Victor Frankenstein review

The monster gets short shrift in this retelling of the horror legend, only appearing at the climax. This effort is aimed more at the younger crowd and details the relationship between the mad doctor (McAvoy) and his accomplice Igor (Radcliffe), whom he rescues from a circus and quickly makes his partner in conducting experiments after curing his physical disability.

The opening sequence set in the circus, with the two bonding and swiftly evading the nasty ministrations of violent ringmaster Mays, is arresting enough but what follows is stodgy and unexciting. McAvoy's appealingly energetic performance is engaging up to a point, but he begins on such a high note of mad-eyed intensity that it leaves little room for him to develop as the cliched tale plods along. Scott makes the best impression as the determined detective out to prove Frankenstein's methods are law breaking, his quiet extremism a welcome contrast to McAvoy's in-your-face theatrics. Radcliffe is fine as the initially crippled clown given a new meaning in life and serving as a pragmatic foil to his overzealous benefactor. Brown Findlay as his love interest isn't required to do much other than look demure.

Production values are all of a high order, the CGI conjuring up nice overhead shots of Victorian London and gothic splendour is agreeably displayed in Frankenstein's laboratory as well as at the castle where the monster awakens. Said monster is resolutely unfrightening though so the chaotic danger that befalls the main characters at the climax proves to be a damp squib. Overall, Victor Frankenstein is a misfire in much the same way that Kenneth Branagh's version was 21 years ago – overblown and bombastic while never gripping nor compelling.

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