Friday, February 14, 2014

Movie Review #6: Young Frankenstein

Actually, I just finished watching two movies: last night I watched Young Frankenstein, and this morning I finished The Croods. However, The Croods was an unscheduled movie, so I'm going to give Young Frankenstein its review first.


If you liked Mel Brooks' other films, you'll probably like this one.

If you're unfamiliar with Mel Brooks, you should probably get familiar with him first. Though I guess this is as good a movie as any to do so, so nevermind.

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder know comedy, and I think the comedy holds up now 40 (!) years later. Although the movie feels slow at times, especially in the third act, it's a fun, smart movie you'll probably enjoy.


 Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a neurological professor who tries to distance himself from his infamous grandfather, who he considers a lunatic for trying to bring life to the dead. However, Frederick inherits his family estate in Transylvania and soon uncovers his grandfather's work. Naturally, he can't help but try and recreate his grandfather's experiment.


It's been a while since I watched a Mel Brooks film other than The Producers, but I figured it was high time I watched one of the few I hadn't seen before. The fact is, though, that I'm just not really into spoof movies much anymore, which is why The Producers has long since become my undisputed favorite Brooks movie.

That said, I really enjoyed Young Frankenstein. I laughed several times, though probably not as often as intended. Gene Wilder is always a joy to watch, and Igor was a fun character as well.

The film really gives the impression of an old, black and white film, beyond simply being shot in black and white. (Clerks, for instance, never gave the impression it was an old movie.) In fact, it took me a while to realize that the lack of color was an intentional call-back to the original Frankenstein movie, and that color had been around since well before 1974. The music and effects helped with that impression throughout the movie.

Without a doubt, my favorite scene was the one in which the monster goes into the blind man's house. That whole sequence had me giggling the entire time.

Unfortunately, the pacing could have used some work. There are some slow shots that, in a true horror movie, would have built suspense, but it just kind of took up time in this one. Also, as with a few of the Mel Brooks spoofs, the schtick started to get old around the third act.


Having never seen the original Frankenstein movie, I can't say how well the movie spoofed the original. However, on its own with what I know about the story of Frankenstein through cultural osmosis I found the movie pretty enjoyable.
Honestly, I think it's important that any spoof be enjoyable on its own, without having seen the movie it's derived from.

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