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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Monkey Business

Victor Frankenstein (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

[Narrator:] “You know this story ... the crack of lightning, a mad genius, and an unholy creation. The world, of course, remembers the monster, not the man.” “Victor Frankenstein” gives us the story of the titular character told from the perspective of his assistant Igor.

Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) started out as an unnamed hunchback at Lord Barnaby's Circus, playing the clown/fall guy while moon­lighting as their lay medic, having picked up human anatomy from books. One day while playing London, aerialist Lorelai (Jessica Brown Findlay) took a fall and would have succumbed to her injuries save for the quick inter­vention of medical student Victor Franken­stein (James McAvoy) and the hunch­back who performed “dry surgery” on the spot. Says Victor to him, “You're not a clown; you're a doctor.

The circus people didn't want him getting ideas, so they burned his books and confined him to an animal cage. Franken­stein pays him a surreptitious visit at night and picks the lock (“High powered magnet. It should work”) and frees the dude who'd, “never been out of the circus before, sir.” They hare it out of there chased by an angry circus mob. Victor restores him from his misdiagnosed deformity (“You have an abscess”), dubs him Igor after a house­mate who is “hardly ever home,” and has him “Wash up.” He encourages his trans­form­ation from his old self (“Igor, that creature no longer exists”), and introduces him to his experiment animating flesh using a Van de Graaff generator connected to a tong-like “Lazarus fork” used to trans­fer electrical energy into biological in eyes suspended in a saline solution. Pointing to his extravagant lab and library, he tells him, “All this is now yours.” To celebrate their success and newfound association, they go to a soiree where Igor hooks up with a beautiful, grateful Lorelai who now has a sponsor and has left the circus.

From there it's all downhill, the old familiar story (“Don't let it escape!”) that we all know and love (or hate), with tongue in cheek admonitions (“You shall be forgotten”) that people are going to remember the monster of Franken­stein, not the man its maker. And where does that leave his lowly assistant … but featured in this movie, of course.


What Victor passes off as an attempt to “restore life” Lorelai pegs as an attempt “to create some­thing that was not meant to exist,” and police Detective Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) calls, “What you're doing is wrong; it's gone too far.” The genius of this picture is it lays out scientific advance­ment in stages to help us see where science crosses the line. Mention is made of the electric light bulb invented twenty years earlier. A circus fire illus­trates a light source not involving flames is a scientific step forward. Science is on safe grounds here.

Victor's obsession stemmed from a childhood accident that killed his brother Henry Franken­stein (“I took my brother's life that night. I have to redress the balance.”) His multiplication of organs in his created beast brings home the point that nature gives woman a womb capable of producing more than one scion over time to cover for losses. Reproductive health is good medicine, a proper exercise of medical science.

The medical intervention that saved Lorelai's life is good science as well. So is DI Turpin out to investigate a homicide in a circus stampede good social science providing a check against the deliberate taking of human life. This is all pass­able science, we can all agree.

At the soiree Victor is regaling some rather uncomfortable looking society women with his theories on in vitro fertilization. They can only begin to see his point when he gets to the part where the woman's womb is required to complete the process. Here although the movie does not depict science crossing the line, it does show it to begin to make us uncom­fort­able, the icky factor.

Lorelai joins them having left the man she's consort to (“He prefers the company of men”) and having a stronger stomach for the topic of conversation than the other women have. Her date is evidently a poof, he's off down below with other men. Visually at least, this film places child-birthing arrange­ments that don't involve a womb in a different class than the mere icky.

It puts adoption without a female influence in a less desirable position than one with. The circus that adopted the hunch­back resulted in his mistreatment at the hands of men, but when Victor adopted him as his assistant, he was treated better for his introduction to Lorelai.

Human sexuality is but a minor theme in this movie, Reminds me of a line from novelist Farran Smith Nehme: “none of her favorite movies had a scene where the heroine woke up with a naked man in her bed. Damn you, Hays Office” (62). In this PG–13 movie, Lorelai wakes up with a man in her bed who's at least shirtless, but we're not entirely certain what happened during the night owing to his inexperience. They were, how­ever, sneaking around, and in the Victorian era they would have been expected to adhere to, (1Cor 7:2) “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband,” for a man and a woman to wed before having sex.

The homosexuals then had consorts to hide their deviancy from Victorian (scriptural) norms, but nowadays (depending on jurisdiction) they are allowed to "marry" the same sex, and that could as well have been addressed by the DI when he quoted, (Prov. 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: [but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.]” The highest courts today seem to over­rule and suspend moral objections from lower courts, legislatures, and peoples, just as in this movie DI Turpin, Scotland Yard, had his moral misgivings about putative monsters squelched by his superior who put him on leave, a “medical and mental reprieve.

Victor lost his youthful belief that, “God certainly does exist” while men are, “weak, fragile, destined to die.” He engaged in experi­men­tation at Royal College of Medicine. There rather than believe in God he considered him­self a part of “rational, free­thinking men,” and life but “applied chemistry.” Now he's warned that, “You toy with wrathful forces. There's no mercy in nature.” In today's age of STD's and AIDS. one may consider that a movie dealing with taboo free-thinking experimentation might have some relevance to us.

Production Values

This movie, “” (2015) was directed by Paul McGuigan. The pronunciation of the titular character is in homage to Mel Brooks's “Young Frankenstein” (1974). This one was written by Max Landis. Frankenstein movies, of course, are based on Mary Shelley's 1818 horror novel, “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.” This one stars Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay and Andrew Scott-Spectre. Daniel Radcliffe succeeds as Igor trans­formed from a cowering character with a shuffling hunchback gait to a man of the world. Jessica Findlay is very attractive, her modest Victorian-era clothing not­with­standing. Their chemistry together fits this movie to a tee. James McAvoy played an easily excitable Victor Frankenstein, but then some­thing would have had to be wrong with him to begin with. The other parts worked out well, too.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for macabre images, violence and a sequence of destruction. It excels in its intricately constructed sets, the monster him­self (what we see of him), and in tasteful use of classical music & film score. The circus is colorful, Frankenstein's laboratory mesmerizing, the soirees gay, and the Scottish castle on a cliff breath­taking. Creepiness abounds. McGuigan balances horror, drama, suspense, romance and a little comedy, with a pace that never slackens. The cinema­tog­raphy was dark. The CGI reaches saturation, how­ever the makeup and costumes were primo, and the acting magnificent.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I recommend this flick to round out your Frankenstein pleasure if you like this genre. It keeps the frights down for the kids while feeding the thinking man material for contemplation. Visually it's a peach. Probably won't inter­rupt your dreams.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Nehme, Farran Smith. Missing Reels. New York: Over­look Press, 2014. Print.