Yeah, I know… I’ve come late to the party. I didn’t think I’d like I, Frankenstein, so I waited until it came out on DVD rental. I’m sure the movie was better up on the big screen, but at least I wasn’t disappointed.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve read (and loved) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for a long time (maybe even for longer than my 10+ years). But, you may also find that each adaptation adds something to the original. Every creative effort has a way of offering something, but there also appears to be many failures in the imagination, and random liberties–taken to no real benefit. But, I can’t say that I really hated the movie.
Here are some reasons why…
- Revising the Classic! Every adaptation of Frankenstein carries me back to my original experience with the novel. Yes, I’m often reminded how far removed from the text the adaptation is, but I’m also intrigued by the flashbacks–all those scenes that have the potential for further insights and clarifications.
- This Hideous Progeny: It’s a multi-layered creative process. There’s the original Creator (the one who created the angels, Gargoyles, demons, humans, etc.). Then, there’s Mary Shelly, the Creator of the novel and all the human (and inhuman) characters within. (She is the behind-the-scenes force). Then, there’s Frankenstein, who pieced together all those remnants of humanity–to give life. All of these original forces are absent/removed, but not forgotten.
- Naming the Monster: In one of the intriguing ironies of this movie adaptation, Frankenstein’s monster is given a name: Adam. Of course, we also know that the first human was named “Adam.” We see the juxtaposition between the first man (who subsequently sinned and was expelled from the Garden of Eden) and the inhuman/undead (and potentially soul-less) man-made creation, who ultimately must decide whether he wants to come to the rescue of those who were once so horrified by his being-ness.
- Intermingling Myths and Legends: For all the ways in which this movie departed from Mary Shelley’s original vision, it also adds curious cross-mythic dimensions to the tale. Imagine demons, Gargoyles and the undead–all locked in an epic battle. It’s a battle that’s invisible–unknown to humanity. But, of course, none of this is new (or revolutionary). Storytellers have told us all about it. And, authors have been writing about the creatures, the characters, and even some of the plot twists.
So, here’s your chance to catch glimpses of all those bygone tales, myths and legends. If you’ve read Frankenstein, you’ll see intriguing reminiscences. But, even if you’ve never read the famous novel, I’m sure you’ll gain an appreciation for Mary Shelley’s famous story (supposedly originated as a ghostly storytelling session with Lord Byron and Percy Shelley).
How far the story of Frankenstein’s creature has come… What’s the next step? Where will the next adaptation take us?