Aristotle developed the system of dramatic structure, which outlines that a story is constructed by having a beginning, middle, and end. Most movies start with exposition, it’s what provides the audience with background information and sets the stage for the rest of the story. However this movie relies so heavily on exposition that the actors and actresses never get into character. The film spoon feeds a lot of information to the viewer, but chooses not to elaborate on other (arguably) more important scenes. I, Frankenstein’s one sentence synopsis is so accurate that it draws attention to the rest of the film’s underdeveloped subplots.
Gargoyle queen Leonore (Otto) has lead the battle against Naberius (Nighy) and his demonic forces for centuries. But when Frankenstein finds a way to reanimate the dead, the demons quickly begin hunting Adam (Eckhart) in an attempt to discover how to replicate the experiment that gave him life. As Adam battles the forces of heaven and hell, the monster might rediscover his humanity.
Although the cast features some prominent names, the material prevents them from reaching the potential that these stars are really capable of. Aaron Eckhart’s does the best he can but is reduced to just reacting to his circumstances and more often than not just storms out of a scene. Miranda Otto’s moral compass is all over the place, which is confusing, since the choices she makes doesn’t line up with all of her expositional dialogue. Bill Nighy’s performance falls between the two, but it isn’t anything we haven’t already seen in Underworld. Poor Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) doesn’t get to do much of anything and could have been dropped from the movie entirely. Which is a shame since the tie-in comic “I, Frankenstein: Genesis” introduces the human faction known as the Crescent Order, which isn’t mentioned in the movie at all but could have made Terra’s character more significant.
Much like Underworld, This is a movie that relies heavily on its action and visual effects to cover up the thin story line. While the fight between Adam and Zuriel (Socratis Otto) was well done and showcase Eckhart’s proficiency with Kali sticks. The rest of the action sequences get tiresome once it starts depending on CGI. The Gargoyles’ CGI is as bulky as the stone they are supposedly made of, and makeup effects on the demons look cheap and generic. The IMAX 3D presentation adds scale to the larger set pieces as well as the larger battle sequences. Although the 3D added depth, it didn’t really enhance anything since most of the movie is shot in the dark.
I, Frankenstein might have benefited from Kevin Grevioux’s original story since the graphic novel seemed more complete and compelling than what was presented on the screen. Although what they managed to put together was adequate, I would recommend the tie-in comic over the movie itself. The movie is mildly entertaining to some extent, but a mindless watch.