Frankenstein (2015) Blu-ray Review

Of 3D Printers and Monsters

Compelling reasons exist to reset the mythos of Frankenstein in contemporary society. This update has none of them.

It tries. The monster contemplates the existence of rich and poor based on his street level observations. Cops are oblivious – they won’t even speak to a limping figure covered in a blood stained hospital gown. Later, they beat him for the same infraction. That’s all of Frankenstein’s societal implications until the end. Then it turns out Victor made his creation on a 3D printer. Egad.

Frankenstein’s limp production covers the story bases. A small girl still ends up in the water, a blind man still gives the creature comfort, the scientist rejects his creation. Yet, barely cognizant as he is, this version of the monster still manages to use a cell phone. And, despite not being able to read, functions a GPS. That’s a new one.

Xavier Samuel is helpless in the lead role, covered with ever-growing (if impressive) make-up. He either throws blank stares or flails his arms in a ridiculously animated performance. He gasps for words and moans about his mother, erasing any empathy for his plight out of repetition.

Most of the feature is locked on Samuel who isn’t given anything do except mimic Boris Karloff…

Material rapidly descends into gore. The horror consists of picking at brain matter or smashing in someone’s face instead of the monster’s mere existence, the typical core of this story. Therein is a miscalculation – Frankenstein’s careful perspective is that of the monster’s. Tricks of sound and light are well formed; if he’s blinded, so are viewers.

Despite that concept, Frankenstein lacks observational power. His infantile mannerisms lessen his expression. Reanimating life may be a passe occurrence in modern entertainment, but these characters are unaware of their own fiction – this is new ground for them. Despite violently escaping from the control of scientists, there are no attempts to hunt or find their creation once he leaves. Scientific value alone says he’s worth being returned, even if someone can ignore the trail of bodies he’s left behind.

Carrie-Anne Moss serves as the creature’s surrogate mother, a static, often disinterested role. Danny Huston’s comically unformed Viktor Frankenstein is simply dire, an off-day for the usually capable actor. Those here for Tony Todd – the blind man in this adaptation – are being roped in for his horror credentials. Most of the feature is locked on Samuel who isn’t given anything do except mimic Boris Karloff, arms outstretched with a flopping gait. That’s what happens when the 3D printer is on the fritz.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

Frankenstein (2015) Blu-ray screen shot 7

With an application of soft color and attractive bloom, Frankenstein has a sharp look. Flesh tones are appealing. A light noise will slowly fall away as the film moves forward. Alchemy’s encode handles it either way.

Fidelity falls into a rare category, resolving high frequency detail like few productions ever could. Beginning with a close-up on eyes and then pulling back, there is no loss of clarity. Medium shots mix with close-ups on equal terms. Light sources are hefty to keep definition high. All of the nasty, pussing make-up will be in full view.

Mostly unchallenged until the end, black levels will go unnoticed. Contrast and blooming lights keep shadows out of the frame. Closing segments are set at night, requiring a brief drop-in appearance before the indoor sets take over again.

Video ★★★★☆ 

Stereo and 5.1 mixes are offered, making it likely this was originally created with stereo for budgetary reasons. A large front soundstage adds to the possibility. Gunshots and passing trains are prominently featured. Any spread to the surrounds is unusual.

Dynamic range can be bold. First put into an MRI machine, the monster becomes engulfed by sound. The intended effect is an imitation of his own heightened senses, but can be alarming if you’re not ready. This continues for exterior effects too such as cars passing or those trains.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Trailers make up the non-existent bonuses.

Extras ★☆☆☆☆ 

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.