Thursday, April 24, 2014

Frankenstein

The summer blockbuster movies are nearly here.  There are a few I'm sort of looking forward to, however, I always read the reviews first before I pay at the box office.  The ones I'm most curious about are The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Jupiter Ascending by the Wachowskis, X-Men: Days of Future Past,  and Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise.  I'm also looking forward to How To Train Your Dragon 2, as I enjoyed the first one quite a bit, but will wait for the DVD.  Also Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which I'll probably wait for a DVD release as well, depending on reviews.  I'm also curious about that Guardians of the Galaxy film.

You can check out more about the movies above at the  i09 website

Yesterday I read the first issue to the comic book series by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night creator) and Bernie Wrightson (artist), Frankenstein Alive, Alive!  It was really pretty good and quickly captured my interest to read more from the series.  It is currently on it's third issue, which was just released recently.
 First off I've always admired Bernie Wrightson's artwork, and in this book, most of it is done in black and white, which really helps to showcase it.  Some of the panels are done in a blue monotone flourish, which also helps to make the artwork pop in panels.  The story was pretty interesting as well, starting off with the monster not being dead, yet still fatalistic and wanting its deliverance from the living.  It knows it does not fit in with life and will never fit in until it finds work at a carnival in a sideshow.  Here it finds a small, yet simple lifestyle among other freaks of natures.  The comic also has an interview between both Stiles and Wrightson on when they both discover Frankenstein as young kids, and their views on the different films in which the monster starred in from the Universal films to the Hammer ones, and also about other monster lore as well.  There is also an excerpt of the beginning of the Mary Shelley novel, for those interested in reading that.  It's a nice extra, I'll admit, particularly for those curious and have never read the classic novel, but a tad bit overkill, and really, I wanted to see more of the original comic series.  But I guess that's a positive on how well the comic drew me into it.  Anyway looking forward to more of this series.  It'll probably be collected in a graphic novel as well at some later date so you can always wait for that format as well.
After I had watched a bit of TV, I was still in a mood for more Frankenstein, so popped in the 1992 movie, Mary Shelley Frankenstein DVD.  It's directed by Kenneth Branagh, and has a pretty good  cast including, Branagh, Robert De Niro as the creature, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, and even John Cleeese as well.  I really don't remember how this was received by the critics at the time of release, but I've always enjoyed it for its atmosphere, being fairly close to the original novel and getting the right tone.  The cinematography is pretty captivating as well.  I was surprised while re-watching it that the first act of the film was pretty loaded with soundtrack music, not that I minded as there is a lot of action during these scenes so there's not much dialog, and the music worked pretty well, and again goes along with the feel of the film.  Overall I think Branagh and the screen writer, Steph Lady did a good job of capturing the story, which overall is a tragedy and also a love story.  They got the right sympathetic feeling for the monster and also for Victor Von Frankenstein. 







2 Comments:

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Yeah this summer looks like there are some good movies coming our way. My wife is even excited about seeing the "Godzilla" movie in the theaters, which I wouldn't have called. :)

Branaugh's take on "Frankenstein" is an interesting beast. It came out after Coppola's "Dracula" and was supposed to be followed by a wolfman movie. Universal was trying to revamp their classic monsters. This all lead up to the "Mummy" franchise with Brendan Frasier too.

Anyway, up to this point Branaugh had been on a winning streak. Nearly all his films were critically acclaimed and made their money back: "Henry V", "Dead Again" and "Much Ado About Nothing". But "Frankenstein really rubbed critics the wrong way and audiences were expecting more horror in their horror film, and less gothic melodrama. I saw this film in the theaters and you could tell people were not getting into it.

Then Branaugh angered the literary purists, who hated what he did with the fate of Elizabeth. It isn't in the book, and the rest of the film was pretty faithful to the book up to that point (even including the arctic adventurer book ends).

As a whole the movie is a bit much in places. But Branaugh is very theatrical, and I think he was just going full bore with this. He did a similar approach with his version of "Hamlet" too. This film never quite pulls me in, but I really appreciate it all the same. The music is something else, powerful, bombastic and disturbing in parts. Patrick Doyle really crafted something that was a perfect fit for the film. Not an easy listen, but one that has moments of great beauty and pure horror. This one is always on my ipod around Halloween. :)

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Roman, I didn't know how Frankenstein was received at the time. I seemed to recall it did get mixed reviews. I didn't mind that he killed off Elizabeth (an homage to Bride of Frankenstein?) or changed things here and there, it's still a closer feel for the book than say the Universal Frankenstein or the Hammer versions, but I enjoy them as well too.

The movie does get a bit bombastic at times, but it's a watchable film if in the mood. I wondered how it would have turned out if he'd gone strictly by the book.

I didn't know that about the remaking the Universal monster films. I don't guess the last Wolfman movie with Hopkins and del Toro counts :) Again it sort of misses the mark, but I enjoyed it on some level. I actually didn't mind The Mummy too much either, but it got a bit too manic and comical overall, sort of reminded me a bit of trying to be like Indiana Jones or something.

I do hope the Godzilla is at least pretty good.

 

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