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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 4K UHD Review

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is a mess of a movie.

Clearly attempting to be in the same vein of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” 1994’s “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” attempts to stick closer to Mary Shelley’s classic sci-fi-horror novel. Told largely through flashbacks by Victor Frankenstein to North Pole explorer Captain Walton, the iconic story revolves around Victor’s past and how his mother’s death put him on a path to stop death. Victor becomes fixated with studying and experimenting with science and medicine and becomes all consumed by his work. He devises a way to bring a dead man back to life (The Creature), but is horrified by his creation and leaves him for dead. He decides to focus on his family and the love of his life (Elizabeth), but The Creature is plotting revenge against him.

On paper, “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” has everything going for it. It’s helmed by (and stars) the now Academy Award winning Kenneth Branagh, it’s scripted by Frank Darabont and Steph Lady, it’s produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and it stars Robert DeNiro, Tom Hulce, John Cleese (sporting fake teeth), Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm and Aidan Quinn. Alas, all that talent is wasted on this shockingly clunky adaptation.

While it may be a more faithful adaptation, this version never holds a candle to the 1931 “Frankenstein.” What this movie lacks is grace and a thoughtful exploration of the themes of humanity, playing god, and death. Everything about this movie is clunky and over-the-top. The editing is rushed, the dialogue is corny, the score is bombastic, it’s strangely graphic, it’s weird (see the Monster and Victor ice fight), and there is some severe overacting by the frequently shirtless Branagh as he shouts lines like “It need not happen!” and “Say my name!” Sure, it all looks grand with the lavish costumes, the gorgeous location shooting, the award worthy make-up, and the grand sets, but that can only take you so far.

On the plus side, the movie does have its moments. The interpretation of The Creature (well played by Robert DeNiro) stands out here and the story’s devotion to providing more depth to Victor Frankenstein is appreciated. It’s just a shame Branagh focuses less on the material he’s working with and more on creating a rather bloated spectacle.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p with Dolby Vision. How does it look? The print has been given a 4K restoration from the original camera negative and the result is a solid upgrade that offers up quality image clarity.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Original Uncompressed Stereo. How does it sound? The 5.1 is a little soft for my liking but the Stereo track delivers.

Extras:
* A booklet with photos, credits, an essay by film critic Jon Towlson and Amy C. Chambers.
* New commentary by film historians Johnny Mains and Michael Brooke
* 3 separate new interviews with film composer Patrick Doyle, costume designer James Acheson, make-up designer Daniel Parker.
* 2 trailers and an image gallery.
* “Mary Shelley And The Creation Of A Monster”- British gothic experts Stephen Volk, David Pirie and Jonathan Rigby chat about the various stage and cinematic versions of “Frankenstein.” They are not recorded together but their comments are spliced together.
* “Dissecting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”- The 3 individuals from the above mentioned extra return to discuss the differences between the novel and this movie adaptation.
* The big extra here is the nearly 13 minute silent version of 1910 version of “Frankenstein” which was the first screen version.

April 12, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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