There have been several incarnations of Mary Shelley’s famous monster over the years from James Whale to Kenneth Branagh, and being that in the last ten years there has been decent money made off of re-inventing the classic monsters it’s no surprise that the producers of the Underworld series would have a go at Shelley’s creation as well.
The movie starts out ballsy enough with a narrative recap of the original story that lasts a whole two minutes. Talk about concise. We are told Dr. Frankenstein resurrected a corpse with ‘science’, then abandoned his creation which resulted in a nasty feud between the two that ended with the death of Victor Frankenstein and his bride. Just as Frankenstein’s monster buries his creator he is set upon by a group of Demons that are working for a Demon prince named Naberius (Bill Nighy) who want the creature for some nefarious purpose.
Lucky for The Monster some gargoyles are perched nearby and they come to his rescue. It seems that there is a secret war going on (Is it just me or does it seem like there are a lot of secret wars out there?) between Demons and Gargoyles. The Demons are the legions that escaped the fall of Lucifer and ended up on Earth while the Gargoyles are descendants of the Archangel Michael and are on Earth to defend humanity.
The Gargoyles switch between crappy CGI stoned warriors to generic gothic fighters while the Demons look human until the go all flamey face. Neither one all that impressive. Leonore (Miranda Otto) Queen of the Gargoyles wants the Monster, who she names Adam (Aaron Eckhart), to join them in this war but he is still pissed at being created and not getting the girlfriend Victor promised, so instead he decides to wander the wilderness for a couple of centuries. When he finally gets bored of camping he enters the modern world to hunt for Naberius.
I gleefully bought into the ridiculous mythology because I’m a sucker for that goofy shit. I’ve watched the Underworld movies countless times and even though they fail to make a lick of sense I still enjoy them. Where this film fails is in giving us a bunch of characters we couldn’t care less about. Aaron Eckhart is sorely miscast as Adam the Monster; he is a good actor but does not have the physical presence to carry off the part.
There is a human scientist played by Yvonne Stragovski and is, I guess, supposed to be a possible love interest if the series continued, but she is as bland as dry white toast.
Jai Courtney of A Good Day to Die Hard fame is a Gargoyle warrior that wants Adam dead but is so boring and one note that you keep forgetting he exists whenever he’s not on screen. But then there’s Bill Nighy who is great even when he’s phoning it in, and I always enjoy watching him. So we will give him a pass.
As mentioned the movie is from the creators of the Underworld films and you can really tell as it borrows heavily from that series, it also has taken major plot points from Van Helsing as Naberius wants to awaken an army using Frankenstein’s mad science just as Dracula wanted to do in Van Helsing. So it certainly gets no points for originality. That the film is only 92 minutes long is its strongest saving grace as the ridiculous plot and two dimensional characters are not around long enough to become grating.
Not a terrible film but not that good either. All said and done I wish someone had decided to make a live action version of the Gargoyles cartoon instead.