Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: -2

Kenneth Branagh plays Victor Frankenstein in his newest screen adaptation of a classic work of literature. In this one, as in "Henry V" and "Much Ado About Nothing," Branagh sticks fairly close to the book, which makes it very different from other Hollywood versions of Frankenstein. It concerns Victor and his fiance Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), who separate for a time before their marriage so Victor can study medicine. Victor leaves Switzerland to go to Germany and there, instead of studying medicine, becomes obsessed with the idea of raising the dead back to life. When he finally succeeds, his creation (Robert De Niro) is so misshapen and hideous that he leaves it for dead and returns to Switzerland. But the monster lives and, shunned by humankind for its ugliness, tries to find love and acceptance. When this fails, the monster decides to take revenge on Victor by killing Victor's younger brother. This is an intense, well-directed film that will mesmerize mature audiences familiar with the classic story.

There is, given the nature of the tale, a good deal of grotesque gore in the film. Victor is shown chopping legs and heads off dead bodies and transferring brains from one person to another, events at which the book merely hints. Some violence also occurs when the townspeople in Germany try to kill the monster, and he ends up throwing several men against walls or columns with incredible strength. Two hangings are shown, one of a man and one a woman, both with the crowd looking on approvingly. In a gruesome scene, the monster kills one lady by taking out her beating heart. Victor's and Elizabeth's wedding night includes near breast nudity, much groping by Victor and much kissing. Offensive language, though sparse, includes regular profanity a few times. Frankenstein is not a tale for the weak-stomached. Even so, some of the gory scenes could have been toned down. The offensive language, too, could have been avoided. This story of science gone awry illustrates the damaging consequences of perverting science and pitting man against God Himself. With more restraint, FRANKENSTEIN could have been a more tolerable specimen.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Distributor: TriStar Pictures, 9000 Sunset Blvd., #711, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Crude Language: Mild - Twice
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Several (7) times - Regular 2 (G, J), Exclamatory (5)
Violence: Many times - moderate (human legs, heads, brains, etc. used for experiments; two people hung; men thrown against wall; woman killed by pulling heart out; woman set on fire)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Near breast nudity once; obscured rear male nudity of monster
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (married couple kissing and fondling)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Science, when used to unwisely control or change Nature, shown to be dangerous.
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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