Why? Because its fun to laugh at. It's amusing to watch poor filmmaking, and to imagine what catastrophic controversies occured behind the scenes to allow terrible films like Van Helsing, Reptilicus, and Harpies to even occur. For the most part, I rarely talk about these films because I just don't have the passion to find them THAT interesting to discuss. It's only when a film is particularly awful that I feel the need to rant, like I did a few years ago for Adrian Brody's awful "SPLICE" movie from 2009.
Plenty of awful shit has come out since Splice. Battle for Los Angeles, the Paranormal Activity sequels, and james cameron's Avatar come to mind. But none of these films made me quite as upset as the film I'll be discussing tonight. Because I can usually find something good to say about any movie, no matter how garbage or smutty it may be. But not tonight. Not for this.
To start us off, since you haven't seen the film (like most people because it flopped very hard) here's the trailer:
You may notice it stars quite a few actors and actresses you've seen in other films. Respectable ones even. Considering how bad this movie's effects were, its pretty much a guarantee the production budget for the film went into paying the actors as their is no way any actor could read the script for this film and go 'this is good. i want to be in this.' so to get around that little speedbump, money talks.
So let's get right down to what's wrong with the film.
1.) A SECRET WAR BETWEEN GARGOYLES AND DEMONS
Any movie, novel, or comic that has the idea of a "secret war" is always doomed to be stupid in some form. Because the 'war' part of 'secret war' is very literal. There's always some large obvious brightly-colored disaster going on somewhere in these types of ideas. And the very notion that somehow human beings would never notice stuff like this happening for decades-or-hundreds-of-years is stupid.
You know why this worked in BLADE with Wesley Snipes? Because the 'secret war' was never a war. It was always a series of small skirmishes in the dark back alleys and warehouses of the city. No explosions, no massive monsters smashing through the town that everyone can see. It was all localized.
This doesn't work when it's not localized. In I, Frankenstein literally everything the Gargoyles and/or Demons do is loud, fiery, full of explosions, and often results in the destruction of a building that anyone can see for miles around. And somehow humans don't know about this? BULL. SHIT.
At least Men in Black had a good reason for people not knowing about the obvious events occuring around them with their memory wiping devices. I, Frankenstein is too smugly up its own butt to even try to have an explanation for that crap.
2.) GARGOYLES? DEMONS?
This movie is about how demons (sent by Satan) are on the earth. They don't actually do anything bad during the entire course of the film, I should add. We're told they're the antagonists at the start, but none of them actually do anything evil. The closest we get is a demon killing a police cop who tries to shoot him.
The demons are fighting Gargoyles. Yes, Gargoyles. Not angels, not some other heavenly being. Gargoyles, as in, man-made statues. Gargoyles, as in the human-carved spouts for water gutters that often adorn old churches and castles. Yes, THOSE gargoyles. Only now the Gargoyles carry ornate axes, gauntlet knives, katanas, and every other dumb weapon 13-year-old boys think is cool. The Gargoyles also transform into a group of very pretty afro-asiatic men in cloaks and armor. There's no reason for them to transform into this.
But that doesn't matter. What matters is that FRANKENSTEINS MONSTER is fighting GARGOYLES and DEMONS working for GOD and SATAN.
It's like someone made a roulette wheel and marked every slat with a mythical or legendary monster and tried to make a plot out of it.
"okay in this movie...uh lemme spin the wheel.....werewolves...and....minotaurs....are at war with.....banshees and they need the help of uh....lemme spin the wheel again.....they need the help of......changelings....to fight the....leprechaun empire."
And so I, Wee Folk was born.
3.) Dumb Practical Effects
I love practical effects. I love puppetry. It's why I'm excited for the new Abrahms star wars flicks. But one of the key reasons almost no scifi or fantasy movies use props or makeup effects anymore is because too often in modern times where nobody has any creativity, it ends up looking WORSE than cgi.
The demons in I, Frankenstein are as generic as possible.They are literally just human actors with a few dozen pounds of food coloring and polymers mashed onto their faces. With all the advances we've had in modern practical effects, one would think the filmmakers of today could make something REALLY COOL and unique with modern non-digital effects. APPARENTLY NOT.
4.) Even dumber CGI
As mentioned before the good guys in the film are the Gargoyles. They're also CGI, like many things in the film. And like every special-effects vehicle costing 60+ million dollars, the cgi looks worse than movies that are almost 20 years old now.
Gargoyles are statues. They were made to help irrigate water and also to scare evil spirits away from cathedrals and such. They also came in lots of different styles and designs depending on what the sculptor at the time thought would look best.
Chances are you've seen a gargoyle a few times in your life.
In modern day times, people still make and design gargoyles. And theres quite alot of very cool and unique designs out there.
You would think this would give the producers of I, Frankenstein a conceptual boner. Wanting to make the coolest monster they could, with lots of variations of it.
They couldn't even go through the trouble of maybe making the Gargoyles different shades of grey. They are all the EXACT SAME COPY AND PASTED MODEL WITH THE SAME TEXTURES. Because FUCK phenotypes and FUCK morphology. FUCK trying to make a movie look good.
On a final note about this awful Gargoyle, they all make snarling cat sounds. The sound editors for I, Frankenstein literally just downloaded some generic cat-growls and bear-growls sounds off the internet and used them because free public domain sounds. You will hear noises coming from these monsters that you've heard in other movies, videogames, and other monster movies.
Because that makes sense, right? A monster made of chiseled rock would make the same noise as a panther or a grizzly bear yeah? That's not stupid, correct?
5.) Him, Frankenstein
The movie starts almost similarly to the ending of the original Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein chases the monster he made out of sewn-together corpses into the frigid north. He ends up dying. In the book he dies on a ship, here he dies on a snowy mountain, his monster finds him and buries him.
In the book, Frankenstein's Monster is decribed as being a wretch. A corpse that walks. Thin, lanky, gaunt. Like a mummy. Thin. This is what makes the monsters obscene strength so frightening. The monster was never meant to LOOK strong or muscular or powerful. He was meant to be terrifying to behold. Scary to even GLANCE briefly at.
When Karloff played the monster in the original film, he was a big guy. (for you). But Boris was always a pretty strapping man. He had to remove medical parts from his own mouth to try to look more gaunt. But it didn't really help as, more than 80 years later, people still think of Frankenstein's monster as a large muscular square-headed monstrosity.
Not Frankenstein's Monster....FRANKENSTEIN.
Alot of people (people who have not read the book) believe the name of the monster is Frankenstein. But it's not. The monster had no name.
In I, FRANKENSTEIN, the queen of the Gargoyles named the monster Adam. The monster does not give a shit, mutters some one-liners and proceeds on his merry adventure of violence.
When Adam starts meeting the villains of the film, they start referring to him as Adam as well. Which makes no sense because his naming was in a private room in a cathedral. How did the villains learn he'd been renamed to Adam?
Worse still, at the end of the film everyone starts referring to him as FRANKENSTEIN again. He even calls HIMSELF the name Frankenstein. WHY?
To add insult to injury he doesn't even look like a monster.
He looks like this.
They couldn't even be bothered making him look like a corpse. They could have applied some slight color variations to the parts of his body meant to be sewn together. But no that'd require thinking. Instead we get Aaron Eckhart with the worst "i had stitches once" makeup effects ever on his very muscular body and lots of eyeshadow so he looks brooding and intense.
Which doesn't really matter because he says almost nothing throughout the film anyway.
Here's some choice bits of dialogue from the film to help you understand the kind of grim, edgy character they tried to make here. Imagine all these lines being said in a gravelly Christian Bale Batman voice, and you have Eckhart's performance here.
BLONDE SCIENTIST: I can give you answers, Adam
Frankenstein's Monster: I FIND MY OWN ANSWERS.
ANGRY GARGOYLE LEADER: God will surely damn you!
Frankenstein's Monster: HE ALREADY DID.
Frankenstein's Monster: I HATED HIM.
BLONDE SCIENTIST: Have you killed anyone else since then?
Frankenstein's Monster: ....ONLY DEMONS.
Inbetween these amazing bits of repartee, imagine lots of really bland fight scenes that look like they were cut from the Matrix. But what is one to expect from the brilliant minds who brought us UNDERWORLD and its many many sequels.
6.) Blonde Scientist Lady
Oh how quaint. There's two scientists in the movie working for the evil sub-Satan demon lord guy. And what a surprise, one happens to be an absolutely gorgeous blonde.
She's in the movie to be the love interest for Frankenstein's monster, and luckily the film runs out of time before setting that up. So we never see them kiss or do anything. Which is surprising, actually. They were probably going to save it for the sequel.
Blonde Scientist Lady is one of the characters we're meant to emphasize with but that all goes out the window when she is asked if she if familiar with Frankenstein.
To which she replies:
"Frankenstein is a myth. A story written to scare children."
MARY MOTHERFUCKING SHELLEY'S NOVEL, FRANKENSTEIN? A MYTH? A STORY FOR CHILDREN? A book so scary, its still scary 300 years after it was written? FUCK YOU Stuart Beattie. FUCK YOU Kevin Grevioux.
Not only did you manage to shit on the very concepts of the book itself. You managed to mock and shit on the book WITHIN THE VERY CONCEPTS you were already shitting on. YOU HAVE MADE AN INFINITE FRACTAL OF INCOMPETENCE.
YOU'VE CREATED A FILM SO DENSE IN ITS OWN STUPIDITY IT HAS COLLAPSED ON ITSELF AND NOT EVEN LIGHT OR GRAVITY CAN ESCAPE. ALL ONE CAN HEAR AS WE APPROACH THE EVENT HORIZON IS THE SOUNDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BEING FLUSHED INTO THE VAST TOILET.
WE'RE GOING IN....
IT'S FULL OF SHIT.
7.) The Villain is only a villain for his own underlings.
Bill Nighy, another competent actor, plays the bad guy in this film. A demon lord named Niberius. Like the rest of the demons, he does basically nothing villainous throughout the film. All he wants to do is get some dead bodies reanimated so that his other demon buddies stuck in hell have a corpse to possess. It is never explained in the film why this is a bad thing, or what the demons in this film's universe did that made them the bad guys.
That said, Niberius does something that only very poorly written villains do. He treats his men like shit. I have never understood why this cliche exists. It is old, stupid, and nonsensical.
- Niberius sends his men to capture Frankenstein's Monster
- Monster beats the absolute shit out of them, its obvious they cant win
- Niberius thinks this makes his men a failure despite the fact he sent them to out to fight with no armor or weapons because he is a dumbass
- beats the shit out of the one demon who makes it back from the fight who informs him what happened
- Later on, hides the bodies he plans to reanimate in the basement of the building he occupies
- Has no security system set up so literally everyone in the film ends up in the body-containment room at least once throughout the movie
How bad of a writer are you to write a villain who does shit like this and is meant to be threatening or scary. The "i'm so evil, i do bad things for the sake of it, fuck logic" ideal for villains is the kind of shit a child writes.
There is literally no motivation by Niberius to be bad, or do bad. At no point in the film does he even come across as a villain. He comes across as a very angry and stupid old man who just so happens to be a demon that wears a dress.
8.) What time period is this?
Frankenstein's monster comments early on during his gravelly and brooding exposition-pile of a monologue that he was created 200 years ago...which means that the time period for I, Frankenstein should be in the early 1900's. But it's not. It's modern day times. That said, despite being modern day, all the cars are vintage. All the houses and buildings look like they are from the days of King Arthur. And when we do see technology in the film (such as the device they use to bring a dead rat puppet back to life) it's all very futuristic.
Guns clearly exist. And guns are apparently scary enough to make a demon kill a police cop out of self-defense. Yet nobody uses guns. Even the demons who work in a large modern corporation and wear business suits and work with computers all day, have no guns.
Nobody uses guns. Instead everyone on the good guys side fight using old weapons. Axes, swords, blunt clubs and such. And the demons...the ones not stuck in the past....fight with...their hands?
Which would be cool if the demons showed some proficiency at hand combat but they dont. Basically every fight involves the demons flailing around with their arms being torn to fiery cgi-particle-effects bits due to the fact none of them carry weapons or means of defending themselves.
9.) Why Gargoyles?
Why not angels? If Satan in this film is confident enough to send his own men to fight on earth, why are there no angels to stop them? Why are man-made constructs humanity's only line of defense against the demons? Is it because the demons pose no real threat and this is the movie's own way of making fun of itself?
Is God watching and when an angel asks "maybe we should go down there and help fight satan?" the good lord chuckles and says "nah...i think aaron eckhart has a handle on it. btw buddha isnt answering my texts."
10.) Why Demons?
So...if the represntatives for heaven are man-made constructs, the Gargoyles...why don't the legions of hell have constructs?
Why not effigies? How cool would it have been to have Gargoyles fighting monsters made of sticks, straw, and pieces of murdered livestock and people? Instead of these ugly Ivan Ooze looking assholes who pose no threat to anyone in the film.
In the film they show that the manner of reanimating a corpse involves blasting it with electricity. Another cliche from the 1931 Boris Karloff film that never happened in the book. Early on they blast a franken-rat with 5000 jolts of electric shit and it pops back to life.
It's an instantaneous process. Which makes sense because lightning is nothing if not fast.
Yet later on, when the giant room of corpses ready for re-animation and demon possession get turned on...despite being in a pots-and-pans clockwork steampunk facility, they all have digital displays on their chests that say:
The fuck? So now reanimating a body requires charging it like a battery? Immediately you think "oh they're gonna stop the process in a heroic and tense way once the corpses get to 99% so the audience can breathe a sigh of relief" because thats such a popular cliche with countdown timers in shit like this.
NOPE. We never see those digital displays again for the rest of the film. And when the demons come exploding out of hell (?) underneath the basement of the laboratory, their possession of the corpses is instant as well, like the lightning.
In short: the movie has no sense of internal logic.
12.) OVER 60 MILLION DOLLARS
Why in the world would you hire the guy who wrote the G.I.JOE live action movie, the director of JOEY (the movie about the baby kangaroo from 1997) and the guy who made UNDERWORLD and writes on the awful cartoon show BEN10, and then give these two over 60 million dollars to make a movie about Frankenstein's Monster fighting demons.
Where did this money come from? What rich dumb asshole read the I, Frankenstein comics and script and said "this seems like a good investment" and funded this? Why would you EVER give money to someone who wrote for Ben10, HULK and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Young Justice? Three of the worst superhero cartoons to ever air? Why would you trust these two individuals to deliver a quality product?
13.) Aaron Eckhart needs to fire his agent
Aaron why? Why, man? Between this shit, Battle for Los Angeles, and Olympus Has Fallen surely at some point you realized you're starring in crap? Why? You're an amazing actor. You don't have to do this stuff man. Don't turn into Nicholas Cage 2.0. I don't think my heart could take it. I love you. Pls aaron.
Anyway, thats my long winding rant about I, Frankenstein.
A sane person didn't read all of that and is probably wondering if this movie was bad enough to even be worth such a long angry essay.
Yes it is.
Go on. Go rent, buy, or download the film.
Watch it for yourself. Go on.
I warned you.
I warned you all.
In happier news, Weebl uploaded the other Catface episode I made.
This one I made while my mouth was still full of blood and stitches from the surgery a month ago.
Luckily this one was very short.
And now I'm going to play some more Path of Exile.