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Mutatis-Mutandis
01-08-2009, 10:00 AM
I just read Frankenstein, a story I have always wanted to read. It was very interesting, mostly because how very different it is from all the movie adaptations. Sure, I expected some differences, but it seems the only ideas the movies have taken from the book are someone creating a living person from non-living materials, and the similarities end there.

Spoilers ahead.

The biggest difference that struck me was how intelligent The Creature was. In all the movies (the ones I've seen, anyways), he is too stupid to even talk. In the book, though, he has an elaborate speech discussing himself and the nature of humanity, and how he will never fit in.

I was also surprised at how early on he creates the monster, and from there the monster is his tormentor. In the movies, he was never really portrayed as a bad guy, just confused, and we even sympathize with him. Now, I did in the novel, especially when he discussed his rejection by the family he watched, but the sympathy dissipated when he went on his killing spree.

The character of Frankenstein was an odd one, and I had mixed feelings about him. He seemed very selfish. I couldn't help but note the many times he complained of how much more miserable he was than everyone else. This got a little old.

This book was nothing like I suspected. No town that revolted against Frankenstein. No tragic death of The Creature. No Igor. No exultations of, "It's alive! It's alive!" The Creature wasn't even afraid of fire. He actually liked it!

I wonder why there hasn't been an adaptation that follows the book. I think it would make a good miniseries.

Amylian
01-08-2009, 12:24 PM
I finished the book last week and I really had a good, enjoyable time reading it...

'He seemed very selfish'
It is in our nature, I think, that selfishness is developed through many stages of oppression and loneliness. Being abandoned and brutalized by the ones whom you think would be great friends and family and even God himself, selfishness is absulotly needed; otherwise, one cannot survive.

As for me movies, have you seen the one performed by Robert De'nero? If not, I recommend it as it was the best one so far. That is what I think.

JCamilo
01-08-2009, 12:44 PM
I just read Frankenstein, a story I have always wanted to read. It was very interesting, mostly because how very different it is from all the movie adaptations. Sure, I expected some differences, but it seems the only ideas the movies have taken from the book are someone creating a living person from non-living materials, and the similarities end there.

Spoilers ahead.

The biggest difference that struck me was how intelligent The Creature was. In all the movies (the ones I've seen, anyways), he is too stupid to even talk. In the book, though, he has an elaborate speech discussing himself and the nature of humanity, and how he will never fit in.

I was also surprised at how early on he creates the monster, and from there the monster is his tormentor. In the movies, he was never really portrayed as a bad guy, just confused, and we even sympathize with him. Now, I did in the novel, especially when he discussed his rejection by the family he watched, but the sympathy dissipated when he went on his killing spree.

The character of Frankenstein was an odd one, and I had mixed feelings about him. He seemed very selfish. I couldn't help but note the many times he complained of how much more miserable he was than everyone else. This got a little old.

This book was nothing like I suspected. No town that revolted against Frankenstein. No tragic death of The Creature. No Igor. No exultations of, "It's alive! It's alive!" The Creature wasn't even afraid of fire. He actually liked it!

I wonder why there hasn't been an adaptation that follows the book. I think it would make a good miniseries.

The story of the early adaptations with Boris Karloff is very interesting because it is there where you will find the key to discover why the popular vision of Fraknstein (Science playing god, a monster, mad scientists) is so different from philosophical book, studies about pedagogy and responsability (not about scientific responsabiliy but more about parental responsability)... It also reflects the changes from the romantic approach of early XIX century and the pratical moralism of modernism.
One of the reasons was of course technical and others a matter of style (the horror movies of that time would not go up without a monster).
I would say the best adaptation still Young Frankstein by Mel Brooks :D

Janine
01-08-2009, 12:59 PM
Mutatis-Mutandi, I have read this book several times now and I love it; I also just listened to the audiofile narrated by Kenneth Branagh...abridged version of the novel, but very good. I think the best adaptation was the one directed by Kenneth Branagh; he also plays Victor. It follows the book and the idea the closest, of any of the films. It is far from perfect, in that it goes off track a bit towards the climax, in my opinion, (perhaps trying to incorporate the sequel, not really sure); but then again, they were looking to make a 'horror' genre film and it pretty much becomes that, but with the much 'deeper meaning' that Mary Shelley was getting across in her book - Promethius unbound. The ending is quite good and close to the novel ending. The creature is played by Robert DeNiro, who indeed does play the role with high intelligence, nothing like the roles that have been enacted with the creature, being just plain dumb or unrecognizable; no this creature has a true persona, which is complex. This film also has an excellent supporting cast. I would suggest checking it out. It is the most true to the novel and it is entertaining on top of that. I really like this film, even if the critics sort of trashed it. It is still going strong selling on Amazon so that has to say something about critics; they are not always right.

I also saw a film a teacher friend lend to me - this was on all the Frankenstein films ever made. That was quite interesting. This way also you can compare.

Now the film "Young Frankenstein" has it's merits but it is a parody/comedy; so don't expect it to follow the novel. It is very funny and well worth a viewing. Now it has become such a cult classic.

Mutatis-Mutandis
01-08-2009, 07:01 PM
Lol, Young Frankenstein. Just thinking about that movie makes me laugh.

I never heard of the De'Niro version, and I will definitely check it out.

I thought the book was much more representative of the Victorian era, as it pretty much had a lesson to teach; not to play God.

JCamilo
01-08-2009, 08:41 PM
nah, that is not the lesson, the Shelleys had quite some trust on progress and science and also they are not religous (Percey being Ateist), the message is : be responsable for those you create, it is your responsability for what they will do in society (being both, specially Mary under Rousseau influence, the father of modern pedagogy)...

Silas Thorne
01-08-2009, 09:23 PM
Yes, I think it was about, which is connected to what you have just said JCamillo, how everyone has the innate potential for good or evil from birth, but this ultimately depends on how we are treated by others. This does not have to be our parents.
I always remember the section with the old blind man. By being treaten with more kindness and love, the 'monster' could have become something entirely different.
But this is only one perspective on personality, the 'blank slate' hypothesis. Others have had quite different ideas.

Helen_of_Troy
03-26-2009, 06:57 PM
The character of Frankenstein was an odd one, and I had mixed feelings about him. He seemed very selfish.

Yeah... I've always found that Frankenstein was kind of wimpy and hypocritical. As the book goes on, Victor and the monster become more and more similar, and Victor just can't see it. And Victor is also too thick to realize that the monster isn't inherently evil, but turned to evil deeds by circumstance.

Even though he's killed a bunch of people... I side with the monster.

Homers_child
04-13-2009, 09:39 PM
Yeah... I've always found that Frankenstein was kind of wimpy and hypocritical.

... And he lacks any sort of common sense for a supposed genius who brought lifeless matter to life. :lol:

I'm sorry. I had mixed feelings about Frankenstein. I enjoyed the book but Frankenstein was indeed a wimp and very blind. How many times did he fall into one of his 'fits' again? And please... after the monster went on and on about wanting Victor to despise the light of day and then saying 'I'll be with you on your wedding night', Victor honestly believes that the monster wants to kill HIM? Come on. The first thing I thought was... oh great, the monster is going to kill Elizabeth... and then Victor starts crying about his numbered days. :sick:

Gladys
07-14-2009, 07:12 AM
I'm sorry. I had mixed feelings about Frankenstein.

I've just finished reading. Is there any act in the novel more reprehensible than Victor Frankenstein summarily abandoning his newborn child? And does Victor experience guilt?

Coco
07-19-2009, 02:58 PM
The 1931 film was strangely edited. In the original, Victor says "At last I know what it feels like to be God!" when the creature comes to life. The studio decided that this was "too much" to put on film, so the scene is edited to cover the line with thunder. Watch it closely and you can read his lips in that scene.

Sadly, this is the whole point of Shelley's novel: to play God is to bring about one's destruction. The filmmakers just didn't dare put such an idea into the public's heads, I guess.

JCamilo
07-19-2009, 03:16 PM
Actually the movie that focused on God and playing with that. Shelleys are not religious, athestist actually and both believed in the scientific progress. Frankstein is not a mad scientist the God is a father, the theme of the book is education and not religiousity.

Gladys
07-20-2009, 01:24 AM
Sadly, this is the whole point of Shelley's novel: to play God is to bring about one's destruction.

Victor plays God in the sense that he creates a 'human' life without regard for ethical consequences. Human cloning is a modern day equivalent, except that the Creature is visually repugnant. And Victor is destroyed through his creation.