Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) Movie Review

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This is what happens when a studio lets a director do whatever they want. Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Dead Again), has really lost his mind on this one. Frankenstein is a bloody mess (in both artistry and gore-level) and is extremely difficult to watch.

Frankenstein is supposed to be a story of a scientist (Branagh himself, in this adaptation) obsessed with reviving the dead. Branagh must have had some pages missing from his copy of Mary Shelley's book--it seems like there are large chunks of movie missing here and there. The dialogue is silly, the plot is convoluted beyond the normal Hollywood trashing of literature, and the characters are contradictory and really pretty stupid for educated Swiss aristocrats.

Fortunately, Robert de Niro's portrayal of the monster is realistic--almost too realistic. He's really the only character whose motivation is understood, especially considering the script doesn't give him much to work with. As with any Branagh movie, the sets and costumes are nice, (if unrealistic for the circumstances, but still nice), and Helena Bonham Carter, as Frankenstein's fiancee, is always a treat to watch.

Frankenstein is butchered far worse that 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula was. It's easy to see why Francis Ford Coppola gave up the reins on what was originally supposed to be a trilogy of Gothic Horror. I wouldn't count on a third installment, by any director. The film may hold some mystique for big Mary Shelley fans; otherwise pass on this one.

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1994

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