Frankenstein (2004 miniseries)-Yearning Son

Hello! You didn’t think I was gonna just analyze the novel and then leave Frankenstein alone, right? 😉 Before I rip apart the 1931 “classic”, allow me to present a positive alternative. This American miniseries was produced by Hallmark in 2004. I know, I was surprised too, but they got at least one quality production on the resume. Luke Goss stars as beloved Peter, and Alec Newman plays scatterbrained asshat Victor. I have already explored the plot of the novel in depth (Unconventional Son), so this will primarily address cinematic highlights of the adaptation,

I am incapable of properly “reviewing” or “analyzing” Luke’s performance without aid, so below are some clips of key moments. Obligatory spoiler warning ⚠️ clips recorded from YouTube where the entire show is available for free in two parts.

Tenderness-This is the first of many times Peter addresses Victor as “father” in this adaptation. ‘In the novel, this address is used only once, on page 124. I don’t believe Victor would have slept through that, but it’s a movie. Peter’s face as he says “my father” embodies a beautiful mix of tenderness and fear and hope.
Anguish- While Peter has expressed anger and grief throughout his short life, the expressions Goss presents allow us to truly FEEL his anguish, and anguish is the only appropriate word here. He got STABBED by his FATHER! And also got his only real chance at love destroyed before his eyes. Victor is a coward for screaming, because his life isn’t entirely ruined.. yet.
This sums up the end of the movie pretty well. Peter comes to see Victor’s body and has a poignant conversation with Captain Walton. Walton disapproves of Peter’s actions, but misses the yearning behind them. It’s interesting that Walton makes the comparison to Christ, as this is never previously stated.

Clearly, writer Mark Kruger and director Kevin Connor had the good sense to do justice to Peter and give him a complex and sympathetic arc. Overall these clips highlight Goss’s emotional range and acting capabilities, and he deserves mainstream success.

Alec Newman gives an authentic and engaging performance as our favorite college dropout (which is to say I hated his character). He has ZERO chemistry with Elizabeth, which makes sense, given THEY WERE RAISED AS SIBLINGS! He has more chemistry and banter with his best friend Henry Clerval, played by the adorable Dan Stevens. Mark Jax gives a surprisingly heart wrenching performance as Alphonse Frankenstein. Victor’s father is an admirable influence on his son, but all his guiding efforts end in vain.

The characters are effective and interesting to varying degrees, but the setting of rural Germany circa 1822 is breathtaking across the board. The quaint villages and lush trees embody the Romantic era perfectly, and offset the dark tones of the plot.

Overall I give this miniseries a 10/10 for faithfulness to the novel, engaging emotional performances, and a gorgeous aesthetic. Watch if you are a faithful fan of the novel and willing to undergo intense emotional work.


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