Production departs from the host of other Frankensteins in its bright visual look, its lush Maurice Jarre score, its view of women, its younger characters, and its romantic scope.
Pic opens with a jolting laboratory sequence, when Sting as Baron Frankenstein brings to life the gauze-wrapped Jennifer Beals as the doctor’s original monster creation looks on with frothing agitation.
The ensuing fairy tale aura of the story is merely leisurely rather than enthralling. In opting to tone down the horror aspect of the genre, producer Victor Drai and his team have created another kind of monster: a Frankenstein movie that’s not scary. The result culminates in silliness when the bride and her hulking mate-to-be (wonderfully played by Clancy Brown) collapse in each other’s arms at the top of the baron’s castle.
While there is deliberate humor at times, most of it successfully produced by a lilting dwarf character who steals the movie (David Rappaport), the intention of the filmmakers is not camp. That’s both the pic’s virtue and, at the conclusion, its downfall.
Screenwriter Lloyd Fonvielle (who collaborated with director Franc Roddam on The Lords of Discipline) weaves, in concept, a nice balancing act between the monster and the dwarf. Increasingly, this odd couple attracts interest while momentum flags in the Sting-Beals relationship.
Lensing, largely in southern France, is a strong production value.