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Old November 26 2009, 04:55 PM   #1
Lookingglassman
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A good Frankenstein movie.

That is what I would love to see. I finished reading Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and realized if Tim Burton did a movie based on it , it might be pretty good.

Of course Johnny Depp could play Victor Frankenstein the guy who creates the "daemon".

There are so many elements to that story that the older movie didnt convey. The monster is not stupid and can communicate and has human emotions. It is not the walking grunting fool with knobs in its neck we see in movies.

What about you? Would you be interested in a Tim Burton version of Frankenstein, more true to the book?
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Old November 26 2009, 05:31 PM   #2
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Considering how Tim Burton handled Sleepy Hollow, I doubt his version of Frankenstein would be particularly true to the book. There have already been some fairly authentic adaptations of the book, including one with Kenneth Branagh as Victor and Robert DeNiro as the creature, and a 1992 TV miniseries with Patrick Bergin and Randy Quaid in those respective roles.

Besides, didn't Tim Burton already do his own version of a Frankenstein story, namely Edward Scissorhands?
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Old November 26 2009, 05:50 PM   #3
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Frankly, I prefer "Frankenstein" (1931) to Mary Shelly's original vision. The James Whale movie distills the concept down to its bare bones essence, thereby increasing the emotional impact dramatically. Yeah, the original source is more layered and philosophical but that actually dilutes the story compared to the movie and weighs it down. I think the Karloff portrayal of the "monster" is one of cinema's greatest performances and doubt it will ever be touched by any "chatty" thoughtful version of Frankenstein's creation.
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Old November 26 2009, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

For a Frankenstein movie, I think I'd like to see something different. An adaptation of Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings would be fantastic. It's a sequel to Mary Shelley's novel, and the monster, calling himself "Jumbo" Hank Clerval, is the first baseman for a minor league baseball team in Georgia during World War II. Now I feel like rereading it...
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Old November 26 2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

I'll second the Kenneth Branagh movie if you want something more faithful to the book. I don't remember it doing well though and that was probably due to it not meeting people's expectations about what a Frankenstein movie is supposed to be.
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Old November 26 2009, 06:23 PM   #6
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
I'll second the Kenneth Branagh movie if you want something more faithful to the book. I don't remember it doing well though and that was probably due to it not meeting people's expectations about what a Frankenstein movie is supposed to be.
It was fairly faithful for the first half of the movie, then it went off in its own direction.

Honestly, the best Frankenstein movie for me is The Bride of Frankenstein.
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Old November 26 2009, 06:52 PM   #7
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

For a different take on the story, there's Roger Corman's "Frankenstein Unbound" based on the novel by Brian Aldiss. Not everyone's cup of tea, of course...
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Old November 26 2009, 07:16 PM   #8
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Zachary Smith wrote: View Post
Frankly, I prefer "Frankenstein" (1931) to Mary Shelly's original vision. The James Whale movie distills the concept down to its bare bones essence, thereby increasing the emotional impact dramatically. Yeah, the original source is more layered and philosophical but that actually dilutes the story compared to the movie and weighs it down. I think the Karloff portrayal of the "monster" is one of cinema's greatest performances and doubt it will ever be touched by any "chatty" thoughtful version of Frankenstein's creation.
I have to agree. I've yet to see a "faithful adaptation" of the original book that really worked well (I hear the made-for-TV Frankenstein The True Story TV version from 1974 starring Michael Sarrazin and Jane Seymour as the Bride is pretty good). That said, I've never been a particular fan of the book itself. This is a case where, in my opinion, the concept is stronger than the execution. In all fairness to Mary Shelley, of course, it was 1818 after all and no one had ever written a novel of this nature, so there were no rules by which to go by. And also as anyone who has tried to read Dickens, Austen, or any of the writers from even earlier times can attest, the style of writing used in the 19th century is an acquired taste, especially to those used to the likes of Stephen King. But even though Shelley's novel is considered both one of the first true SF novels and also the first true steampunk novel, in fact the original Karloff movie is the best representation of these themes, even if it diverged from the original story.

I also speak as one of the 10 people on the planet who truly dislikes The Bride of Frankenstein. Everyone else seems to think it's the better film than the 31 version, and I've seen it called the best horror movie ever. Myself, I think it served to establish more stereotypes about the Monster than even the Abbott & Costello movie, and one of the reasons I've never been a huge fan of Mel Brooks' otherwise-brilliant parody Young Frankenstein is that in my opinion they'd already made the parody, and that was Bride of Frankenstein. The 1931 film is by far the better Frankenstein film, and has never been equalled (though I consider the 1931 Dracula to be the superior HORROR film). I'm not against mixing horror and comedy, but there's a time and a place, and the second film of a series wasn't the time (sort of like if Star Trek II had been the comedy The Voyage Home - it might not have killed the series, but Voyage Home worked as a comedy precisely because it had followed 3 relatively serious films; a "comedy Frankenstein" would have been better served around film 4 or 5 in the series, if not even as late as 1948 when the A&C film was made).

Backing up Zachary's comment above, one of the biggest failings of Bride of Frankenstein - beyond the screeching old woman who was the Jar Jar Binks of her generation, and the pointless vignette about the miniature people - was the decision to make the Monster speak. Karloff was vehemently opposed back in the day (this is well documented) and I'm in full agreement with him. Once he started to speak, he lost all of his pathos and no amount of acting skill on Karloff's part could make it right. The so-called classic "blind man and the cabin" sequence is just painful to watch.

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Old November 26 2009, 07:46 PM   #9
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

^"The first true steampunk novel?" Hardly. While it may be true that it was an influence on the late-20th-century literary movement called steampunk, that doesn't mean it actually is steampunk, any more than a can of Campbell's soup is an Andy Warhol painting. It's improper to back-project modern concepts onto a discussion of works that predate the existence of those concepts. After all, steampunk is an outgrowth of cyberpunk, combining modern literary sensibilities with tropes from Victorian-era SF. And as I understand it, it tends to focus on Victorian-SF-type technology and its effects, whereas there's virtually no discussion of science or technology in Shelley's novel, since after all the narrator considered the science of reanimation to be evil and thus deliberately avoided giving any specifics about his techniques.
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Old November 26 2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's improper to back-project modern concepts onto a discussion of works that predate the existence of those concepts.
I like the idea that Victor Frankenstein created a cylon.
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Old November 26 2009, 08:16 PM   #11
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

If I recall correctly, Victor Frankenstein finds that it isn't possible to reanimate dead tissue, and the suggestion is that his creation is animated inorganic matter akin to the golem in Jewish folklore. The subtitle of the novel is "The Modern Prometheus". In Latin mythology (unlike the Greek version), Prometheus makes man from clay and water (like a golem) and is punished by his creation, not Zeus.

In the novel, Frankenstein is interested in Galvanism (electricity) and not steam power, so not really steampunk even if the term were applied retrospectively. I don't think that there is any description that he uses electricity to animate the creature.
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Old November 26 2009, 08:19 PM   #12
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

^That's right. The use of electricity to animate the creature is an invention of the movie. I think the novel suggested it had more to do with alchemical techniques that most scientists discredited.
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Old November 26 2009, 10:37 PM   #13
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

Yeah, it's pretty vague. Victor mentions studying chemistry and alchemy, and when he's actually constructing the creature, he just mentions being surrounded by his instruments. There are comments about galvanism in the novel, which probably led to the use of electricity in the movie.

By far, the most faithful adaptation of Shelley's novel that I've seen is Terror of Frankenstein, but it's pretty dry, to say the least. It's a fine little movie, and a great companion piece for anyone studying the novel, but it also shows why filmmakers tend to embellish on the story.
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Old November 26 2009, 10:41 PM   #14
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

^Also, calling down the power of a lightning bolt was a hell of a lot more cinematic than mixing chemicals together.
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Old November 26 2009, 10:43 PM   #15
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Re: A good Frankenstein movie.

There's that, too. No one can say that Whale's version was dull.
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