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This review is from: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [DVD]  (DVD)
Few would argue that Mary Shelley's novel is a great as distinct from a famous and significant novel. There are important ideas raised by her tale of a modern Prometheus but she hasn't the skills to realise them: she was, after all, just nineteen when she wrote it.
Adaptations seize upon the theme but take all sorts of liberties with her plot and characterisation. Brannagh claims this to be the film of Mary Shelley's novel and compared with a Hammer Horror, it is remarkably faithful to the outline of the plot and contains some intelligent restructuring of events. Unfortunately, Brannagh, infatuated by Helena Bonham Carter, turns the film into a vehicle for her trademark battiness (just as he did in Hamlet); she likes nothing more than dressing up in old clothes and setting fire to herself (vide her apotheosis as a travesty of Miss Havisham) : she doesn't really do ethereal chastity or plausibly nineteenth century womanhood along the lines of Shelley's untouchable Elizabeth. So the film becomes just another melodramatic romp, based on Shelley's novel but faithful neither to its tone nor its procedures. Even the message is confused: here the Monster has a murderer's genes whereas the whole point is that we should see him as a noble savage, corrupted by a prejudiced and flawed society. It's a pity: Robert de Nero is potentially as engaging a character as Frankenstein's creation is in the novel: he really deserves far more screen time. Unfortunately, his part is curtailed just so Brannagh can spend precious minutes showing off his body, groping Miss Bonham Carter and resurrecting her, absurdly, so she can do her party piece as a Monster Bride. Auditioning for Tim Burton, in effect.
Film people amusing themselves at huge expense. I wonder if anyone will ever film Mary Shelley's novel as written?