I, Frankenstein begins with a prologue depicting the creation of the Frankenstein monster. The year is 1795, and Victor Frankenstein has brought his creature (Aaron Eckhart) to life through the use of obscure sciences. Out of revenge, the monster kills Dr Frankenstein’s new bride, so Dr Frankenstein vows to hunt down and kill the monster. After following the monster into the frozen wastelands of the North Pole, Dr Frankenstein freezes to death before he can kill the monster.
The monster carries Dr Frankenstein’s body back to the civilised world and tries to bury the body in a churchyard grave. Before he can do so, he is besieged by a horde of demons who want to capture both the monster and the doctor’s journal, which contains the secrets of his reanimation process. In the midst of the battle, a group of Gargoyles flies in and helps the monster to destroy the demons. The Gargoyles grab the monster and fly him back to their cathedral stronghold where they introduce him to Leonore (Miranda Otto), queen of the Gargoyle Order. Leonore names the monster Adam and tells him an ancient war has been raging between the Gargoyles (descendants of archangels) and the demons for hundreds of years. Leonore offers Adam a place in the Gargoyle Order, but Adam refuses. He hides himself away while Queen Leonore hides Dr Frankenstein’s journal for safekeeping.
Two hundred years later Adam has returned to the modern world where he kills demons in the city streets. A demon prince called Naberius (Bill Nighy) has been busy for the past 200 years raising an army of demons by reanimating dead bodies. To achieve his goal, Naberius has employed a brilliant reanimation scientist named Terra (Yvonne Strahovski), who is unaware that Naberius is a demon.
The rest of the movie focuses on Naberius pitting his demon army against the Gargoyles to capture both Adam and Dr Frankenstein’s journal. Meanwhile the Gargoyles are bent on stopping Naberius and his host of demons. In between the two warring groups are Adam and Terra, who have formed the beginnings of a special relationship, with Adam as Terra’s protector.
I, Frankenstein has intense fantasy action and violence including the use of blades and weapons throughout. It has some peril, infrequent blood and gruesome images, and multiple depictions of dead bodies and body parts.
Here are some examples:
- A man pushes a body wrapped in a sheet tied with chains from a bridge into the river below.
- A man freezes to death.
- Frankenstein’s monster kills the bride of Frankenstein. This isn’t shown, but a woman’s scream is heard and a dead woman is shown lying in a bed with blood on her mouth.
- Demons attack Frankenstein’s monster, Adam. One demon pins Adam to the ground and tries to strangle him but Adam stabs the demon in the chest. The demon’s wound erupts in an explosion of red and yellow sparks and fire as though blood was spurting from the wound followed by the demon’s body exploding into a shower of yellow flames and glowing embers.
- Sword-wielding Gargoyles arrive and attack the demons. Gargoyles use swords to stab demons, who then burst into showers of sparks and flames.
- Frankenstein’s monster uses a sword to sever a demon’s arm.
- There is a battle between hundreds of demons and dozens of Gargoyles wielding bladed weapons. One Gargoyle uses an axe to cut a demon in two, and another demon has his head sliced open with an axe. Numerous other demons are sliced open, although no blood and gore is shown.
- A demon uses a sword to slice a Gargoyle from head to pelvis. A beam of blue light escapes from the wound and shoots up into the air before the Gargoyle disintegrates.
- Frankenstein’s monster punches a demon in the face and the demon spits out saliva. The monster pushes the demon’s face into a bowl of holy water as if drowning him. The demon’s face catches on fire and the demon disintegrates.
- Demons use their claw-like fingernails to cut a bloody pentagram shape into the forehead of human victims.
- Adam and a demon fight with metal bar sticks. The demon picks up Adam and throws him against a concrete pillar before kicking him over the ledge of a multistorey building. Adam falls, crashing through several steel beams before landing heavily on the ground.
- In an attempt to coerce a scientist, a demon grabs him by his throat and crushes it. We hear the sound of bones breaking before the man dies.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are several scenes in I, Frankenstein that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- Demons transform from human form into demons. Their faces burn away in a blaze of yellow sparks and flames to reveal savage-looking faces with greyish reptilian skin, red glowing eyes, sharp pointy teeth and twin horns protruding from their foreheads.
- A demon prince is depicted in a similar but more gruesome manner. He has four horns protruding from his forehead.
- Gargoyles transform from human to gargoyle form almost instantaneously. As Gargoyles, their skin has a stone-like texture; their faces have a monster or animal-like appearance with animal-like teeth; they have claws protruding from their fingertips; and they wear cloaks that transform into large dragon-like wings, which enable them fly.
- Frankenstein’s monster has a scar-covered face and body. In one scene, his naked torso is seen covered in large sutures. It looks like it has been cut up into pieces and stitched back together again.
- A demon holds Frankenstein’s monster by the throat while uttering a satanic ritual. This causes a whirlwind of yellow fire (a demon spirit) to swirl around the monster. Then the demon enters the body of the monster through his eyes, causing the monster to convulse and arch his back.
- Thousands of demon spirits take the form of swirling firestorms and try to enter thousands of dead bodies hanging in cages.
- The dead bodies are consumed by fire as the building they are stored in collapses and they are sucked into a bottomless pit, presumably leading to hell.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, there are some scenes in I, Frankenstein that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- Frankenstein’s monster carries the dead Frankenstein over his shoulder and tries to bury the body in a churchyard grave.
- A dead hairless rat is shown wired to a reanimation machine with a multitude of tubes and wires attached to its body. Electrical charges pass through the wires. The rat convulses and comes to life.
- Thousands of dead bodies are shown suspended by chains in iron cages awaiting reanimation.
- There is a dead body on a stretcher with a large chest wound. Someone says that some of the body’s organs are no good. In a laboratory organs, presumably human, are displayed in glass jars.
Children in this age group could be disturbed by the scenes and images from I, Frankenstein mentioned above.
Some younger teenagers could be disturbed by the scenes and images from I, Frankenstein mentioned above.
I, Frankenstein has no sexual references.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
I, Frankenstein shows some use of substances, including one bar scene where people hold glasses of alcohol.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in I, Frankenstein. For example:
- One scene shows Frankenstein’s monster Adam with a bare chest. A woman stitches up cuts on his bare back. In one scene a demon has a bare chest.
- The queen of the Gargoyles is shown with a naked torso and the outline of her stony breasts is evident.
- A couple of scenes show women wearing low-cut tops that reveal some cleavage.
There is no product placement of concern in I, Frankenstein.
There is some coarse language and mild name-calling in I, Frankenstein.
Ideas to discuss with your children
I, Frankenstein is a science fiction horror movie based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. The movie’s main focus is action and special effects rather than character development and story. It is targeted at male teenagers. Some adults will enjoy the action too, but they might find it hard to engage in the story.
The main message from this movie is that physical appearance doesn’t make a person a monster. Rather, how a person acts and behaves can make that person a monster.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness. For example, Frankenstein’s monster, Adam, initially battles with his identity and what he believes in. Over the course of 200 years, however, he changes from someone who cares only for himself and wants revenge to someone who is capable of placing the wellbeing of others above his own. Adam puts himself in danger to protect others. He can see the difference between good and evil and is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the role of humanity and science in the modern-day creation of life such as cloning. In the movie the Gargoyles suggest that God is responsible for creation and that it is both wrong and abominable for people to try to create life. In the modern day, what are the positive benefits of scientific processes such as cloning and stem cell development? Should society put boundaries on this type of scientific research or do boundaries inhibit scientific progress?