Frankenstein (2004) - TV Mini-Series
Starring: William Hurt, Luke Goss and Alec Newman
This film begins showing a ship that is stuck in the ice. The captain of this ship is played by Donald Sutherland. While they are passing time until the ice cracks, they see two people go by on dogsleds. One of them shoots at the other and then he crashes. This man is brought onto the ship to warm up; he is played by Alec Newman. Newman then begins to tell the story of the man he was chasing and why to Sutherland.
The story starts when Newman was a boy; he is played by Sonny Brown as a child. He is Victor Frankenstein. They are a well to do family in Switzerland, so Newman was allowed to explore his interests. His parents are played by Julie Delpy and Mark Jax. Newman’s best friend is played by Samo Chrtan. They explore and play. Newman’s parents also adopt an orphan girl to live with them; she is played by Lianna Bamberg.
When they all grow up, Newman’s friend is then played by Dan Stevens and the girl by Nicole Lewis. Newman and Lewis have grown found of each other. Newman also has a little brother played by Daniel Williams. They have a dog and Newman witnesses it get run over by a carriage. That night he is outside with grief and watches a storm. Lightning strikes a tree, setting it on fire and he is pulled inside. He shares his idea with Stevens and Lewis, that if lightning has that much destructive power, why it couldn’t create life as well. He wants to move to Germany to go to the university to study science.
His mother passes away from scarlet fever before he does, but Delpy tells him to still go. She just wants him to marry Lewis. Stevens also comes with him to study philosophy. We get an idea that his home life isn’t as good as Newman.
Newman then befriends a professor, William Hurt, and asks him to be his adviser. Another of his professors is played by Ian McNeice. Newman shares with Hurt his ideas, but Hurt shoots him down. They do so on the basis of religion and not to play God. Newman continues his secret experiments though. He brings a dead frog and dog back to life with electricity, but the dog only lives for a matter of minutes.
He does succeed though in creating a man, played by Luke Goss. The creature flees and Newman sinks into madness. He is saved by Stevens and Lewis. They nurse him back to health. After he has recovered, he decides to marry Lewis and informs Hurt that he will be leaving the university. Newman’s journal is missing as it was in a coat that Goss took.
Newman doesn’t know if Goss has survived or not. Goss has moved through the country. He walks into someone’s house and begins to eat their soup. He is attacked and flees back into the woods. He does come upon a family. There is an old blind man who plays the violin, played by Jean Rochefort. He lives with his son, daughter-in-law and their daughter. Goss watches them through the window and urns for similar affection. He begins to chop wood for them and stacks it outside at night. They leave him food and wine for it. Goss steals a book and helps to educate himself. He is forced away though when the father sees him inside the house with his daughter and the old man. He won’t listen to him, he is judged by his appearance.
Newman believes that his life is returning to normal when Williams is murdered. Newman knows that it was Goss, but a necklace that belonged to the family is found in the possession of Monika Hilmerová. She is hung for the crime.
Goss then approaches Newman. He apologizes for killing Williams, as he stated it was an accident. He does tell Newman that he needs to make him a bride and companion. He states that if he does, Goss will live the rest of his life away from people. Newman at first agrees, but Stevens changes his mind. Goss does warn him that he if doesn’t do it, he would visit him on his wedding night to Lewis.
Will he make the companion for Goss or will his conscience prevent him? What will happen on the wedding night if he doesn’t? How does this fit in with the ship trapped in the ice?
First off I have to say that this is a pretty faithful depiction done by the Hallmark channel. It is long as it was a television mini-series, but by doing that, they were allowed to keep pretty much everything from the story in the film. I thought the acting was really good. There were quite a few big name actors in this film that are playing roles that are well suited for them. I want to touch on Goss as the creature. I think this is an interesting way to go. Goss does a lot of action films and is put together well, but he is not physically large. I think this is something that I do like about this film that they went this way, focusing more on his ugliness due to his creation and the development of his mind. He does still come with the strength of being a monster, but a more realistic look to him. It also makes it worse when he is shunned for his appearance. For as much as people believe that the older days were better, I do think we are more accepting today of people that are different for their looks.
I do have to say that coming from Hallmark, it runs into the problem of being boring. This could be that I have seen almost every film adaptation of the subject matter, so I knew what was going to happen and there were no surprises. This is a problem with remaking something that has been remade numerous times though. You cannot do what the previous ones have and need to put a mark on it. The acting was good, but not good enough to hold my attention unfortunately.
I would recommend this one if you want to see the novel Frankenstein brought to life. The acting is good, but the film itself is a little boring. All of the major plot points are there, but they have been done previously and with a much better results. If you are not too keen on older films, then this one might be for you since it was made more recently. If not, I would stick to some of the older versions.
My Rating: 5 out of 10