I, Frankenstein (2014): A Patchwork Super Hero

Aaron Eckhart as Adam in I, Frankenstein
Quite an odd film I, Frankenstein, with its selling of the monster as a patchwork super hero, via this 2014 offering from Australia and the USA that feels like an amalgamation of the 2003 film Underworld. The presence of Bill Nighy along with Kevin Grevioux helps to reinforce this feeling. The fact that the theme is about a centuries long war between two powerful factions also makes the movie feel very similar to the Kate Beckinsale vehicle.

Starring Aaron Eckhart (Battle Los Angeles, The Dark Knight), Nighy, Miranda Ott (War of the Worlds, What Lies Beneath), Jai Courtney (Divergent, A Good Day to Die Hard), Grevioux, and a brilliant cameo by Mad Max alumni Bruce Spence, I, Frankenstein is directed and co-written by Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and begins with Frankenstein’s monster recounting his beginnings via voice-over by Eckhart.

As he relates the tale and brings the audience up to date, as it were, the presence of angels, sort of, and demons, are brought to light. The demons, headed up by Bill Nighy’s big bad, Naberius want to capture “Adam” as he is dubbed by the “gargoyle” clan of angels, and make more just like him.

The plan is to make these soul-less creatures vessels for a multitude of demons to occupy and then take over the earth. Miranda Ott’s gargoyle goodies, with bad-boy Gideon (Courtney) try to help Adam but he is having none of it and strikes out on his own.

Quite a long time passes before Adam comes back to civilization and when he does return life has moved on and gotten very sophisticated. Naberius aka Wessex has hired a couple of scientists to reanimate the dead, just like Victor Frankenstein, and he wants either Adam or the journal of his maker to help Terra Wade to be completely successful in her experiment.

Adam takes quite a fancy to Terra and fights not just the demons but the gargoyles as well. In the process he gains a soul, a little like a patchwork monstrous version of Pinocchio, and becomes a real big boy.

The film, with its Underworld feel, is entertaining and one of those popcorn munching treats that do not require much in the way of interpretation or message. Nighy’s demon is a variation of his Marcus the vampire leader just more villainous and without the massive wings. Grevioux still has the deepest voice of any actor in existence and sadly, he does not get to “Hulk out” till the end.

Eckhart is the draw here. He of the ruggedly macho, yet intelligent, voice kills the voice over and the actor manages to make his Frankenstein monster a perfect blend of abandoned rage and vulnerability. Jai Courtney does what he does best; which is act pretty snotty and pick on the hero, think Divergent here, and unlike his Jack McClane, son of John, has no chance for redemption.

It was nice to see Kiwi actor Bruce Spence, although one did expect him to break out his flying machine somewhere along the way.

This CG heavy film entertains despite the idea that by the end of I, Frankenstein that Adam is some sort of superhero watching out for all the mortals and fighting evil. There are enough action sequences and epic battles between demons, Adam and the gargoyles to keep things moving along and overall this is a fun film that takes an old classic tale and puts a spin on it.

Streaming on Netflix at the moment, I, Frankenstein is a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars and would have gotten 4 if there had been more Nighy.

So Long Taste Buds My Old Friends

Slightly better than connect the dots.

So, it’s been over a month now since my ‘life changing’ heart attack and resultant two surgeries (one of which was an emergency). My scars are now looking more like pink ‘stretch-marks‘ and less like a Frankenstein cross-stitch. I have lost weight (this is a good thing according to my doctor) and I’ve got my first follow on appointment with my cardiologist/surgeon.

I no longer smoke cigarettes, relying instead on nicotine patches and ‘harmless’ e-cigs which have no nicotine and gives me the ‘placebo’ of inhaling something non carcinogenic and that isn’t just air. So far my cravings for the old demon weed is non-existent. To be honest though, the best deterrent in the world is that sensation of acute pain brought on by a heart attack.

When I was discharged from the hospital, my cardiologist explained that I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I was ‘healing’ she said and my body needed all the nutrients it could get. My new diet would start later after I’d gotten back on my feet.

What no-one explained was that when I first got out of the hospital, everything I ate would taste like ash. Salt, which had been my lifelong friend, burned my mouth and other spicy things that I had grown to love now tasted horrid. I soldiered on and kept trying to eat to heal.

Unfortunately, the other thing no one warned me about was my loss of appetite. Oh my spirit was willing alright, but, the room just wasn’t there. It’s like they’d taken my stomach in an inch or two while they worked on my leaky pipes and clogged arteries. I just didn’t have enough space in there to eat anywhere near the amount I used to.

But good things come to those who wait and my taste buds soon regained their old habits (except for the salt thing, it still burns my mouth). I started craving certain spices and foods that had long been on my favorite list.

Then?

Tragedy struck.

I went to my first appointment with my local cardiologist. It had been decided that my recuperating period was over. Now I had to start eating healthily and I needed to avoid foods that I’d eaten all my life.

Steak, bacon, pork chops, cheese (unless it’s in the form of cottage cheese) and most forms of red meat were verboten.  Butter, chips (aka french fries) anything fried (unless it was done in olive oil and then only lightly) or anything that even remotely resembled tasty food.

My recovering heart sank as the list of bad foods got longer. I could see a future of tofu, soybean meat substitutes and vegetables that I don’t even like to look at let alone eat.

I was given a list of ‘heart clubs’ and a couple of booklets with ‘healthy dishes’ in them for future reference. I also had been told I needed to contact these clubs for support. I felt that I’d been sentenced to a life of bland.

I don’t know what it is, but they say it tastes like chicken.

Fortunately for me, I don’t eat that much red meat. Chicken is eaten on a regular basis. Fish is eaten quite a lot as well, but not in the oily category. Mackerel, Herring and  Eel are too smelly and rich for my taste buds. Tuna and sardines are alright but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat them.

I haven’t been brave enough to look at all the recipes in the booklet yet. I have had a glance or two inside one and the first thing I noticed was a cheerful picture of an aubergine aka eggplant. My blood curdled. If ever there was a more disgusting tasting vegetable than the eggplant (actually as I set writing this, I think that cooked celery might just tie the aubergine for disgusting)…

Don’t get me wrong, I do like vegetables and quite a lot of them. Unfortunately the way I like my veg is drenched in salt and butter. Neither of which is on my list of foods to eat.

I know, I’m moaning and whining about a very little thing here. It was my prior eating habits and lifestyle that got me hospital bound to start with. I will say though, with not a trace of embarrassment or regret, it does seem like I’m still being penalized for that old life style.

It sort of makes me think of that old joke. You know the one, I’m sure. An old guy is setting outside the town’s barbershop and he’s telling a group of young men how to live longer. “You don’t smoke, drink or chase wild women,” he says. “And you’ll life longer?” One of the young men asks. “No,” replies the old man, “You just feel older.”

Watch out for them wild women boy.