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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an authentic adaptation of the book, but still fun.
"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" is an incredibly melodramatic adaptation of the book that takes huge liberties with the plot, but I still find it thoroughly entertaining. The movie is perfectly cast, and I think that the embellishments that Kenneth Branagh takes with the story only make the film more enjoyable. Even though I doubt that Dr. Frankenstein ran...
Published on May 19 2004 by Melissa Niksic

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mary SHelley's Frankenstein
ok, im a student in high school, and i can tell the differences in the book and the movie easliy. the movie is nothing like the book, in the first 5 mintutes there are almost 10 thing different from the book, 1. it looks like the monster is chasing victor, 2. the monster doesn't attack the dogs, 3. they don't see the monster off in the distance sledding away 4. no letters...
Published on May 7 2004


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an authentic adaptation of the book, but still fun., May 19 2004
By 
Melissa Niksic (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" is an incredibly melodramatic adaptation of the book that takes huge liberties with the plot, but I still find it thoroughly entertaining. The movie is perfectly cast, and I think that the embellishments that Kenneth Branagh takes with the story only make the film more enjoyable. Even though I doubt that Dr. Frankenstein ran around without a shirt on as much as Branagh does in the film, most women will probably find it quite enjoyable. Robert DeNiro is amaing in his role of "the creature," and Helena Bonham Carter gives a great performance as Elizabeth. If you're the type of person who detests it when filmmakers stray too far from the text of the book they're adapting, then this film probably isn't for you. If you're a bit more open-minded and are just looking for an entertaining movie to watch, this is a perfect film to add to your collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Version of Mary Shelley's novel Ever!, Nov. 23 2007
By 
Frances L. Arsenault "lover of literature" (Nanaimo, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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I get a nack for literary movies (as I said many, many times); even from the classic horror novels, with literature's famous monsters : Count Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of The Opera, The Headless Horseman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and...The Frankenstien Monster. The original Frankenstein novel was written by a women named Mary Shelly in 1818 (she knows how to scare people with her masterpiece), and many versions had been made for the silver screen; but to me, this version with actor/director Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet in 1996) is the best and the scariest version ever!

Kenneth Branagh plays Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who is obsessed with conquering death, after his "Mommy Dearst" died due to complications giving birth to his little brother William (I mean HEL-LO! I'm SOR-RY you can't get ever over losing your mom, on the account of your little brother,but it dosen't mean you go all CRA-ZY! I was surprise Vic didn't blame Willy for their mother's death). In medical school, Victor makes friends with a fellow student, Henry Clerval, clashes with the hidebound Professor Krempe (Robert Hardy), and finds himself fascinated by the secretive Professor Waldman who, he learns, once fell foul of the authorities for conducting illegal experiments. Setting up a laboratory in a hired attic, Victor sets about achieving the ultimate aim of his research: cheating death'. After another public argument with Krempe, Victor is almost kidnapped by Waldman, who shows the student his rooms ' and his secret laboratory. Waldman explains to Victor the Chinese practice of acupuncture, and how it might affect the electrical energy of the body. Victor expounds his own theories on the overcoming of death. His words have a dramatic effect on Waldman, who reveals that he once came close ' too close ' to the artificial creation of life... During an enforced vaccination of the people of Ingolstadt, carried out by the staff and students of the university, a man objects hysterically to the treatment, and in his panic stabs Waldman to death. He is hanged for his pains. The devastated Victor breaks into Waldman's laboratory, securing the scientist's notebooks before anyone else can see them. Upon reading them, he discovers just how close Waldman did come to creating life' Inspired, and in defiance of Henry's warnings, Victor prepares to go one step further than his mentor. By rough and ready means, he acquires his "materials", including the body of Waldman's murderer and Waldman's own brain, and sets about creating an artificial man. Applying his knowledge of electricity, Victor sends a massive charge through the inanimate body that he has put together. Climbing up onto the metal tank in which his creation is housed, Victor cries out for it to live; and for a brief moment its eyes flicker open ' only to close again. Victor turns away in despair ' until a knocking sound comes from within the tank (this might sound disturbing,but that tank look like a giant womb/pressure cooker as they trying to go with in the film)...that's all I'm tellin' you, you will have to see the WHOLE film.

I was shocked and surprised by the negative reviews, this an awesome version of Mary Shelley's novel, with a great cast like Tom Hulce, the scene where he fainted was funny); Ian Holm as Victor's dad, John Cleese as Professor Waldman, though many disagree, he did play a good role; Robert De Niro as the Monster; and Helena Bonham Carter as Victor's love interest Elizabeth, I think she was great for the role.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mary SHelley's Frankenstein, May 7 2004
By A Customer
ok, im a student in high school, and i can tell the differences in the book and the movie easliy. the movie is nothing like the book, in the first 5 mintutes there are almost 10 thing different from the book, 1. it looks like the monster is chasing victor, 2. the monster doesn't attack the dogs, 3. they don't see the monster off in the distance sledding away 4. no letters to robert walton's sister, 5. Robert walton seems power hungry, 6. the threat of mutiny doesn't happen until the end of the book,
7. victor never brings elizabeth back to life
8. the monster does not kill victors dad
9. the monster all together, hes 8 foot 3, long black hair, yellow skin, black lips, hes not supposed to be white, w/ pink lips and bald, if Mary Shelley was here today i don't think she'd be proud of this movie, its nothing like her book
i have not completly seen all of this movie, but i don't tihnk it should be called Mary Shelley's version, b/c of the obvious differences in which i stated above.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very disapointed, April 20 2004
By 
Cybele A. Baker (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Being a fan of Branagh and the original book I looked forward with great excitment to this film.
Sadly I was very much let down..not so much because he deviated from the text but the way he deviated. If it had been creative and well thought out I would have been fine with it but what Branagh makes of this amazing story is sadly an arrogant muddle.
De Niro shines in this film as does Tom Hulce..but frankly Helena and Kennth were far too over the top and so iratatingly soap opera like that I was disgusted and tempted to walk out.
As for the multiple cameos that another reviwer complained about, I found nothing wrong with them that is what cameos are small portions of a film.
The grandiose scope of the film worked on occasion but then there was the laughable scene of Branagh slipping and sliding in the goo of his creation, the horror film-like graphic deaths, the ridiculous scene of him in that impossibly long red cape/robe gliding up a staircase with Helena in his arms. Instead of the effect Mr. Branagh probably wished from the audience for these scenes they all just brought out laughter and disgust at his blatant misuse of his skills as a director.
How sad...this and his Loves Labours Lost are definitly his worst films to date...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding interpretation, April 12 2004
By 
wiredweird "wiredweird" (Earth, or somewhere nearby) - See all my reviews
It's too easy to think of "Frankenstein" as a monster movie, or maybe a Victorian period piece. It is not. It is about people with skill beyond the wisdom to use that skill. It is about manipulating life, without regard to what happens when the experiment is done. To anyone in twenty-first century biotech, it is a prediction and a warning.
It's also a very good movie. Branagh and DeNiro carry the two lead roles as if they were born (or built) into them. The lab scenes were exceptional, including one of the movie's strongest moments. That was when Frankenstein's creation was dumped, in an amniotic flood, onto Branagh and the lab floor. The doctor catching that wet and feeble adult form, ejected from a metal womb, conveyed just how horribly he had perverted the normal process of birth. The scene is raw and physical. I wish I had words to describe it.
Branagh made no effort to modernize the story or its technology. Any modernization would have looked dated in just a few years, and would have lost its transitory meaning. By keeping the Victorian look and speech, he cut the story loose from any one time. Any future movie of Shelley's prescient work will be judged by this standard.
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3.0 out of 5 stars NOT QUITE SHELLEY'S VISION, Feb. 3 2004
By A Customer
This is a difficult one to assess. Obviously Kenneth Branagh's production of MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN is a sumptuous piece to watch but, unlike Shelley's literary Victor Frankenstein, Branagh makes poor use of the "raw materials" that he has at his disposal for this one. What a wasted cast including Aidan Quinn (who has barely a cameo), Tom Hulce (I think that I might have rather had Hulce as Dr. Frankenstein), Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm (another wasted cameo), John Cleese (what was it with putting a mouthful of oversized false teeth in Cleese's head?) and Robert De Niro. But then Branagh always suffers from an overwhelming desire to hog the spotlight.
Branagh's portrayal of Victor Frankenstein goes way too far. Yes, he's supposed to be mad but I found him actually exaggerating the role much as Gene Wilder did intentionally in the wonderful parody YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Branagh seems unable to divorce himself from the stage where overacting is not only expected but also necessary.
De Niro comes close but is still far too repulsive in the role. Shelley's monster is far more endearing and approachable. But then De Niro does an apparently masterful job of portraying Branagh's view of things.
What he loses by misusing his cast he makes up for in the area of cinematography and special effects. The shock value of this film alone makes it worth watching. But do read Shelley's masterpiece first. You can then recognize what has been salvaged and what was unfortunately left behind. Branagh actually comes close with a few scenes but wanders aimlessly with most of them.
An admittedly generous three stars for the cinematography, scenery and for Tom Hulce's tidy performance.
Douglas McAllister
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1.0 out of 5 stars Good literature put to terrible use, Jan. 9 2004
By 
S. Culp (Valencia, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This film was....not good.
Essentially, it came across to me as I watched it that Branagh had shanghaied Mary Shelley's literary classic and mangled it into something that would, for lack of a better summary, allow him to strip off his shirt and run around glistening with goo for no reason (and several minutes of my life I'll never get back).
This is only one example of the gross indignities to which Branagh, in an attempt, apparently, to prove that he could have done a better job writing Frankenstein than Frankenstein's author did, subjected the macabre classic.
He showed complete disrespect not only for the tone and overlaying themes of Shelley's carefully crafted masterwork, but even for the basic FACTUAL CONTENT of the novel he so diligently cashes in upon. (Plague? Hello?)
Just read the book, people--live a little, think a little, and for the love of god don't use this to cheat on any papers, because it's pretty much the opposite of anything you'd actually find in the book.
P.S. I put one star for this review because Amazon made me. I would have preferred zero.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral, Jan. 7 2004
By 
Timothy Michael Resh (Roswell, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This is possibly one of the most disturbing mass-market films of the 1990s, and I mean that in a good way because it is meant to be disturbing. The Frankenstein legend has, to some extent, been a victim of its own widespread renown. In the 20th century, the Frankenstein monster has been done and redone to the point where the standard image of the monster has become a cartoonish oaf with a flat head, flood pants, and electrodes protruding from his green skin. Helping to propigate such an image are the Bela Lugosi or "Herman Munster" versions of the monster. Unfortuantely, such characterizations strip away much or all of the subtext of Shelley's novel in favor of the shock value of the monster itself, or in the case of the Munsters, for comedic effect.
Although this film has its share of shock value moments, the acting is quite serious. Kenneth Branagh portrays Victor Frankenstein with a combination of Victorian hubris and angst that are so lacking from the many other portrayals of the good doctor gone bad.
I wasn't convinced that DeNiro could pull off the monster, but he, too, evokes a great deal of pathos for the monster, living out his miserable and unwanted existence. Perhaps the most disturbing scene in the film involves Helena Bonham Carter's character--her fate is absolutely gut-wrenching.
Not for the faint of heart, this movie brings the Frankenstein legend to the screen with the true horror that Shelley intended to convey in her novel--that when man plays God, everybody suffers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent adaptation true to the vision of the novel, Oct. 19 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a masterful motion picture. While it does take a few liberties with Shelley's classic novel, it does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the original story, specifically the humanity of the creature. While a little over-the-top at times and surprisingly gory, this film forcefully echoes Shelley's philosophical, moral, and ethical questions, and by so doing redefines the creature in its original image. What I have always found to be the most crucial scenes in the story are here displayed in all of their troubling glory, and perhaps it is the heightened intellectual nature of this film that explains why a surprisingly large number of people find disappointment where I find stimulating triumph. There are enough horror-laden scenes to capture the attention of the general horror lover, but the real substance of this story, for those who prefer their monster to serve as a complicated, amoral representation of man himself, is ambrosia for those who are more fascinated by the questions Frankenstein raises than by the horrors he unleashes.
The inspiration for young Victor Frankenstein's obsession with conquering death is delineated pretty clearly, given its most intense emotional charge by the death of his doting mother while giving birth to his little brother. His time at university is a little rushed, however, strangely incorporating the influence of a mentor whose work Victor vows to complete; where the older doctor halted his studies out of fear, Victor will push over the brink without hesitation. Victor's lab is a bit overdone, featuring all manner of miscellaneous gizmos, vials, and wossnames that look impressive with blue bolts of electricity (not generated by lightning, by the way) pulsing through them. The monster, as we first meet him, is less than impressive, and a prolonged scene of Victor water-wrestling a guy wearing a patently fake body suit inserts a little unfortunate levity into what should be a most serious scene. Victor's reaction to his creation is probably the weakest spot in an otherwise powerful film, as his sudden repudiation of everything he has ever worked for rings patently false.
It is with the entrance of the monster, however, that this film truly begins to shine. Mary Shelley's monster is not evil, nor is he a monster in the stereotypical sense by which he has come to be viewed by modern audiences. He is most definitely a victim and a creature deserving of much sympathy. Abandoned by his creator, his first interaction with mankind finds him fleeing a mob intent on hurting him for no reason apart from his ugliness. He takes shelter in a pigsty adjoined to a simple house in the country, and through a crack in the wall he not only learns to read and write, he gets to experience vicariously the joys and travails of family life. He becomes a guardian angel of sorts, secretly helping the family survive and prosper. At Christmas, in a truly touching scene, he finds a gift the family has left outside for their secret helper. One day, he gets a chance to actually interact with the blind old man of the house, sitting and conversing with another human for the first time in his wretched life, but all too quickly the family he had come to think of as his own, chases him away with blows and curses. If your heart does not break at the sight of the creature sobbing in the forest after this ultimate betrayal by mankind, you are the true monster. This whole scene is absolutely critical in terms of explaining who the monster is and why he does what he goes on to do, yet most film adaptations skip this scene entirely. Only now does the creature vow to seek revenge on the creator who abandoned him; only now has this ultimate victim become a monster in the form of amoral man.
The rest of the film is handled quite well, and Helena Bonham Carter is simply wonderful in her role as Victor's significant other. The ending goes beyond the scope of the original novel, and it does so in a strikingly grisly way, but the overall effect of this film is true to Shelley's original vision. Robert De Niro gives a particularly compelling performance as Frankenstein's monster, the look and feel of the late eighteenth-century setting is spot on, and the musical soundtrack complements the plot extraordinarily well. While I would prefer to see a movie strictly faithful to Shelley's novel, this exemplary albeit somewhat effusive adaptation hits the core messages of the story dead on and stands, in my opinion, as a truly impressive cinematic accomplishment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just About Right, Oct. 9 2003
By 
Scott FS (Sacramento, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I was stunned to learn that this film was a box-office failure, and that so many people had panned it. I loved this film.
To say it's a departure from the Boris Karloff film is to state an extremely obvious fact. That film was designed to shock; one can simply not empathize with the Creature. This film, as excellent films always seem to do, operates on several levels. There is the utter horror of the creation, and the result of defying nature. But there is also the desire not to let go of someone after death, to keep them, to not loose them, in violation of the natural order of things.
There is also the tension that is created by a wife who does not understand the important work of the husband, thinking that trivia transcends matters of life and death. There is also the scars that utter rejection has on the human pysche...the Creature wants to be accepted as we all do; when he is rejected and reviled, he goes mad.
What's not to like in this film? I guess if you were expecting shock/schlock, then this intelligent appraisal of the subject would be a disappointment, otherwise, buy and enjoy this film!
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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) [Import]
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