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Victor Frankenstein (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 107 minutes.

Not for children.

Little did Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley know that her creation, written when she was 19, would be interpreted in so many ways. This one has director Paul McGuigan and screenwriter Max Landis telling the story through the eyes of Igor, Victor Frankenstein’s lab assistant.

This would have surprised Mary no end because she had nobody named Igor in her novel. Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s humpbacked lab assistant, was added for director James Whale’s 1931 Boris Karloff classic. He then became a vital character played by Marty Feldman (who uttered the memorable line, “Walk this way”) in Mel Brooks’ equally classic Young Frankenstein in 1974.

But McGuigan and Landis once again change Igor from what he was in 1931 and what he became in 1974 to a sensitive, brilliant assistant (played by Daniel Radcliffe) to Viktor Frankenstein (James McAvoy).

Radcliffe and McAvoy give fine performances in creating their unique characters. There are two heavies in the film, Rafferty (Bronson Webb) who plays an upper-class British scion who finances Victor for his own nefarious ends, and Inspector Turbin (Andrew Scott) who is out to get Viktor for reasons that become clear as the movie moves along.

The ambience is suitably dark and the special effects are very good. Fortunately, they don’t dominate the way they do in lots of other films.

Unfortunately, McGuigan would have been wise to take a cue from Whale, who told his story in a concise 70 minutes. This one is far too long. As a result, it loses some of its impact and pace. However, the last 30 minutes are good.