Sunday, June 24, 2012

As Silly and As Fun As It Sounds, And We Liked It!: Our Review of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (2012)

Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted)

Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Rating: R for violence throughout and brief sexuality

Synopsis: After seeing his mother killed by a vampire as a child, Abraham Lincoln (Walker) grows up looking to avenge her death. Trained by a reluctant vamp named Henry Sturgess (Cooper) who informs Abe that vampires are all around us, and are thriving in the South off the blood of slaves, Lincoln dedicates his life to ridding America of all vampires. Eventually the Civil War breaks out with Lincoln’s Union Army having to face a Confederate Army full of the undead.


Andrew: Hello readers! Last night Sarah and I caught a matinee showing of this weekend’s new action film, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. This film is directed by Timur Bekmambetov , who is more well-known State-side for the highly stylized Wanted; is written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the book the film is based on; is produced by Tim Burton and stars the relatively unknown Benjamin Walker in the title role.

Sarah, this was a film we were looking forward to because we GET the joke. Every time we saw the trailer we said it looked like a fun action flick to us. So now that we’ve seen it, was it a good action flick?

Sarah: Oh my gosh yes! The action was pretty awesome! We didn’t see it in 3D but the action was MADE for 3D. It was pretty bad-ass. What I liked about it the most was that the vampires, besides one main factor, were portrayed the way vampires should to be portrayed. They were terrifying!

A: Yeah, the one trait being that the vampires in this film can walk in the sunlight, but other than that the film follows canon. I agree with you, the vampires were definitely to be reckoned with. They aren’t your Twilight vampires…

Benjamin Walker stars in the title role of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and he certainly fit the part.

S: Yeah, but in this one when they morph into the monsters that they are it was pretty sweet. I enjoyed it. And another thing I thought about it: We know the story of Abraham Lincoln to an extent from what we learned in history class. So it’s almost as if the film was in parallel to the real story that we know so well. So they were saying, “We’re going to show you the parts that were left out of the history books.” I liked that.

I will say though, seeing the movie makes me want to read the book because this film was incredibly choppy.

A: It’s choppy at times because it doesn’t transition smoothly. It goes: here’s Abe fighting vampires, but now we need to make him meet Mary Todd because he marries her real quick, then back to fighting vampires. It kind of goes from action sequence to action sequence but interspersed with down time simply to move the actual Lincoln story along. It’s choppy but it doesn’t detract from the film for me because you go into this movie expecting to see Honest Abe slaying vampires left and right. And he certainly does that, but he also has to get from place to place. Normally this might not be good for a regular movie, but with an action movie like this it didn’t bother me.

S: I would argue that it will bother some people. We went into it knowing it was based off of this book that had its tongue planted firmly in cheek, but if you’re going in there expecting a normal storyline, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

A: There’s going to be two kinds of people for this movie. There will be the people who are totally gung-ho, who when they first saw the trailer and saw the title, you laughed at it because you get the joke and see that it’s by the guy who did Wanted and know it’s going to be a stylized action flick, or you’re going to be one of the people who saw the trailer and said, “This looks stupid.” You’re either one or the other. There’s no middle ground.

We were firmly entrenched in the former and went in expecting to have fun with it, and we did. If you were one of the people who saw the trailer or commercial and thought it looked stupid, do NOT see this movie, because you’re not going to like it.

Now what did you think about how they took Abe’s real-life things, like his son dying at a young age, and changing it to fit the story they’re telling here?

Adam (Rufus Sewell), the leader of the vampires, doesn't take too kindly to Honest Abe trying to chop him down

S: I enjoyed it.

A: It didn’t offend you?

S: No! Are some people offended by it?

A: A couple of reviewers I’ve read so far have been, yeah.

S: I wasn’t offended, I actually think it’s kind of one of those things were it feeds into my getting enjoyment out of conspiracy theories. That’s sort of what this movie is, there’s a conspiracy underneath what this man of history was. It didn’t offend me. But I like those kinds of things. If you’re someone who is easily offended by them changing history to make it…not silly, but silly in the fact that it’s a little unbelievable, then you won’t enjoy this film.

A: I’m with you. It’s revisionist history for entertainment. It’s fiction. It makes me think of Inglourious Basterds. In Inglourious Basterds, Hitler is killed in a way that he wasn’t actually killed in real-life. They shine a light on The Basterds and they get the glory, when in real-life a lot of different things happened and a lot of people lost their lives trying to end World War II. I don’t know if people were offended by Inglourious Basterds because of things like that, I know I wasn’t, but you look at it and say, “We know what really happened and we respect that.” This is just make-believe. It goes back, again, to if you’re offended by the idea, don’t see it.

What did you think of Benjamin Walker in the lead role?

S: Oh my gosh! When they started his transformation to an older age Lincoln, just like at the beginning I thought the makeup was a little rough. But other than that he looked, acted and embodied Abraham Lincoln. I thought he did a great job. Was it an Academy Award winning portrayal of Lincoln? Of course not, but I thought he did a good job in the role.

We had this main actor who is kind of unknown and is surrounded by actors that are very well known, and I thought he did good job of standing on his own. I look forward to seeing him in other things.

A: I thought he there was magnetism to him. He certainly looked the part. He’s tall enough, he’s got the facial features (I’m not sure if he wore a prosthetic nose the whole time) and he sounded the part, I thought he was great. I especially liked the parts when he was playing a younger Lincoln. When he was playing an older Lincoln the makeup didn’t work sometimes, but towards the end he looked great.

A: I also want to add, I should mention the horse stampede sequence.

S: Oh I thought that was better than the train sequence, actually.

A: There are two big action sequences that are worth it alone to see it on the big screen because of the scope of them and how well they were done. One is a  horse stampede where Lincoln is chasing after a vampire and the vampire is literally throwing horses at him (it sounds silly but on the screen in action it’s actually pretty sweet), and the second is the final train sequence - my favorite part of the whole film - at the climax where there’s a huge fight aboard a train carrying silver to the Union solider at Gettysburg to fight the vampire soldiers from the Confederacy.

The climactic train sequence is one of two great action scenes worth seeing on the big screen alone.

We didn’t see it in 3D but that was a helluva action scene. It’s one of the more impressive ones I’ve seen in a while actually, because it transitioned between being an intimate, tight fight scene on the inside of the train, to being on the outside with the burning bridge. I was really impressed.

S: For what it’s worth, I thought the horse sequence was better. But I will also say Bekmambetov is so notorious for his shots where he ramps the speed up and down and there were times where it worked really well. I think it worked well in this because vampires move so fast. So when they were in action, it helped in showing the capabilities of the vampires.

A: It’s just a good action film. It’s bloody and gory, so if you like that sort of thing it’s there in spades. I just thought it was a really well done movie for what it’s supposed to be, and again, we GET it. We went with it and I think that’s why we liked it.

S: So if you saw the trailer and it even moderately piqued your interest, go see it. If you saw the trailer and thought it looked totally ridiculous, don’t see it.

FINAL VERDICT: A good way to kill a Saturday afternoon!

(Out of Five Clapboards)

Photo Courtesies: Hollywood

No comments:

Post a Comment