REVIEW: Victor Frankenstein (12A) **

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/Alex Bailey.
James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/Alex Bailey.
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In her 1818 novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley paints a vivid portrait of a wretched monster.

Paul McGuigan’s clunky reworking of the Gothic masterpiece, which recounts man’s ill-fated meddling with Mother Nature, is similarly lifeless and unappealing.

The disfigured, snivelling servant doesn’t feature in Shelley’s haunting text but was popularised by Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.

Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) is a student at the Royal College Of Medicine. During a visit to a circus run by sadistic ringmaster Barnaby (Daniel Mays), Victor encounters a lowly clown (Radcliffe) with a burning passion for anatomy.

Victor rescues the clown from his cage and asks the performer to become his assistant. Together, they blaze a trail in medical science by harnessing the power of electricity to reanimate dead flesh.

But Victor Frankenstein lumbers and lurches. Radcliffe and McAvoy are an awkward double-act: the former stilted and earnest, the latter wide-eyed and manic.