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Jun 16th 2015

The Frankenstein Argument

Can Daniel Radcliffe have a long film career? The Harry Potter film series turned him into a star, but many couldn't imagined him portray a role without an accent. He's far from the likes of Cary Grant, British thespians who became Hollywood leading men. Radcliffe is currently filming the sequel to "Now You See Me", set for theatrical release on June 10, 2016. He will be next seen in Jude Apatow's “Trainwreck”. "Victor Frankenstein" is expected to be released on November 25, where Radcliffe will play the devoted assistant to a mad scientist. It's the latest adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic novel.

The opening scene of "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) showed a bored Shelley, with her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and their good friend Lord Byron. It was raining hard. It gave her an idea on how to amuse themselves. This was one of James Whale's ideas, which turned the film into a hit. Viewers find some scenes too outrageous (like Elsa Lanchester's conical hairdo), while the rest might upset their sensibility. Some believe that Whale's Frankenstein is the definitive version of the novel, but there have been too many adaptations. It has almost been two hundred years since its initial publication, but the public fascination (to the book) didn't wane.

The root of all evil

“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.”

The premise of "Frankenstein" is about man's ability to manipulate nature. It's a conflicting issue, even if human civilization benefit from it. It's hard to determine the outcome, as setback can cause harm. It can be good entertainment, though. (One scene in "Alien Resurrection" revealed failed clones of Ellen Ripley. Military scientists tried to create a perfect one using DNA from blood sample taken before her death. Scenes from the previous film showed the embryo of an Alien queen growing inside of her.) But this may not be Shelley's primary inspiration (to write the book). This tale has all the distinctive features of a Gothic novel, and readers can't get enough of it.

Reading a Gothic book gives false courage to anyone who dares to venture beyond the first chapter. Readers are assured that nothing will happen to them, unless they dream about it. But they'll discover the awful truth. Solitude is the cause of human suffering. Frankenstein is scared and confused, but readers (and moviegoers) rather see him as a scary figure. That's entertainment.

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