November 8, 1994 -- ``Mary Shelley's Frankenstein'' is a new, lavish production of this often-told tale of scientific hubris.
Despite the fact that the multi-talented Kenneth Branaugh both directs and stars in the film (He did a brilliant job in ``Henry V'' and ``Much Ado About Nothing'') this film is laughably overdone.
Overacting and over-the-top melodrama abound in this jazzed-up version of the story. Only Robert De Niro seems to hit the mark in his performance as a restrained and intelligent monster. The film is filled with blood and gore from beginning to end. The musical score was, like the story, very overwrought.
There are good actors in the film, including Branaugh, Tom Hulce and John Cleese (the Python man plays a straight-laced Professor Waldman), but Branaugh's direction is so overly melodramatic that I found myself laughing at some supposedly dramatic scenes. It was like a monster soap opera.
The special effects, on the other hand, are well done and the story does try to stick to Mary Shelly's original story a little closer in some respects than other film versions have. At the end, I found myself in agreement with David Ansen's review in Newsweek. We both feel a far better movie came out 21 years ago: The 1973 made-for-tv film, ``Frankenstein: The True Story.'' That film had a superior, thought-provoking screenplay by Christopher Isherwood.
The current ``Frankenstein,'' well-intentioned and ambitious, big budget and all, rates only a C.
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