One line review: A shotgun humor style that doesn’t always hit
Movie Title: Young Frankenstein
Actors: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars
Director: Mel Brooks
Genre: Comedy / SciFi
Method of Viewing: DVD
Location of Viewing: Home
Viewing with: No One
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% – Made with obvious affection for the original, Young Frankenstein is a riotously silly spoof featuring a fantastic performance by Gene Wilder.
My rating: *** – A Great Movie, but not worthy of it’s Legendary status.
My assessment (the first 101 words at least): Young Frankenstein is a movie that keeps hitting with one joke after another, whether it be a pun, silly moment, running gag, ridiculous looking visual, what have you. The problem with this method of comedy is that it’s hit and miss. When it hits, it’s hilarious and feels like one of the best movies of all time. When it misses, it feels like it’s trying too hard. Perhaps giving this movie only three stars is just a personal opinion, or maybe this movie is showing it’s age, but I really feel that this movie is not worthy of it’s Legendary status.
I have to say that I feel the characters are the most important part of whether you love this comedy or hate it. I feel that the movie wants you to love Igor completely. He’s the one who seems to constantly be cracking jokes and clever comments. He even speaks directly to the audience several times. However I just found Igor to be completely grating. His constant smart ass comments only served to make me more and more annoyed. I felt that he was being forced on the audience, you HAD to find this character funny.
I much preferred Frankstein, he acted over-confident when he needed to, silly when he needed to, the straight man to Igor when needed, he just seemed very flexible and very lovable. He was also part of one of my two favorite scenes, messing with the secret bookcase with his assistant. In fact, I tended to prefer the scenes where they would keep a gag running for several minutes, rather than just move to the next joke.
I was surprised how late the Monster was introduced into the film, and in the end I really didn’t find anything he did funny except for his scenes with the blind man (again, a long scene rather than rapid jokes). His big musical number with Frankestein at the end didn’t really tickle my fancy either. Whether it’s because I didn’t have enough time to enjoy him, or because he couldn’t talk he was able to interact with the audience as much, it doesn’t matter. I just didn’t enjoy him.
One final complaint to note, why in the world was this movie in black & white? Yeah, I get that they want to make it feel at first that it could be a serious sequel to Frankenstein, just to throw the audience off, but the ENTIRE movie in black & white? Why did they never make fun of it? This movie made fun of Igor’s wandering humpitis, they made fun of every aspect of Frankenstein, why not joke about it being in black & white? Just have a scene where Frankenstein tells Igor to hit the green switch, and Igor gets confused because everything is gray. I just really don’t understand the need for this film to be in black & white.
I would understand if someone called this their favorite comedy, I can see where some jokes could have made someone else laugh. For me, this movie is just a good comedy, and not much else. It does make me anticipate some of the other Mel Brooks comedies I have on my list though.
I should have my review of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels next, followed by Deer Hunter, and then Wayne’s World.