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TV Review: FRANKENSTEIN (USA Network)

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PHOTOGRAPHY

FRANKSTEIN (USA ORIGINAL MOVIE)

TV Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 85 minutes (without commercials),

9 pm to 11 pm ET on Sunday October 10, 2004

Starring Parker Posey (Detective Carson O'Connor), Vincent Perez (Deucalion), Thomas Kretschmann (Viktor Helios), Adam Goldberg (Detective Sloane), Ivana Milicevic (Erika), and Michael Madsen (Detecive Harker)

Written by Mark Shiban

Directed by Marcus Nispel

PLOT: Two New Orleans police detectives hunt for the serial killed known as the Surgeon while a man has come to town to kill the person who created him 200 years ago (and put a stop to his dabbling in genetic engineering and genetic manipulation).

ANALYSIS: Doesn't it always seem like we get two projects on the same thing? Years ago DEEP IMPACT and ARMAGEDDON showed up in the same summer in movie theaters. Now we have two FRANKENSTEIN projects showing within 6 days apart from each other. HALLMARK Channel aired their 2 part mini-series on Tuesday and Wednesday night, and then USA Network airs a modern take on FRANKENSTEIN on Sunday. The USA Network movie is intended as a springboard for a possible series (they had a small number of scripts commissioned in case the movie is popular enough to warrant a series). This new modernized take on FRANKENSTEIN takes the story into the 21st century in a very stylish version which is one part cop show. Lots of things are going on in a very ambitious attempt that succeeds on some levels while other factors will be judged when it is known if this movie will bring about a TV series.

FRANKENSTEIN has three major plotlines that are connected to each other in some aspects. Plot A has Detective Carson O'Conor and Detective Michael Sloane (her partner) investing murders done by the Surgeon. Plot B sees Deucalion (the first creation of Dr. Helios) arriving in New Orleans wanting to stop Victor Helios. He soon comes into Plot A by helping Carson catch the Surgeon. Plot C follows Victor Helios and shows what type of man he has become since he created Deucalion 200 years ago. He wants perfection and even created Erika to be his wife. Victor wants to help the Surgeon since he is one of Victor's creations. He is working on a new race of people to ultimately replace mankind. The catch is that Victor has instilled in each of them the will to live (and the inability to take their own lives) and unable to reproduce (until The Surgeon who is mutating).

Vincent Perez continues to try to get his big break in the USA and I did like him as Deucalion. Thomas Kretschmann even portrays Victor Helios as a very human (and yet not the most moral) person who will kill if needed and destroy any evidence threatening to expose his genetically engineered creations to the world. Victor even has sexual performance problems in one scene as he is obsessed with creating perfection even if it means he has to create his wife again. Parker Posey sometimes hits the mark as Carson, but other times she feels like she has been miscast. However I will give her the benefit of the doubt as it looks like she is trying not to be typecast in quirky roles in independent films and expand her range of roles.

Then there is Ivan Milicevic who can be sexy one moment and vulnerable the next, and she's a definite hottie too. She mad Erika work as a character who wants to please Victor, the man who wants perfection.

Despite some odd delivery of lines that come off as money by some actors, this is a very well paced movie. Marcus Nispel's direction brings Mark Shiban's script to life like it was Se7en or an episode of Chris Carter's Millennium. The way the colors and blacks are shot helps to bring me into the world of this movie.

Overall I wanted to see more of FRANKENSTEIN when the movie ended. I do think this FRANKENSTEIN is better than the Hallmark Channel mini-series. Bring on the series soon, USA.

ASPECT RATIO- The movie is in 16x9 letterbox (1.78:1 widescreen).

PRESS KIT: Pretty bland generic grey USA Network folder with 13 pages of biographies of the cast (and major crew members) and production info.

this review is (c)10-7-2004 David Blackwell. This review cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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