Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is inspired by her novel published in 1831. Devastated by the death of his mother at a young age, Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh) decides to bring the dead back to life. He puts to life a creature (Robert De Niro) that will make him regret his obsession with resurrection. This movie is available in a 2 DVD box set with Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. An interesting set considering both the original novels were written after a rather inebriated party both Stoker and Shelley attended.
The movie is not new. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was originally released in theatres in 1994. However, it has aged well. Branagh, a specialist in adapting classical literary works to the stage or the movie screen, and De Niro, a great actor as well, have made this movie something that can last through time. The story discusses issues that are contemporary and true for any type of audience, for example: life & death, evil & good, fame & shame.
The movie is rated as a horror film, but it is not anything like what we are used to seeing. The horror in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is more in its content that in its form. Instead of quick gripping scenes, where danger is just on the other side of the door, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is psychologically horrific. The viewer is confronted with the torments of Dr. Frankenstein who must deal with a creature who becomes evil and terrorizes the village because of his own doing. Dr. Frankenstein created, for selfish reasons, a creature that he loses control of and that kills anyone in its path. He must deal with the unbearable pain of losing loved ones, because of his negligence and fear of humiliation.
Although Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not exactly like the novel, it still remains a great cinematic reproduction that deserves a look by anyone who enjoys the genre.