OKLAHOMA CITY, June 25, 2012—“What is this?”, “Well Hollywood has run out of ideas”, and laughter were all heard after the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer played in local cinemas.
“This looks like the dumbest movie” and “I guess they are trying to make more money off Twilight,” are some of the Facebook posts that came across your newsfeed.
The truth is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a movie based on a very smart book by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote the screenplay.
The story centers on a secret diary by our 16th President about his mother being killed by a vampire when he was a boy, and his subsequent decision to dedicate his life to revenge her killing. The Civil War? Vampires run the South feasting on slaves. Take history and fill in the gaps with fiction.
As the title illustrates, you must be willing to suspend a certain amount of disbelief to appreciate the film. And to say that the movie is ridiculous means you just didn’t get it. Well, the movie is ridiculous.
The first few scenes look like something from Walker, Texas Ranger as a young Lincoln defends a young African-American child from getting whipped. Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) grows up and meets Henry (Dominic Cooper) who teaches him how to wield an axe and hunt vampires.
A common criticism of books adapted for screen is always “The book was better,” but in this case the author wrote the screenplay so the adaptation should be more faithful to the book. There are elements of the book in the movie, but there are a few stark differences, like adding the Will character (Anthony Mackie) that simply are unnecessary. At one point, Lincoln chases a vampire on the back of a pack of wild horses. Ridiculous.
Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) directed the movie, so it goes without saying that the fight scenes are pretty cool. Cutting through a tree with an axe in one swipe? Cool.
Without ruining the movie, or the book, one of the best parts of the book was the ending. Unfortunately, that highlight — what Henry decides to do with Lincoln after he is shot — is basically ignored. In fact, the assassination and John Wilkes Booth aren’t even in the movie.
Disappointing for sure, but not terrible. There a few parts that make the movie worth watching, but for those looking for something different and smarter than other vampire movie adaptions will have to keep on looking.
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