Lisa Frankenstein - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Lisa Frankenstein


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Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :3stars:




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Movie

I will admit this, Frankenstein’s monster has been adapted and re-adapted and twisted into everything from a horror character to a super hero a million times over across the years. But never in my 42 years on this Earth have I seen an adaptation like this. My wife took one look at the trailer and was BEGGING me to get ahold of this film to review, but I was a bit on the reticent side. The trailer looked goofy, childish, and generally rather “stupid” at first glance. Turns out, we were both kind of right. Yes, the movie is an absurdist take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tale, but being written by Diablo Cody it has a bit of social commentary and subtext underneath it all, AND it it’s probably the weirdest adaptation I’ve ever seen. As expected before even watching, my wife was in tears loving every minute of it, and I was generally sort of bemused and mildly frustrated with the story.

Blending elements of Cinderella with Frankenstein, we meet our heroine (or shall I say, protagonist) Lisa (Kathryn Newton) living in her step mother’s house (played by Carla Gugino), playing second fiddle to her step mother’s daughter Taffy (Liza Soberano). It turns out that Lisa was witness to her mother’s brutal murder by an ax wielding home invader a few years ago, and she’s sort of a fish out of water in a new school, no friends, and suffering from a bit of PTSD. After getting semi assaulted at a drunk high school party, Lisa stumbles out to the local cemetary and wishes to the universe to be with someone like the tragic looking headstone of a Jane Austin era gentlemen.

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Turns out, wishes do come true, as the very next day Lisa is met by the shambling corpse of the newly animated corpse of said Jane Austin era gentleman. Sure, it’s kinda weird, but Lisa could use a good friend and Franky (Cole Sprouse) is a good enough listener to do so. However, after realizing that Franky needs a few more body parts, she and the shambling corpse engage in a murderous spree on all those people who made fun of and slighted her these last few months, harvesting a few souvenirs along the way.

Lisa Frankenstein plays out as an absurdist take on the idea of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster, but placing it in 1989, and blending in elements of Cinderella and a teenage romance story ala 16 Candles into the mix as well. It’s freaking BIZARRE! 100%, absolutely bizarre to the core. On one hand I loved the absurdist take on a horror classic, and Diablo Cody’s usual trademark social commentary is hidden under several layers of fantastic subtext to dissect. We have commentary on sexual assault, masculinity, “patriarchy”, and even some questions on just exactly how “pure” Franky and Lisa’s romance really is. But at the end of the day it just feels like it’s “missing” something. All of the pieces were there, and I the visual elements were on point, but it felt a bit hollow. I can’t even explain why, but while my wife was having the time of her life, I was feeling like I wanted something “more” than the 1980s fairytale layered in modern day social commentary. Maybe if a little more had been spent into dissecting Taffy (who was by far the most interesting character in the movie) I might have been more forgiving, but it just felt mildly frustrating.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for terror, some violent content and language




Video: :4.5stars:
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Lisa Frankenstein is absolutely slathered in 1980s bubble gum pink bright colors from head to toe. Color saturation is at level 11 out of 10, with pinks, blacks, blues and bright cherry red blood everywhere. Fine details are exceptional, with fantastic detail levels on faces and clothing (although some of the CGI on body parts being cut off was pretty obvious. Black levels remain superb with no signs of banding or crush, and daylight seems to have a slightly honey colored amber glaze to it that is JUUUUUUST shy of neutral. All in all, a superb looking Blu-ray (although, a 4K UHD is something that is sort of chapping my rear, as it’s showing on 4K in Peacock streaming and has a native 4K master from what I could glean).









Audio: :4.5stars:
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The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is bold and exciting, with a host of 1980s music numbers to act as the score. Dialog is crisp and cleanly located up front, while surrounds are pretty active with the sounds of a house burning down, the pop 80s music, and the ambient noises of Lisa and Franky walking through a forest after they chop off Doug’s hands. Bass is strong, but mostly relegated to the lightning bolt, a few bumps, and the score. Otherwise it’s fairly laid back and acts as background to the rest of the channels.












Extras: :2.5stars:
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• FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR ZELDA WILLIAMS
• DELETED SCENES
-- Get Me Out of Hell!
-- Knock Knock
-- Music Lovers
-- Incredible Friend
-- Breaking News
• GAG REEL
• RESURRECTING THE 1980's – Set in 1989, LISA FRANKENSTEIN is a loving tribute to the wacky, tacky, yet totally awesome 80s. Every department of production embraced the stylized world Diablo Cody created in her script and brought their A-game to making this colorful world a reality.
• AN ELECTRIC CONNECTION – While it's no easy feat to turn a 19th century dead guy into the perfect boyfriend, this piece explores Lisa and her charming Creature and what makes their relationship work. Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, and filmmakers explore how Lisa and Creature really need each other to truly thrive, why Creature is the "perfect man," and Lisa's choice at the end of the film.
• A DARK COMEDY DUO – Well-known for her ability to subvert genres, Diablo Cody delves into the inspiration behind LISA FRANKENSTEIN, what made her want to give the Frankenstein story a youthful, modern twist full of both horror and hilarity, and why Zelda Williams was the perfect choice to bring her story to life.












Final Score: :3.5stars:

Lisa Frankenstein is unabashedly absurd and going to appeal to fans of movies like Johnny Depp’s Cry Baby more than fans of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. But I will give it this. It’s quite amazing to just see how elastic Mary Shelley’s original tale has been over the years, and everyone is having a ball in the film. Sadly I personally didn’t find as much to enjoy out of it as my wife did, so I’m guessing it’s going to garner more female fans than male. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great from Universal, and I was actually surprised how many extras were on board. Worth checking out if the trailer peaks your interest.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Carla Gugino, Joe Chrest, LIza Soberano
Directed by: Zelda Williams
Written by: Diablo Cody
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS 2.0, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 9th, 2024
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Recommendation: Interesting Watch

 

Sonnie

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It almost catches me as a fun movie, but I don't think I'd be a fan of watching it because the Frankenstein character is a bit over-the-top corny to me.

I'm curious why they would place it in the 80s. I think I would prefer it with a more modern-day serious theme, but then again that might coincide with the book.
 

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
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Location
Arizona
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Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
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Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
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Center Channel Speaker
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It almost catches me as a fun movie, but I don't think I'd be a fan of watching it because the Frankenstein character is a bit over-the-top corny to me.

I'm curious why they would place it in the 80s. I think I would prefer it with a more modern-day serious theme, but then again that might coincide with the book.

supposedly it was Diablo Cody making a wink and nod to 80s horror films which inspired a lot of the Frankenstein tropes she used.
 
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