“Victor Frankenstein” movie focuses on humans instead of monster

When I heard that two of my favorite actors, James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, were coming together for a “Frankenstein” movie adaptation, I was filled with excitement. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is one of my favorite classic tales, not only because of the cool science nature of it but because Mary Shelley basically started a whole new genre with the novel. After watching this movie though, I think Shelley might be turning over in her grave.

In “Victor Frankenstein,” Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) meets a young Viktor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy) at the circus, where Frankenstein helps break Igor out of the circus and takes Igor on as his assistant after being impressed by Igor’s medical knowledge. Following this, the two work together in order to create life from death.

If you are looking for a faithful movie adaptation, you will not find it in this film. Told from Igor’s point of view, the story places more emphasis on the aspirations of Frankenstein and the relationship between Igor and his love interest, Lorelei (Jessica Findlay) than the experiment. As a matter of fact, little time is spent on the actual creation of Frankenstein’s infamous monster. The monster is only in the movie towards the end, and its appearance is short-lived. Interestingly enough, more time is spent on Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott), a devotedly religious detective who makes it his mission to stop Victor Frankenstein from undoing the balance of nature at any cost.

Despite straying quite far from the book, this adaptation was still interesting and entertaining in its own way. The dynamic between Igor and Frankenstein is a complex one. They have the makings of a great friendship, but Frankenstein’s ego is constantly getting in the way, putting up a barrier between the two. When this barrier isn’t present, the two really complete each other, which makes for some funny and heart-tugging moments.

Overall the movie was entertaining to watch, though as an adaptation it failed miserably. If it were not for the monster near the end, the story would have been unrecognizable as an adaptation of the original book.

Movie: “Victor Frankenstein”
Director: Paul McGuigan
Release Date: Nov. 25, 2015
Rating: ★★★☆☆