Everyone has heard the tale for Frankenstein and his monster. The tale has been told and retold for quite some time now. The perspective tends to be from either that of the good doctor or the monster himself. Victor Frankenstein takes a different viewpoint on this old story.
The viewpoint that is presented in this retelling is that of Igor. Where in tales prior, Igor is an assistant of little wit or discernment, he is an equal of the good doctor in this movie. Daniel Radcliffe takes up the role of the put upon Igor in this tale of science gone mad. Instead of a creature that is to be ridiculed and maligned we are given a gentle genius that knows no other way to live than to be the whipping boy at the bottom of the ladder in the circus. He is actually a hunchback with no name that tends to the ills of the circus folk as the hospitals of the time are places where people die more likely than recover.
It is while Victor is at the Circus to procure animal parts for his experiments that he chances to watch as our nameless hunchback comes to the rescue of his angel on the trapeze after she falls. His reward for saving the damsel’s life? To have his books destroyed and to be locked in a cage like an animal. Victor recognizes the diamond in the rough and returns to the circus to rescue the nascent Igor. This rescue becomes a critical scene which can be seen played out through the rest of the movie. Once the pair are safely ensconced in Frankenstein’s apartments, Victor proceeds to give the hunchback new life. Victor solves the problem of the hunched back and walking on all fours. He acknowledges the intelligence trapped within the dirty shell that had been the hunchback. He shares that if circus had cared they could have freed him of the physical shackles that hampered him.
The lightning that starts this new life is a name and a purpose. Victor names him Igor and makes this newly minted man his assistant.
I liked the idea of telling the story of Frankenstein from the perspective of Igor. It is an intriguing idea that I hope to see again. The problem with this movie is that it much like the monster that Victor and Igor are creating in the Laboratory. It takes bits and pieces from different genres and attaches them in places where the fit just seems off. An example is the rescue scene. It is a chase scene reminiscent of those found in the new Sherlock Holmes. the requisite horror is there with the creation of the first monster made from animal parts. Stitch on a bit of My Fair Lady and Good Will Hunting and you have the beast that is Victor Frankenstein.
Just like the monster, the parts all work together. It is just that some of them work much better than other. The touch of My Fair Lady is nice to see. Watching Igor come into his own through out the movie as well as learning to stand up for himself and learning the difference between allowing himself to be used and making his own choices was excellent. The parts where Victor Frankenstein is a man tortured by his past and seeks to create life to wash away past sins…not so much.
Taken as a whole, Victor Frankenstein is not a bad movie. It has some good ideas about this old story. It just does not execute them well. It is well worth watching as a matinee but not worth seeing at an evening show. I would give it two bear paws out four.