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Frankenstein and his monster are two of the most iconic beings in the realm of cinema. Based on Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein novel, the characters inhabiting this universe now come with a certain set of audience expectations. According to Victor Frankenstein director Paul McGuigan, those expectations must be avoided.
McGuigan has been incredibly vocal about his desire to deviate from the source material, according to Screen Rant, and he wants to strike new ground with a story of his own:
We give a lot of backstory to it. And it’s our backstory, it’s what we’ve chosen to make up. There’s not a reverence to the book. I think sometimes people are over-reverent about the book. It’s got a fantastic premise, I don’t know if you’ve ever read it, but it’s dull as dishwater, in my opinion.
So while he seems to have an appreciation for the basic framework of the source material upon which Victor Frankenstein is based, he does not feel a sense of devotion to telling that specific story. In his own words, as iconic as the original novel is, it doesn't necessarily hold up for modern audiences. Trailers and marketing material have already made that abundantly clear; Victor Frankenstein is an apparently much more action-heavy, modernized, "buddy movie" than anything we have seen come out of this universe before. Check out the trailer for Victor Frankenstein below to see for yourself:
This sort of creative decision can prove to be somewhat of a double-edged sword for filmmakers, or anyone adapting a story. While some segments of the audience wholeheartedly want to see the property taken in a different and fresh direction, just as many others in the audience want to see a reverence for what has already been done. It’s one of the main reasons a film like Man of Steel proved so divisive; while technically an honorable adaptation and update of the Superman from the comic books, the film differed drastically from Richard Donner’s iconic version of a cinematic Superman, and as such many audiences were turned of by it. On the other hand, 2006’s Superman Returns went the opposite direction and suffered because it was too beholden to Donner. Paul McGuigan seemingly intends to avoid this by striking out entirely on his own – showing direct reverence for neither the source literature, nor the previous cinematic incarnations of Frankenstein and his monster.
So if you’re an ardent Frankenstein fan, you may have a sense of what to expect going into Victor Frankenstein, but it won’t be the same old thing you have come to expect from a story of this ilk. Victor Frankenstein stars James McAvoy as the titular scientist, and Daniel Radcliffe co-stars as his assistant and friend Igor, and the film is currently in theaters.