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Gods and Monsters (1998)

There are only a few things in this movie that are bothersome, but I will get over them, because I should, and this film attempts to take us on a voyage of human behavior and should be allowed to do so. However, Bill Condon (Director/Screenwriter) and company, including Clive Barker as Executive Producer, dwelled in too many ponds and never got around to the grand lake.

Frank Whale (Ian McKellan) is a lonely forgotten movie director, famous for Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, among others, of which his last few days are represented here vaguely and sometimes with comedic affect; much like his aforementioned works. Given a great deal of time to fill, Whale usually has his way until a mild stroke sends his brain into way-back drive, and he begins to vision the past at almost every turn..., and scene. Based on the fictionalized recount of Frank Whale's remaining days, the movie seems like a dust jacket for this preeminent director, whose working days were cut short because of his out-of-sync style, and perhaps also his grandiose lifestyle. The producers show a suffering man, but we the viewers suffer the most by just seeing the skin and not the whole.

And in a total reversal of the movie's byline, or even its synopsis, there is no heart warming relationship glowing from the scenes between Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser) and the septuagenarian Frank -- go figure!

The writing has its bouts, for instance, when Frank says of his gardener Boone, "He's never met a princess before, only Queens." This is the purest, most funny line of the whole movie...sorry. If you are a patient one, Lynn Redgrave gives a very loony performance of a maid that is more house mother than servant, and is the epitome of whale's movie characters; both down-to-earth and zany. All-in-all, the writing is not the worst.

Visually good, there are some worthy scenes, especially those concerning Whale and his final destination which is shown repeatedly with a horror motif akin to his 'monster' movies. Though I can see that his movie was made for the big screen; larger than life, of which Frank Whale wanted to be.

On behalf of all movie-goers everywhere, I say, "Ian McKellan is god!" For the others, Brendan Fraser stretches till he pulls a muscle, and Lynn Redgrave comes to life as a pallid, over bearing mother, and the actors that play real-life heroes Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester make me wish for a movie about the making of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Well, since that probably will not happen, I guess we can just cobble something together in our heads.

Cinematography: 3
Screenplay: 2
Acting: 2
Overall: 2.33

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