Frankenstein (1994)

Drama, Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi
Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Hulce
When Victor Frankenstein rejects the artificial man he just created, the monster escapes and later swears revenge.
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  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 Nov 1994 Released:
  • 07 Aug 2001 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Mary Shelley, Steph Lady Writer:
  • Kenneth Branagh Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Deserves To Be Appreciated9/10
I didn't appreciate this film until the second viewing, when I saw it on widescreen. Three viewings later, I have nothing but the highest regard for this Frankenstein rendition which is still, as other reviewers have pointed out, the most underrated of movies.

One MUST see this on widescreen DVD to full appreciate the incredible visuals. But this film is a lot more than eye candy. Supposedly, it was very close to Mary Shelley's book, which is the best compliment you can give it.

I liked the fact that the "monster" could talk and comprehend and, frankly, I liked the revenge factor and fact the monster decided his fate, not hysterical townsfolk as in the original Boris Karloff film (which has a sadder ending.)

This version, in my humble opinion, also had a more appropriate ending: the monster and his creator both dying together.

All the main characters acted the way you would think they would, meaning there was no ridiculousness here, as so often is the case in horror films. In other words, there was great realism put in a story that is a famous far-fetched-type of tale. To be fair, there are some scenes in which you wonder how the monster got where he did (inside homes, etc.) without being seen....so, to say there weren't SOME credibility issues would not be true...but overall, no complaints here.

I'd like to put a quick plug in here for the music, too. Wonderful sweeping classic music complements the astounding visuals. Add an involving story that is tough to put down once you start viewing, and you have one of the most undeservedly-panned movies of our time.
Another Great Film from Kenneth Branagh7/10

While many people seem to scorn this film, I found it wonderfully enjoyable. Like the great Orson Welles, He stars in, and directs, many of his movies. This one in particular shows some of his more excentric, if not marketable, passions in filmmaking that make movie buffs and connaisseurs alike enjoy this stylized and emotional film.

Yes, it is melodramatic. Yes, the acting is often over the top. But what many critics of this film fail to recognize is that this is precisly the point. By staying very true to the source material(until the Elizabeth thing) and the significant changes that WERE made are clear evidence of this. The book was melodramatic. What Kenneth Branagh does here is stay true to the spirit of the classic gothic novel. The great close-ups define the characters, and through them you can understand them. Do not mistake stylization for poor film-making, because this is a wonderfully made and presented film, that if understood captivates you from the first spoken words(a quote from Mary Shelly, setting up the stylization) to the last frame.

Know what you're getting into, a passionatly made film about what drives one to both excel and what drives one to madness, and the dangers of excess beyond reason. If you have read the book, regardless of whether you liked it or not,see this movie. You will love what they have retained, and will embrace what they've changed. this is not a film(not a movie, a film) for everyone. But for those who are willing to have an open mind, it is pure bliss!
Not your typical horror film - much much better9/10
(spoilers herein)

I saw this movie for the first time, in the dark solitude of my attic late at night. (I was trying to create a scary atmosphere for maximum effect) To my surprise, though, after it finished, I wasn't very frightened, but very emotionally drained. I had expected Frankenstein to be your classic, everyday, lame horror film which you only watch to get some cheap thrills, and see some horrible overacting. I didn't find it so at all.

This movie was, there is no other word for it, beautifully done - a powerful, dynamic story of how man attempts to achieve greatness, but ends up ruining their lives and the lives of others as a result. I have not read Mary Shelley's book, but if it has half the emotional effect of this movie, I'll consider it time well spent!

What really surprised me though, was that this wasn't a horror film in the traditional sense of the word - it wasn't so that the monster would jump out and the audience would scream. It was more about how the audience would slowly writhe as they realize the tortured motivations of the creature and what he's willing to do as consequence.

Kenneth Branagh brought this movie together wonderfully, with both his directing and powerful, memorable acting as the tormented Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is somewhat obsessed with death, after losing his mother at an early age, so he attempts to create a new form of artificial life, derived from various body parts of corpses: a life which cannot be so easily extinguished, and is superior to normal human life in every aspect. (except, perhaps, looking normal) However, he soon learns that it's not good to muck around with creating life, when his creation attacks him, and he abandons it. The creature, although initially showing signs of being a sympathetic and caring soul, quickly learns that the ways of man are harsh and judgmental, so he swears revenge on his creator for bringing him into this world of isolation.

The 'creature', was played absolutely masterfully by Robert De Niro. Before Frankenstein, the only movies I had seen with him were Analyze This and Analyze That, and those were comedies, so it was difficult to see his skills as a serious actor, but in playing Frankenstein's creation he created a character that is confused, alone, hostile, manipulative and clever: a very conflicted anti-hero. The scene at the end at Victor Frankenstein's funeral left me in shock by the sheer aura he projects - mixed hatred with compassion and confusion. In my opinion, his best moment is when he meets the ship's captain who asks him 'Who are you?' and the creature nods to his dead creator and responds 'He never gave me a name.' If nobody felt the power in that line, then I don't know what to say to them. I think De Niro deserved an Oscar, or at least a nomination for this role.

The supporting cast is also very good, with Helena Bonham Carter doing a wonderful and chilling job as Frankenstein's wife (another one who I think should have gotten an Oscar nod), and John Cleese (in probably the only downright serious role in his career) being very creepy as Frankenstein's mentor, who realized before that the moral implications of his kind of work cannot be lived with. Ian Holm as Baron Frankenstein was also good, but sadly, his part was underused. It would have been nice to see more of this great actor in this movie alongside all these other great actors. This isn't really a problem for the film as a whole: Holm played a relatively minor character, but I have a lot of respect for his acting skills, and I would have liked to see more of them in this movie.

This is probably one of the most powerful and draining movies I've ever seen in my life; I was so impressed by it that I had to run out and buy the DVD right away. I realize this film has many critics, who claim that it is 'seriously flawed' - I really can't understand what they're talking about. I guess some people are harder to please than others, but I find it almost impossible to find anything wrong with this film. Perhaps it was expected that it would be more your traditional horror film, but it really wasn't a horror movie - it was a character movie. It's true that there were some disgusting parts (I won't go into specifics, but you can probably get the idea), but they seemed to merely add to the mood of the movie, and increase your revulsion that Victor Frankenstein would have thought of creating such a monstrosity. For anyone who needs a good, powerful movie that'll leave you drained and thoughtful, this is THE movie for you!

-9/10
Underrated masterpiece9/10

One of Branagh's more maligned works, though for the life of me I can't see why. Sticking closer to the book than to any preconcieved notions of Boris Karloff (perhaps that's why), this injects true horror into the story of a medical student who brings a corpse to life. If you don't like melodrama then maybe it's not the thing for you, but this deserves a far better reputation than it has.
Unappreciated Classic! 9/109/10

I nearly spit out my teeth when I saw how low Frankenstein (94) score was. This film is quite simply spectacular! It goes in the same category as From Hell, they are both too sophisticated and beautiful to be JUST horror films. The cleverness of this film and its sheer radiance must throw some people off. Robert De Niro is the creature! De Niro gives the foul beast a soul of his own. De Niro's performance brings out genuine pity, sorrow, and most importantly, fear. Kenneth Branagh has always added a bit of class to his films, and his version of Frankenstein is no different. A visually brilliant triumph as a director.