Frankenstein (2004), starring Luke Goss as the most humanising vision of Frankenstein I have ever seen on screen is an accurate and highly entertaining portrayal of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. With only minor changes to the plot, but holding steady on her vision (Director) has given us a two part TV drama that gives us the story how it was meant to be. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein (Alec Newman) who is consumed by his thirst for knowledge and the pursuit of science. Whilst attending Ingelstadt University, inspired by Professor Waldman played brilliantly by William hurt Victor comes to battle the scientific reality of death itself. After raising his creation from the dead he is horrified at what he is created and overcome with fear. Abandoning his creation to face the perils of the world alone, with all the innocence of a child but strength of a monster Victor is forced to face the consequences of his arrogance. This Hallmark drama follows both Victor and the creature in their experience, as told to an old sea captain (Donald Sutherland), before he faces his final battle with his own creation.
Far flung from incarnations such as I, Frankenstein in which Frankenstein’s monster is caught up in a battle between Demons and Gargoyles, Kevin Connor’s Frankenstein gives us a battle of humanity, conscience and morality in which Frankenstein’s creation struggles in a world in which he is not meant to exist. Whilst Alec Newman and Donald Sutherland do themselves justice, Luke Goss, who’s performance stands out in this adaptation is excellent as the monster. Although his image is less gruesome than I imagined reading Mary Shelley’s book and far less horrific than commonly portrayed, the emotion, and indeed humanity he gives the part is outstanding. The dialogue in this film is interesting. Performed in a Victorian-esque manor it holds truer to the words written by Shelly, and contains many direct quotes. I appreciated the setting remaining in Europe rather than being moved to the U.S, the premise on which the film is built relies on an 18th century European obsession with the natural sciences and would do an injustice to have been moved.
The directing is simple for this film and there is nothing spectacular about this drama, but that’s what I liked about it. At times the film can feel stretched, and halted with some unnecessary scenes; which is a little disappointing but as you reach the conclusion of this 3 hour long story it feels vindicated. It is the understanding of the characters and their experiences that build this feature, not a series of lengthy battles. The lengthy scenes of dialogue and emotion help to build the viewer’s impression of their thoughts and motivation and internal struggle and whilst they may not be for everyone, they are perfect for some. This drama may not be a world beater, but it drew me in, and is an excellent example of how literary classics can be adapted for the silver screen without their essence being lost.
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