STUDIO: 20TH CENTURY FOX
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22, 2012
NICK AHERN’S RATING: 3.5
CAT BATEMAN’S RATING: 2.5
The easiest part of this review will be explaining the plot. When he loses his mother to a vampire, Abe decides to take up the axe and bring down a spreading clan of vampires found in the increasing south. Seriously. Abraham Lincoln meets 300.
Roll with me.
From the very beginning, expect MTV-style editing and hyper-kinetic pacing. With gorgeous cinematography and (for the most part) great special effects, Abe Lincoln is fully rendered in glorious cinematic exuberance. Featuring Abraham Lincoln ripping vampires apart in creative ways caused great and giddy laughter from me in the theater. There are instances of obvious GCI involving a horse stampede and Timur has a knack for repeatedly focusing on the face of vampires as they bare their fangs. First 100 times were cool, but it eventually becomes tiresome.
Battle sequences involving a horse stampede are as over the top as can be, but they work nicely in that they end on a climactic one on one thrown down, which works nicely. I personally would’ve loved some more centered action scenes, involving less rapid-fire editing, but it all works.
The actions scenes with Abe wreaking vengeance on his mother’s vampiric killer began with a perfunctory, almost clunky execution (lulz) but then would often end on a spectacular note. Watching someone get shot through the skull, and then get thrown clear THROUGH a building in epic slow motion was, well, epic.
I expect nothing less from the director of Wanted. Exacting slow motion showcasing bloody imagery of dead vampires and body parts caterwauling across the digital spectrum with veracious aplomb. The final action sequence involving a train takeover and some truly stunning pyrotechnics is a satisfying climatic end.
When we are first introduced to Abe as a kid and to his future vampire slayer Will, the instantaneous shifting in speed often results in scenes moving far too quickly for their own good. Having Abe’s relationship with his mother relegated to a scene on her deathbed worked very well, but it was the first real intimate scene we are given, and it is far too short.
For the first half of the film, most of the scenes move very quickly, though they do settle for certain instances. One being the introduction of Abe’s future wife Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Their chemistry is well-played, and doesn’t quite rely on cliche.
Benjamin Walker is dutifully introverted as the rising president, and to his credit, he plays the role as straight as possible. However, for the second half of the film, after Abe has vanquished his mother’s murderer, the film leaps forward several decades and we see Abe as president. The fight has been relegated to the back burner, and the second half meanders until a dramatic (and somewhat obvious) revelation offers to change the tide of the escalating war.
We are treated to various helicopter shots of the waging Civil War, but not enough to close combat. Similar to Troy, we don’t get enough individual combat to fully show off the awesome power of vampires and cannon fodder.
The ending, however, is where the film falters. Bringing the story from the past to the present removed any sense of myth form the preceding 105 minutes, and felt tacked on. Especially with a wealth of history to tackle, the ending is a big let down.
The obvious use of slavery as a metaphor works quite nicely. As an analogy of sucking the life from another, vampirism works nicely. It was used wonderfully in The Addiction as a drug motif, and it works equally well here.
Specifically, I noticed a trend in the film, starting with the individual scale of evil, and what one man can do. However, thankfully, the film takes a more corporate view of sin and evil in the second half and becomes a critique of individualism. To fully conquer evil takes more than a single human, and Abe realizes this, thus entering into politics to do what he can.
The entire film, which has a hint of graphic novel essence to it, is really a straight laced narrative about the evils of slavery and the need for human unity in combating sin.
Riff with social and political (and even spiritual) themes, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is as epic a movie as the trailer indicated. Though there are mentioned weaknesses, the fun-factor is strong, the acting is surprisingly strong and the concept.
Upon watching this film, I had mixed emotions. As a major Tim Burton fan, I thought, “Yes, I will see this movie and I will like it.” I mean, who doesn’t want to see one of our presidents kill vampires, right? Wrong. Oh, was I wrong
Firstly, I will say that this film was far too serious. Especially considering that the novel was written by the same guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith ). I wasn’t exactly expecting a comedy out of it, but it could have been a little more…light-hearted
The movie starts off in Kentucky where our beloved, slavery-abolishing president is scarred for life. In short, he befriends William Johnson, who is being beaten by a slave owner. Because he intervenes, Abraham’s father is fired from his job and later that night his mother gets attacked by a vampire, bitten, and dies.
It isn’t until nine years later that Abraham learns that the Barts (the group who attacked his mother) are vampires. He decides to get even and, thus, the premise for the entire movie.
Lincoln is trained by Henry Sturgess as a vampire hunter. After ten years or so of training, he moves to Springfield, Illinois and meets his future-wife, Mary, and Joshua Speed.
After being let down by his trainer, whom we discover is a vampire thanks to the Barts, Lincoln decides to abandon his quest, gets married, and goes into politics.
I watched this movie because I knew people who “kinda liked it.” That, and Tim Burton was part of the project. Lesson: learned.
Although, it did have a small handful of okay scenes, for the most part I found that the movie was boring and far too serious. The one scene that really was a “facepalm” scene for me was when Sturgess tries to turn Abraham Lincoln so he could be immortal and continue to kill the remaining vampires. Abe, of course, rejects the offer and winds up killed by Booth that night.
I will note that the vampires could walk around in the day and that was interesting. The last time I saw a vampire walking around in the daylight (and, in a good way) was in Underworld: Evolution.That, and the vampires in this film didn’t sparkle…
I did, however, enjoy the score. The music was quite good and definitely added to each scene — in a good way. Henry Jackman was definitely the right choice to compose the score. I actually found that the music (in most scenes) captivated me more than what was going on in the scene itself.
The movie, itself, was sub-par and I definitely won’t watch it again.