Kevin Grevioux's graphic novel comes alive—alive!—in this gothic 3D actioner from the makers of the Underworld movies. Aaron Eckhart embodies Dr. Frankenstein's creature, who's given the name Adam by the Queen of the Gargoyles (Miranda Otto). Two hundred years after his creation, Adam still walks the Earth and finds himself in the middle of an epic battle between gargoyles and demons (where are the angels?). Cue lots of stiff exposition about "sacred duty" and "the fate of all mankind." Ultimately, the Prince of the Demons, Naberius (Bill Nighy), wants possession of Dr. Frankenstein's old journal, so he can reanimate an army of corpses and take over the world! Bwahahaha! Before you join the supernatural smackdown, gear up with these five facts:
1. I, Movie Star: Dr. Frankenstein's creature is supposed to be hideously grotesque, repelling everyone who lays eyes on him--hence his isolation and despair. But here he looks like, well, Aaron Eckhart with a little scar tissue. He still has his handsome features, cleft chin, and perfectly gym-buffed body, which beautiful electrophysiologist Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) can't help noticing when he takes off his shirt. You can see the Bride of Frankenstein fantasies flitting across her face.
2. Monstrous Regimen: Eckhart, who performs his own stunts in the film, did extensive physical preparation for the role. Adam is an expert in Kali stick fighting, so six months prior to shooting, the actor trained for three hours a day to perfect the complex technique. This was in addition to his daily workouts. To become a lean, demon-killing machine, Eckhart ate only apple slices with peanut butter and some diced chicken with ketchup. Unnnhhh...Frankenstein hungry!
3. Nefarious Naberius: Having played the leader of the vampires in the Underworld series, Nighy now sinks his teeth into Naberius, the leader of 666 demons. By day, Naberius assumes the identity of biotechnology mogul Dr. Dexter, conducting research about the effects of electricity on the dead. We immediately know this pinch-faced dude is evil because he wears sleek Italian suits, speaks in a clipped British accent, and is filmed from behind as he slowly pours and sips tea. Hiss!
4. Doing It Down Under: The story is mostly set in an unnamed, modern-day metropolis but also features a massive ancient cathedral where the gargoyles hang out. Early on, the filmmakers decided to shoot in Melbourne, Australia. Although Melbourne doesn't scream "gothic," writer/director Stuart Beattie, who was born there, knew the city could provide the various locations, soundstages, and visual-effects houses they needed. Many of the actors are Aussie as well, including Miranda Otto, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jai Courtney (gargoyle Gideon).
5. A Focus on the FX: I, Frankenstein features close to 1,000 visual-effects shots. The coolest CGI trick involves the quick transformation of the flying gargoyles into their human forms, as their wings wrap around their bodies and turn into robes. It's pretty nifty. Considering all the attention to the 3D visuals, you'd think the filmmakers would've also given the characters some dimension — or jolted this monster movie with some humor. Where's Young Frawn-ken-steen when you need him?