Review: Frankenstein / Cert: 15 / Director: Kevin Connor / Screenplay: Mark Kruger / Starring: Luke Goss, Donald Sutherland, Alec Newman, Julie Delpy / Release Date: Out Now
Luke Goss is Frankenstein's monster in this 2004 television miniseries based on Mary Shelley's classic Gothic novel. We'll let that sink in for a moment – hunky pretty boy Luke Goss circa 2004, of Bros fame, plays 'the monster'. With that in mind, we're in for a very flowery take on the tale, with Victor Frankenstein not coming across particularly well at all. Who, it asks, is the real monster? 'I owe you nothing!' Victor exclaims, absentee (sort of) father that he is, dropping the boy almost as soon as he's created the poor bastard.
Granted, it's not a particularly original take on the source material, but Frankenstein at least looks very pretty as it poses its GCSE level questions on life, love and the morality of birthing a hunky great man-child from stitched up pieces of the dead. With Donald Sutherland and William Hurt on hand to provide an air of actorly respectability, this adaptation isn't nearly as bad as its made-for-television Hallmark origins might suggest. Indeed, it actually ranks as one of the most faithful adaptations of the story available. There's much to be said for fidelity to story, in an era when everything is either dumbed down, sexed up or turned into a CGI gore-fest for the sake of it. Luke Goss is no Robert De Niro (but then, neither is De Niro himself in Kenneth Branagh's shaky version) but, as his work in the likes of Hellboy II has proven, he's not to be entirely dismissed either. As Victor, Alec Newman is fine, playing the less likeable of the two characters.
At three hours, it does run for more than a little too long, but split across two nights' viewing, or with a big break in between instalments, it doesn't feel too bad. There are moments when its television roots are felt, and with a complete lack of any real bloodshed or sex, harder horror fans may be disappointed. Others will baulk at the monster's good looks, expecting the traditional bolts-through-the-neck flat-headed Boris Karloff approach. It's hard not to argue there, although it could be worse still – have you seen square-jawed, buff Aaron Eckhart lately? Of all the monster's changing faces, I, Frankenstein is by far the prettiest.
If it's a faithful yet attractive version of a classic horror novel you're after, you could do far worse than this particular Frankenstein.