I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein is a 2014 American science fantasy action film written and directed by Stuart Beattie, based on the digital-only graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. An international co-production between the United States and Australia, the film was produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Andrew Mason and Sidney Kimmel. It stars Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto and Jai Courtney. The film tells the story of Adam, Frankenstein's monster, who embarks on a dangerous journey to stop evil demons and their ruthless leader from taking over the world.

I, Frankenstein
A man stands on top of a gargoyle as winged demons fly in a gloomy sky with a castle in the background
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStuart Beattie
Screenplay byStuart Beattie
Story by
Based onI, Frankenstein
by Kevin Grevioux
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyRoss Emery
Edited byMarcus D'Arcy
Music by
Production
companies
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • January 24, 2014 (2014-01-24) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes [2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$65 million[3]
Box office$76.8 million[3]

The film was released on January 24, 2014, in the United States and on March 20, 2014 in Australia. The film received negative reception and grossed $76 million worldwide against a production budget of $65 million.

PlotEdit

In 1795, Doctor Victor Frankenstein creates a monster by putting together parts of corpses and reanimating them. Horrified by his creation, Frankenstein tries to destroy it, but the monster survives and murders his wife Elizabeth. Frankenstein chases it to the Arctic, but he succumbs to the cold weather. When the monster returns home to bury Frankenstein, it is attacked by demons, but is then rescued by two gargoyles, Ophir and Keziah. They bring it to a cathedral, where the monster meets the gargoyle queen Leonore and her second-in-command Gideon. Leonore explains that they were created by the Archangel Michael to battle demons on Earth and protect humanity. She names the creature "Adam" and invites him to join them, but he declines and chooses to depart. He is given baton-like weapons to protect himself, as more demons will come after him. The weapons allow him to "descend" demons (destroying their bodies and trapping their souls in Hell) as they have the symbol of the Gargoyle Order carved on them.

For the next two hundred years, Adam lives apart from society, killing any demon that pursues him and hiding from them. Deciding to rejoin society in the modern-day, Adam looks for and confronts a group of demons. During the fight, a police officer is accidentally killed. This causes Adam to be summoned by the gargoyles once more and they decide to imprison him as punishment. A demon Helek, who survived Adam's attack, reports to his leader, the demon prince Naberius, that Adam is alive. Naberius has disguised himself as billionaire businessman Charles Wessex and employs scientists Terra Wade and Carl Avery to conduct experiments to try to reanimate corpses. He sends a group of demons led by his most formidable warrior, Zuriel, to attack the gargoyles' cathedral and capture Adam so he can unlock the secret to resurrecting the dead.

In the attack, many demons are slain and 16 gargoyles, including Ophir and Keziah, are "ascended" (returned to and trapped in Heaven), but Zuriel sneaks in and captures Leonore and takes her to an abandoned theater. Adam interrogates a demon who tells him that they lured the gargoyles out in order to capture Leonore so they can force the gargoyles to trade Adam for her. Gideon is instructed to trade Adam to them, however, Adam escapes after the attack. Without Adam, Gideon instead offers to trade Frankenstein's journal for Leonore, which was found on Adam's body on the night they found him. At the theater, Gideon gives Zuriel the journal and Leonore is spared. Adam follows Zuriel to the Wessex Institute, where he discovers thousands of corpses underground and learns that Naberius plans to recreate Frankenstein's experiment by reanimating the corpses and using them as hosts for the descended demons so he can rebuild his armies and destroy humanity. Adam retrieves the journal from Terra and escapes the demons. He later tracks down Terra and asks for her help. The two are then attacked by Zuriel, where Adam fights him and manages to descend him.

Adam warns the remaining gargoyles of Naberius' plan, agreeing to give them the journal if they get him and Terra to safety. Leonore agrees and when Adam leaves, she secretly sends Gideon to kill him after he retrieves the journal. After a violent fight, Adam ascends Gideon and then decides to burn Frankenstein's journal and destroy its secrets before the gargoyles come after him. Luring them out of the cathedral, Adam leads them to the Wessex Institute, where they descend Naberius's right-hand man Dekar and then battle more demons. In the ensuing battle, Adam goes into the institute to rescue Terra, who had been kidnapped by Naberius and forced to begin the process of reanimating the corpses. Naberius overpowers Adam and tries to have one of the demon spirits possess him, but it doesn't work because Adam has developed a soul of his own. Adam carves the Gargoyle Order symbol on Naberius, descending him to Hell. The institute collapses and falls into an abyss, where all the demons and all the possessed corpses are destroyed and Naberius' plan is thwarted. Leonore rescues Adam and Terra from falling into the abyss as well and they return to the cathedral.

Leonore forgives Adam for Gideon's death and Adam bids farewell to Terra. In the ending scene, Adam narrates that he will continue defending the world from demons as he declares himself “Frankenstein.”

CastEdit

ThemesEdit

One key issue is whether Adam was a monster or a man. That was partly reflected in the choices different characters made throughout the movie to refer to Adam as either him or it. At one point, Dr. Wade delivered the key line, "You're only a monster if you behave like one."

The director has said Adam earned a soul when he burned the journal, selflessly giving up his chance at a mate in order to save mankind. He said when he talked to audiences, they understood that Adam had earned a soul over the course of the movie, but different people had different ideas about what specific thing caused him to earn a soul.

At first Queen Leonore had hoped that Adam would gain a soul. But near the end of the movie, when he refused to help the gargoyles fight the demons, the director says Queen Leonore decided Adam would never gain a soul, and that's why she ordered Gideon to kill him. At that point, everyone was against him, which is similar to the sort of isolation from the original Frankenstein story.

The director said the archangels sent Adam to the gargoyles, in response to Queen Leonore asking them for help. He says that a lot in life, when you get what you need/hoped for, you don't recognize it.[4]

ProductionEdit

Kevin Grevioux of Underworld sold the original screenplay to Lakeshore Entertainment in 2010.[5][6][7] It is based on his Darkstorm Studios digital graphic novel of the same name.[8][9] Lakeshore, an independent Los Angeles production company which also produced the Underworld films, brought Stuart Beattie on board to re-write and direct in early 2011.[10] In November 2011, it was confirmed that filming would take place in Melbourne and that Australia's Hopscotch Features would co-produce the film with Lakeshore.[11] The movie's visual effects budget was $6 million.[4]

It was announced on October 7, 2011 that Aaron Eckhart would play the lead role.[12] Eckhart described his character thus: "Frankenstein is an intelligent, evolved man, and that’s how he is portrayed in this movie, for sure."[13] In November 2011, Yvonne Strahovski was cast as the female lead, a scientist working to reanimate the dead, while Miranda Otto was cast as the queen of the gargoyles.[14] Bill Nighy plays the film's villain, whom he described as a "Nasty piece of work; one of the angels descended with Satan."[15] Eckhart and Otto trained for three months with martial arts experts Ron Balicki and Diana Lee Inosanto in the Filipino martial art of Kali for their fight scenes.

Principal photography began on February 27, 2012,[16] based at Docklands Studios Melbourne.[17] Filming occurred in Victoria, Australia over a period of ten weeks, with multiple scenes being filmed at Ormond College.[17] The film created over 500 jobs for cast and crew.[17]

ReleaseEdit

The North American release was originally set for February 22, 2013,[18] and later moved to September 13, 2013.[19] In April 2013 the release date was pushed back again,[20] and saw its world premiere in Buenos Aires on January 20, 2014, after which it was released in 23 countries between January 22 and January 24. It was released in a further nine countries between January 29 and January 31.[21] In February 2013, it was announced the film would be released in 3D.[22] On September 17, 2013, it was announced that the film would be digitally re-mastered and released in the IMAX format.[23]

Home mediaEdit

I, Frankenstein was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 13, 2014.[24]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 5% approval rating based on 104 reviews, with an average rating of 3.24/10. The site's general consensus is: "Loud, incoherent, and dramatically listless, I, Frankenstein is a remarkably dull fantasy adventure that fails to generate much excitement or interest in its characters."[25] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 30 out of 100, based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[26] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A to F.[27][28]

Mike McCahill of The Guardian gave the film 2 stars[29] and Total Film also gave it 2 stars. Among the film's five positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes was Ben Sachs, who said of the film "The novel premise quickly gives way to lots of chaotic action, though there are numerous incidental pleasures throughout."[citation needed]

Box officeEdit

In the United States and Canada, the film was released in a total of 2,763 theaters of which 3D and IMAX comprised 95% of the total theaters. It earned $8.6 million in its opening weekend, which was below expectations. About 65% of the grosses came from 3D showings.[28] It had a successful opening in Russia with $6.3 million from 1,846 screens.[30] At the end of its theatrical run, the film grossed a total of $19 million in North America and $57 million elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $76.8 million surpassing its $65 million budget.[3]

Potential sequels and Underworld crossoverEdit

Much doubt has been cast over a sequel due to the film's lackluster box office performance, though Kevin Grevioux, creator of the graphic novel and the Underworld film series, had earlier expressed interest in making more I, Frankenstein films along with an Underworld crossover film. He stated in a pre-release interview that, in an early draft of his screenplay, Kate Beckinsale would have made a post-credits cameo appearance as Selene and that there would have been Underworld Easter eggs, but none of this was used.[31]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "I, Frankenstein". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "I, Frankenstein (12A)". Entertainment Film Distributors. British Board of Film Classification. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "I, Frankenstein". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  4. ^ a b The director's commentary on the DVD.
  5. ^ "I, Frankenstein Lives at Lakeshore". ComingSoon.net. February 1, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Scrietta, Peter (February 1, 2010). "Lakeshore Greenlights I, Frankenstein". /Film. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "Kevin Grevioux reveals the secrets of I, Frankenstein". Blastr. April 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "I, Frankenstein Franchise Coming At You From Lakeshore". Dread Central. February 2, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Miska, Brad (February 2, 2010). "Lakeshore Eyes New Franchise With I, Frankenstein". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (March 28, 2011). "Stuart Beattie to Write and Direct 'I, Frankenstein' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  11. ^ Craven, Jessica (November 9, 2011). "Gothic thriller I, Frankenstein to be filmed in Melbourne". Herald Sun. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (October 7, 2012). "Aaron Eckhart to lead 'I, Frankenstein'". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  13. ^ Radish, Christina (October 14, 2011). "Aaron Eckhart Talks I, FRANKENSTEIN". Collider. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (November 17, 2011). "'Chuck' Star Yvonne Strahovski to Play Scientist in 'I, Frankenstein' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  15. ^ McEwan, Cameron K (February 21, 2012). "Bill Nighy talks I, Frankenstein". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  16. ^ Frater, Patrick (February 27, 2012). "I Frankenstein starts shoot". Film Business Asia. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c "Gothic thriller starts filming in Melbourne". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "Another Glimpse at Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein". Dead Central. April 19, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "I, Frankenstein Moves to September, Snitch Takes Its February Spot". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  20. ^ Chitwood, Adam (April 2013). "Release Date Shuffle: I, Frankenstein Pushed to January 2014, Insidious 2 Moved Up, Austenland Set for 8/16, Walk of Shame Opens 9/20/". Collider.com. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  21. ^ IMDb: I, Frankenstein - Release Info Linked 2014-03-30
  22. ^ Vlessing, Etan (February 12, 2012). "Lionsgate's I, Frankenstein to Receive 3D Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  23. ^ Canada NewsWire (September 17, 2013). "Lionsgate and Lakeshore's I, Frankenstein Rages into IMAX Theatres Across the U.S. Starting January 24, 2014". Digital Journal. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  24. ^ "I, Frankenstein 3D Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  25. ^ "I, Frankenstein". Rotten Tomatoes. January 24, 2014.
  26. ^ "I, Frankenstein". Metacritic. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  27. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Anita Busch (January 27, 2015). "BOX OFFICE: 'Ride Along' & 'Lone Survivor' One-Two Punch For Universal; 'Nut Job' No. 3; 'I, Frankenstein' Not Alive". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  29. ^ "I, Frankenstein – review". the Guardian. January 30, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  30. ^ Anita Busch (January 27, 2015). "International Box Office UPDATED: 'Frozen' Crosses $800M Worldwide; 'I, Frankenstein' Strong In Russia; Battle Underway In China For No. 1". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  31. ^ Philbick, Jami (January 21, 2014). "IAR Exclusive Interview: Kevin Grevioux Talks I, Frankenstein, A Possible Sequel and Crossover with the 'Underworld' Franchise". I Am Rogue.com. Rogue. Retrieved February 28, 2014.

External linksEdit