Victor Frankenstein (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul McGuigan|
|Produced by||John Davis|
|Written by||Max Landis|
by Mary Shelley
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Edited by||Andrew Hulme|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$34.2 million|
Victor Frankenstein is a 2015 American science fiction fantasy horror film based on contemporary adaptations of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein. It is directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Max Landis. Starring James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor, the film was released by 20th Century Fox on November 25, 2015.
Told from Igor's perspective, it shows the troubled young assistant's dark origins and his redemptive friendship with the young medical student, Victor Frankenstein. Through Igor's eyes, the audience witnesses the emergence of Frankenstein as the man from the legend we know today. Eventually, their experiments get them into trouble with the authorities, and Dr. Frankenstein and Igor become fugitives as they complete their goals to use science as a way to create life from death. The film received generally negative reviews and became a box office bomb, grossing $34.2 million against a budget of $40 million.
In London, ambitious medical student Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) attends a circus performance, where he helps save an injured aerialist, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay), by aid of a nameless hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) enslaved by the circus' ringleader, and who harbors feelings for the girl. Impressed by the hunchback's vast knowledge of human anatomy, acquired from stolen books, Victor rescues him, drains the cyst on his back that causes his physical abnormality and develops a harness to improve his posture, and then names him "Igor Straussman" after a recently deceased roommate. The two then become partners in Victor's ongoing experiments to create life through artificial means, incurring the wrath of religious police inspector Roderick Turpin (Andrew Scott), who views their experiments as sinful.
After Igor suggests they use electricity to animate their creations, Victor procures parts from dead animals and creates a monstrous chimpanzee-esque creature nicknamed "Gordon". Meanwhile, Igor reunites with Lorelei, now masquerading as the mistress of a closeted homosexual baron, and the two develop an affair, upsetting Victor, who views Lorelei as a distraction. Igor invites Lorelei to a demonstration of their experiment, which goes awry when Gordon escapes and wreaks havoc through the university before being killed by Victor and Igor. Lorelei is horrified by Victor's experiments and urges Igor to dissuade him from pursuing the matter further, but Igor is reluctant to do so upon learning that Victor is driven by the need to atone for his indirect role in the death of his older brother, Henry, for which Victor's domineering father, Mr. Frankenstein (Charles Dance), blames Victor.
Victor is expelled from college for his unorthodox methods, and later approached by his wealthy, arrogant classmate Finnegan (Freddie Fox), who wants him to create an artificial humanoid creature. Victor and Igor outline a behemoth being known as "Prometheus", but Igor's deepening relationship with Lorelei soon causes a rift between them. Shortly afterwards, Turpin and his men raid Victor's laboratory, hellbent on destroying his inventions, and during an altercation with Victor, Turpin loses both a hand and one of his eyes, while Victor and Igor are extracted by Finnegan's men and taken to his family's estate in Scotland, where Finnegan provides them with the necessary funds to build Prometheus. Igor is mistrustful of Finnegan and leaves after having a falling out with Victor. Finnegan later kidnaps and binds him, revealing his plans to kill Victor once Prometheus is complete and weaponize his creation. Igor is then thrown into the River Thames to drown, but manages to escape and reunites with Lorelei, who nurses him back to health.
Once recovered, Igor returns to Finnegan's estate with Lorelei in tow in order to rescue Victor, and finds Victor on the verge of using lightning to animate Prometheus. He ignores Igor's pleas not to and activates the machine. Due to a power surge the machinery overloads however, killing Finnegan. After the ensuing chaos, Turpin unexpectedly arrives (after being fired by his superior for not having a search warrant), blaming and threatening Victor for his creation, upon which both realise the experiment was a success and Prometheus came to life. Victor shares a brief moment with Prometheus, thinking him to be his resurrected brother Henry. But he quickly realizes that the experiment is failed: Prometheus had no consciousness and couldn't talk. Shocked Turpin opens fire on Prometheus, who falls in rage and eventually kills Turpin. Disillusioned Victor joins forces with Igor to kill Prometheus by stabbing its two hearts.
After regaining consciousness the next morning, Igor reunites with Lorelei, who hands him a letter written to him by Victor, in which Victor apologizes for all the suffering he caused and recognizes Igor was his "greatest creation". Victor retreats to the Scottish countryside in search of new discoveries.
- James McAvoy as Doctor Victor Frankenstein
- Daniel Radcliffe as Igor Straussman
- Jessica Brown Findlay as Lorelei
- Andrew Scott as Roderick Turpin
- Charles Dance as Baron Frankenstein
- Freddie Fox as Finnegan
- Mark Gatiss as Dettweiler
- Callum Turner as Alistair
- Daniel Mays as Barnaby
- Spencer Wilding and Guillaume Delaunay as Frankenstein's monster aka "Prometheus"
The project was first announced by 20th Century Fox in 2011 with Max Landis set to write the script. Paul McGuigan was announced as the director in September 2012. and Daniel Radcliffe also began talks to join the film that month: officially joined the cast as Igor in March 2013. In July 2013, James McAvoy joined the cast to play Victor Frankenstein. Jessica Brown Findlay joined that September.
In October 2013, the film's release date was delayed from October 17, 2014 to January 16, 2015. In March 2014, the film was pushed back again to October 2, 2015. Filming mostly took place in the United Kingdom, with stage filming at Longcross and Twickenham Film Studios and location shooting at Chatham Historic Dockyard. Principal photography began on November 25, 2013, and ended on March 20, 2014. In June 2015, the film's release date was pushed back from 2 October 2015, to November 25, 2015, which was first assigned to The Peanuts Movie and The Martian.
The first trailer for the film was released by 20th Century Fox on August 18, 2015. 20th Century Fox sent Max Landis, the writer of this film, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to appear on the YouTube show Best of the Worst from Red Letter Media as viral marketing for this film.
Victor Frankenstein grossed $5.8 million in North America and $28.5 million in other territories for a total of $34.2 million, against a budget of $40 million.
In North America, Victor Frankenstein opened on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 alongside Creed and The Good Dinosaur, as well as the wide releases of Brooklyn, Spotlight and Trumbo. The film was originally projected to gross $12 million from 2,797 theaters in its first five days, including $6–8 million in its opening weekend. However, after grossing $175,000 from its Tuesday night screenings and $620,000 on its opening day, five-day projections were lowered to $3–4 million. The film ended up grossing $2.4 million in its opening weekend and $3.4 million over its first five days, breaking the record set by Won't Back Down for the lowest opening gross in over 2,500 theaters.
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On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 24%, based on 124 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "A re-imagining without the imagining, Victor Frankenstein plays at providing a fresh perspective on an oft-told tale, but ultimately offers little of interest that viewers haven't already seen in superior Frankenstein films." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
Empire Magazine rated the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing "Aiming to do for Victor Frankenstein what Guy Richie did for Sherlock Holmes, set in the past but with a playful, postmodern sensibility that zaps new life into Shelley’s 200 year-old Gothic masterpiece." Total Film gave the film an average 3 out of 5. "Each murky frame is bursting with grime and clutter... because everything is too busy, too loud, too determined to do what Guy Ritchie and Mark Gatiss have done for Sherlock Holmes. The result is far from monstrous but it's hardly divine, either."
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