Victoria Frankenstein -
Henry Clerval -
Andrew Waldman -
Jane Pretorius -
OTHER CLASSIC HORRORS
OTHER HORROR SHOWS
Frankenstein - First Transmitted 24th October 2007
Stem cell researcher Victoria Frankenstein is driven in her research to provide a replacement heart for her ailing son. When his condition deteriorates, she introduces his dna into the mix to create a whole range of replacement organs all coded so that they will not be rejected. In her desperation, she cuts corners on the ethics front and from her meddling a new creature is created, a creature with immense strength and speed and only the intelligence of a newborn.
Following hot on the tail of the BBC's updating of JEKYLL, ITV present their update of another great gothic horror tale, but whilst the BBC spread their tale over six hour-long episodes, this drama lasts only 90 minutes and that proves not to be enough to do justice to the story. It bears all the hallmarks of having been hacked up in the editing suite to get it down to a desired timeslot. Characters are barely sketched in, undergo complete changes of viewpoint and personality with no explanation and the creature gets absolutely no time to become a credible threat before it is thrown into victim mode.
Take Lindsay Duncan's Professor Pretorius. She complains about the dodgy ethics of the intial research in the beginning, but when the rules are broken much more seriously later on she decides that it's great and eventually is a driving force behind the additional research. Whether she is a head of the university where the research is taking place or someone on the national ethics committee is never explained. She is just there and has the power to shut down or carry on the research.
Frankenstein's husband starts off as an ex-husband, turns into a secret agent, head of a research company and then fugitive from his own people without any real explanation.
This is a shame because there are actually some very decent ideas buried away amongst the mess. The positive possibilities of stem cell research are presented convincingly and then the spectre of 'organ farming' arises chillingly later on. There's a supervolcano raging in the background (although this disappears after a single mention). The bond that the parents feel with the monster based on its genetic origin hints at cloning concerns. The scene where the little girl is killed with brutal casualness is extremely well done.
The performances are perfunctory, possibly because the characters are so poorly written and not given enough time to develop. Helen McCrory gets the best shot at it and manages the strongest performance. Nobody else really gets the opportunity to create any depth and as a result don't.
The monster also never gets a chance to develop a personality, even after it comes out of the dark and starts getting tortured. The torture is there to get our sympathy for it as we haven't had a chance to connect with it. Our dislike of the unnecessary methods of the captors is meant to take the place of real empathy. The creature is reasonably well realised, but it is neither human enough to identify with nor monstrous enough to repel.
FRANKENSTEIN is a chance that is significantly wasted whilst hinting at the possibilities that might have been.
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