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The Creature: Did you ever consider the consequences of your actions? You made me, and you left me to die. Who am I?
Victor Frankenstein: You? I don't know.
The Creature: And you think that I am evil.
The 1994 film version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Unlike Bram Stoker's Dracula, this is actually much closer to the original novel, although many new elements were still added to the story.
At the turn of the 19th century, a ship searching for a route to the North Pole encounters a man wandering the ice. Nearing death, the man says his name is Victor Frankenstein, and he relates a story to the captain explaining how his attempts to play God and reverse Death caused the destruction of his entire world.
This film contains examples of the following Tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion: Justine's character is developed a little further. And then there's a little subplot about reviving Elizabeth.
- All-Star Cast: Branagh plays the good doctor. Tom Hulce is his best friend. Then-girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter is his adoptive sister/fiancee (Yes, you read that right). Ian Holm is his father. Aidan Quinn is the ship's captain. John Cleese is his mentor. And most shocking of all, Robert De Niro is The Creature.
- ...And Show It to You: Though in this case, The Creature actually goes through with his threat and rips out Elizabeth's heart.
- Big No: About a dozen or so.
- That few? (Seriously, there are enough for a drinking-game: one for every Big No, one for every time there's a mob-lynching, one for every time Victor experiments with something that Man was not meant to play with....)
- Brother-Sister Incest: Though to be honest, if you had a sister that looked like Helena Bonham Carter, it would certainly be on your mind.
- And they weren't biologically related.
- Downer Ending
- Faking the Dead: Multiple times, thanks to how the creature looks.
- Fastball Special: The Creature fends off an angry mob this way.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: The movie is set in the late 18th century.
- Ironic Echo: "Raw materials. Nothing more."
- Kill It with Fire: More like, Kill Yourself With Fire
- Large Ham: Synonomous with Kenneth Branagh.
- Mad Scientist: Although not the usual hammy bombastic type, Victor's not entirely psychologically stable.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Justified. The main body used was of a crippled man.
- Mummies At the Dinner Table/Necromantic: After The Creature kills Elizabeth, Victor immediately sets out to revive her. It works, but she quickly kills herself when she realizes what she has become.
- Not Blood Siblings: Granted, Elizabeth was adopted when Victor was just a little boy. Still, when they're kissing passionately as adults, they both admit that even if they were blood related, they would still love each other.
- Not Using the Z Word: Branagh banned the word "Monster" from being used on the set, and instead insisted everyone refer to De Niro's character as the "Sharp Featured Man".
- Of Corsets Sexy: AKA the "Helena Bonham Carter special!"
- Oh Crap: When Victor realizes that his journal (with his name and hometown in it) was in the pocket of the coat The Creature took.
- Pet the Dog: The Creature initially takes refuge in a poor family's barn, and harvests their crops at night. He even saves a blind old man from being beaten.
- Playing Against Type: John Cleese plays Victor's mentor, a reformed mad scientist.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The film takes a part of the book that was often considered a wasted opportunity ( Victor using the tech that created the monster to revive Elizabeth) and changed it to make it a more emotional eerie part of the movie.
- Psycho Electric Eel: What Frankenstein uses to animate The Creature, rather than lightning. How he got them in the middle of Switzerland is anyone's guess.
- Shirtless Scene: Victor's preferred method of doing lab work.
- Another thing: to begin with, most college students lead a fairly sedentary life, and VICTOR has been sitting around in his lab for months...yet he is shown to be bronzed and muscular??
- And don't forget those gymnastics, as he's leaping (from a standing start, no less!) atop his Easy-Bake Life-Giving Oven of DOOM!!
- Shown Their Work: In order to talk more like a person re-learning to speak, De Niro studied recovering stroke victims.
- Soulless Shell: It seem that's what happens to Elizabeth at first, though moments later she regains at least part of her consciousness and commits suicide. Read Mummies At the Dinner Table/Necromantic above.
- ... or actually taken responsibility for The Creature, and acted as a father and a mentor to it instead of recoiling in horror. It's a toss-up as to whether Shelley's theme was that Victor was committing scientific hubris by trying to defy death -- or if his real sin was abdicating responsibility for the results of his work. Branagh is one of the few adapters who even hints at the second interpretation.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Henry Clerval, Victor's best friend. Maybe. We never see him die on-screen.
- Truer to the Text: The intent was to make a more faithful adaptation of the book than previous films had been (hence the In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It title). It has its own quirks, though.
- Ugly Cute: The Creature. It's actually the first time that the
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to Henry? The last time we saw him is him doing a Big No as Victor's revving up his Reanimatormatic, and then....we just leave him there in the burning house.
- What Have I Done: Victor's reaction to seeing The Creature alive.
This film averts the following tropes common to most Frankenstein movies:
- Hulk Speak: The creature learns to speak properly rather quickly.
- The Igor: Frankenstein for the most part works alone.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Victor experiments with a lightning rod, but finds an easier way on conducting the necessary electricity.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The creature shows a surprising amount of maturity and understanding.
- Silly Walk: The Creature has trouble walking at first, but he gets better.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Even The Creature himself realizes that he is an abomination unto nature.
- Uberwald: Most of the story is set in a typical 18th century Swiss city.
- Ugly Cute: The Creature, unlike its famous counterpart.