11th Jan2014

‘Frankenstein: 10th Anniversary Edition’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke Goss, Donald Sutherland, Alec Newman, Julie Delpy, William Hurt | Written by Mark Kruger | Directed by Kevin Connor

Frankenstein-DVD

What happens when man violates the laws of God and science? For Captain Walton (Sutherland) and the crew of a weather-beaten ship stranded in the icy sea, the answer follows their rescue of a scientist close to death, frozen in fear, and insane with dire warnings. Victor Frankenstein (Newman) has a story to tell—a story as chillingly real as the tortured howls emanating from the Arctic fog and as timeless as the need to be loved.

Made for the Hallmark Channel back in 2004, this version of Frankenstein comes from director Kevin Connor who brought the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, At the Earth’s Core and The Land that Time Forgot, to the big screen in the 70s and is once again based on the classic Mary Shelley tale, only this time screenwriter Mark Kruger (Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh) – unlike many of his contemporaries – opts to almost faithfully adapt the original prose, telling the tale of Victor Frankenstein and NOT his monster (a focus which has befallen many film iterations ever since Boris Karloff and Universal now-classic monster movies).

The first thing that strikes you – beyond the big name cast of Donald Sutherland, Julie Delpy and William Hurt – is just how good this mini-series looks. Hallmark movies usually have that “TV movie” look about them but Frankenstein could easily pass for a Hollywood blockbuster, with some superb cinematography, gorgeous locations and a soundtrack that both echoes the classic black-and-white Universal horrors and captures the over-arcing ominousness of the story.

And whilst many may complain at an almost three hours long runtime, Frankenstein makes good use of the mini series format to really bring Victor’s story to life, giving the mad man a long-needed cinematic backstory, a back story that has remained the domain of Shelley’s book for many, many years.

Surprisingly, given the cast, the real star of Frankenstein is Luke Goss. Fresh off the back of his starring role in Blade II, Goss brings a freshness and sense of pathos to his role as Frankenstein’s monster; and you can’t help but feel real sympathy for the poor creature – who for once is not a bolt-necked monster but a gaunt and creepy corps-ical, tormented by his reanimation.

Much more of the gothic melodrama that Mary Shelley intended, Frankenstein is one of the most faithful adaptations of the classic story ever lensed and as such should be praised, not only for that but for expertly capturing the moral ambiguity and the sheer tragedy of this promethean tale.

Frankenstein: 10th Anniversary Special Edition is released on DVD on January 13th from Kaleidoscope Entertainment.

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