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DVD Review

DVD cover

Frankenstein (2004)
10th Anniversary Edition


Starring: Alec Newman, Luke Goss, Julie Delpy and Nicole Lewis
Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 18 January 2014

Even as a child Viktor Von Frankenstein had a curious and, some would say, morbid fascination with life and death. As a young man, he leaves home to travel to the city and study science, and specifically chemistry and the human body, under the tutorship of a professor. However, he soon begins to ask some startling questions. Beginning with a dog which has been trampled under a horse and carriage, he soon realises that if he can harness enough electrical energy he may be able to bring a dead body back to life. He takes to robbing body parts, and creates a humanoid creature which even he soon begins to regard as an abomination to nature and God. But the problem is the soulless creature just wants to love and be loved, and he is only met with revulsion and violence by others. When Viktor tries to destroy him, the monster vows to destroy everyone Viktor loves...

This retelling of the Frankenstein tale, first released ten years ago [2004], comes in a mini-series format of two discs subtitled 'Night 1' and 'Night 2'. They continue directly on from each other, and run to around an hour and twenty-five minutes each. It is probably one of the closest representations of the classic Mary Shelley book I have ever seen. Luckily, there is no attempt to bring it into a contemporary setting, as the story works best within the period it was originally intended. As with all novels around that time it is very formally written, and that comes across into the characters and situations quite heavily, which may tire some viewers. I must say that it is overly long, whilst managing to get across all the intended emotions from the story. It starts with a captain and his crew, from a ship frozen in the ice, witnessing a dog sled chase across the ice. They pick up the injured and exhausted Frankenstein, and the captain is told his complete story, but they don’t bargain on the creature coming aboard the boat.

Luke Goss is suitably gentle, sorrowful and revengeful in the role, but I wonder at the reactions his character receives from everyone except a little girl and a blind man, as he really isn’t that ugly. I suppose part of the moral tale here is that like beauty, ugliness is skin deep. The idea of Frankenstein in the book is playing God, and then making amends. Over time, though, it has become more about the innocence of the creature, and society turning its heart black. Even the death scenes in this depiction are not that violent or prolonged, so the sympathy is definitely with the creature rather than its creator.

A good, solid retelling, but which somehow lacks any real edginess or tension – even with the addition of acting legend Donald Sutherland.


Ty Power

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