Frankenstein (ITV Drama Version)
As a fan of the book (studied at A-Level and Degree Level), I was intrigued to see that ITV were screening a modern adaptation of Frankenstein – even more so when I saw the roles were reversed, and that Victor Frankenstein had now become Victoria!
The plot was great – the idea that a biologist would be researching cells and their growth is obviously nothing out of the ordinary – but when it transpired that Victoria’s son was desperately ill in hospital and he needed organ transplants, then you realise why she was so desperate to make the experiment work. Her despair is apparent when she grabs a vial full of her son William’s blood and dashes back to the lab… it’s plain what she is going to do, and you can tell it will all end in tears.
The tale accelerated when Victoria realised that in the purpose-built tank is no longer a series of unconnected organ cells, but an entire being! I did think it was pretty contrived and almost laughable when she said “It’s alive!” – anyone who is familiar with the story will have seen that coming miles off! However, the creepiness increased when the ‘project’ came to life after being struck by the rogue bolt of lightning, disappeared into the night and began wreaking havoc left, right and centre. The fact that to begin with you’re not shown its face really highlights the scariness too!
Another similarity to the original tale is how the ‘monster’ is portrayed as actually being a gentle giant that is deeply misunderstood. When he kills the little girl because she is screaming, you can tell that wasn’t his intention and you do start to feel some sympathy. But I don’t think this was played on as much as it could have been. It could have been much more powerful if his true ‘goodness’ was emphasised.
Instead, the story focuses on Victoria and her feelings towards the being she has created, and how she comes to think of him as her child. The way she tries to give him the life of an ordinary human is very touching and it’s easy to see how a bereaved mother could react in this way. The story from this point seems to lose it a little – it definitely wasn’t as engaging as it could have been.
Overall, I was disappointed. The basic themes were fantastic and it had the potential to be a very powerful drama, but there wasn’t enough tension. There were no real twists and turns to the plot, no surprises and definitely no shock ending. There are worse things you could watch – but this is almost an insult to Mary Shelley’s classic novel.