it could ever be good. I dunno, it just doesn’t have much potential. This one isn’t that bad for most of the film, but it is very boring. There is also one scene which destroys the film and it couldn’t recover from that.
By now, you know the story. Doctor Frankenstein decides to build a monster. Elizabeth, Victor, and a nice old Professor decide to visit Frankenstein to tell him to stop this foolishness. Surprise surprise, he decides to go ahead with the experiment anyway. Frankenstein’s monster is born and now he wants to destroy everyone all around the world. Welllllll, that may not be his total goal, but effectively it is what he is doing. Can the villagers tale this guy down before he harms anyone else?
The monster is supposed to be a sympathetic character typically because everyone treats him really badly and he can do nothing right. The problem here is that this is impossible to do. He murders a little girl and well….you can’t come back from that. The film couldn’t come back from it either. It was a really dark scene that had no place in the film. If she had swam out after he left or been rescued, then it would be fine. Drowning just like that? Nah, that scene was terrible.
Even beyond that, the monster’s just never been an interesting character. He basically invented the strong, but not very smart trope. Not that the other characters were much better. Frankenstein’s the one who caused this whole mishap in the first place. He shouldn’t have tried to build Frankenstein and create life. It was never going to work. The other Doctor doesn’t do much of anything and ends up being more of an observer than anything else. Victor talks tough and tries to stand on even ground with Frankenstein, but when he is told to sit down…he obeys. Elizabeth tries to reason with Frankenstein the whole time, but it is ultimately futile. She never really had an effect on him so there bond wasn’t really all that strong. He would have left them out in the rain if they hadn’t forced the issue by knocking over and over again.
One other issue with the film is that it’s just very boring. The scenes drag on and on and on despite the film being fairly short. By the second half, you’ll start to wonder just what happened. The first half isn’t all that bad. The characters go to the creepy tower. There are some debates. Frankenstein is revived. After that? The film just loses all direction as the monster goes around getting burned by old, blind people and attacks others for no real reason. It’s supposed to be humorous to see Frankenstein get burned and I suppose it was handled better than some of the other plots, but it still wasn’t all that good.
There’s not much more to say about this film because it is the same old Frankenstein story that you have seen a million times. It is the original though so I suppose it isn’t totally fair to call it old. One thing that could have helped the film a little bit would have been to have the monster talk. If he could actually exchange dialogue with the others, then it would at least make the film more interesting. After all, the writing during this time was solid enough where even Frankenstein would have sounded distinguished. It may have been a little tough to swallow, but it beats the alternative. It does make you wonder what would have happened if the proper brain had been given to the monster. I suppose the film would have been more of a slice of life at that point though so it may be moot.
If I have to name one positive thing about the film, it’s that it ages well. At least as far as the effects and cinematography go. It came out before the Wax Museum and yet it definitely looks newer and more polished. That may be more of a shot against the Wax Museum though. Hmmm…even my complements for Frankenstein turn into negatives. What can I say, the concept of Frankenstein is just terrible in my opinion and I don’t see how anyone could turn it into an engaging film without completely rewriting the plot. It just cannot be done I’m afraid. Even Dracula is more engaging as a film and as a character. Just conceptually, I’d rank the popular monsters from best to worst as: Dracula>>Mummy>>Werewolf>>Frankenstein. The Werewolf is close though as that plot isn’t very interesting either. There just isn’t much to it. A guy turning into a monster that looks like a human? Seriously…
Overall, Frankenstein is a more tasteful film than the last Frankenstein adventure that I saw, but not by much. Seriously, the little girl scene leaves a bad taste in your mouth and easily takes off 2-3 stars by itself. I don’t see any reason why you should want to watch this film either as it will just bore you out of your mind. By the end you aren’t even sure who to root for. The angry villagers, the Monster, Frankenstein…or nobody. Regardless, you’ll endure the climax, but I’m sure that the TV will be shut off almost immediately afterwards. If you want to see a good Frankenstein film, then I recommend I Frankenstein. To this day, it’s the only good Frankenstein film. I don’t count films where he just happens to appear as a few more would join the list then. I Frankenstein is a very loose adaption of the mythos, but that’s part of why it is good. Trust me, you can’t go wrong there.