September 14, 2011

Sympathy for Victor?

Filed under: Sci-Fi —— will @ 10:05 pm

The general public typically have a hard time sympathizing with Victor.  In class we had a discussion about sympathizing with the Monster or Victor and I spent some time thinking about that notion after class. For me, I tend to sympathize with Victor as well as the Monster.  I won’t spend time talking about the Monster since that has been covered in class but I did find it strange that I also sympathized with Victor.  From the book, it should not be hard to see Victor as a villain.  He has done everything in his power to let the audience know that what he has done is abominable. I believe that his real motivation was the death of his mother and while not the most acceptable reason it is understandable that he would want to conquer death after the loss of his mother. He was a scientist making a discovery that would change human history.  It would change the whole concept of death and, if used correctly, could be put to good use. It’s hard not to see that Victor would not understand how far he had gone until he had actually completed the experiment.  I keep thinking about the atomic bomb as I mull this over in my mind.  The scientists working on the atomic bomb didn’t realize the extent of what they had done until they actually saw it in action.  I’m sure they had their reservations but also realized what good could come out of this scientific discovery.  I’m not an expert in this area and please correct me if I’m wrong, but the splitting of the atom was rooted more in the discovery of nuclear fusion than in weaponizing it.  This would mean great things would come to benefit all of humanity if they saw this experiment through to the end.  So, I guess my question would be are the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project just as bad as Victor? Do we demonize them the same way we do Victor because of what they ultimately created?  Or do we sympathize with them because their intentions were good but the result was more devastating than they could imagine?  I think J. Robert Oppenheimer said it best in this clip watch?v=f94j9WIWPQQ.

Not to make this post extremely long but I just wanted to respond to a comment real quick about my last post.  I was posed the question of how would Hollywood make a movie that was a more literal adaptation of the book.  To respond to that there was a film version of Frankenstein that tried t0 do just that.  It came out in 1994 and was called “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” and was directed and starred in by Kenneth Branagh.  It also has Robert De Niro as the monster and Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth.  Now, this movie is far from being a direct adaption of the book, but it does try its best to be more similar to the book than the  1930’s version of Frankenstein.  The creation scene, while very, very stylized, does end the same way it does in the book with Victor abandoning the monster. The clip I found online does not show enough of the scene but if anyone is interested in watching this version I can lend the DVD to you. The 1994 version also uses a unique approach that I wanted to mention real quick.  We have discussed that the creation of the monster is in a way touching on man’s inability to give birth.  I mention this because in the movie Victor uses embryonic fluid to conduct the electricity involved in the creation of the monster.  The monster in this version is literally “birthed” after it comes to life as the tank dumps over full of this fluid.  The overall tone of the movie is still true to the tone of the book, so I think it is possible for Hollywood to try to make true adaptations of the sources but it ultimately boils down to who is directing.  If you have a director willing to make quality cinema, then you will get a film or T.V. show that does its best to stay true to its source material.  I tried to think of some other examples like Game of Thrones that are able to stay true to its source material.  It is true that there are not many but I was able to think of some films and T.V. shows.   The first season of Dexter is pretty much exactly the same as the first book Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the mini-series Generation Kill follows the book by the same name to a T.  As far as movies go, The Godfather is pretty spot on to the book,  The Watchmen is just a shot for shot remake of the graphic novel, and Carrie is also the book, just in movie form.  So I do think it’s possible to make film and T.V. that stay as true as they can be to the source material. I like this quote from the T.V. show Extras just to throw it in: “You want to be a world-famous movie star or do you want to be the tortured genius creating great art? Look — do you want fame and fortune, or do you want integrity and respect”?

One Response to “Sympathy for Victor?”

  1.   Christina  Says:

    I think my problem with having sympathy for Victor is he tried to hide, run from his problems for so long. He did nothing overt to save Justine and seems so self-centered to not have even considered it was Elizabeth, and not him, that would be killed. He really doesn’t try to do anything to confront, resolve the issues he’s created. His motivations while they may have been good, his lack of responsibility far overshadow his motivations. I did watch the 1994 Frankenstein. Like you, I found this to be the closest representation to the book, but there is still quite a lot of artistic interpretation going on. Nonetheless, I felt like the spirit of the book was kept fairly intact.

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