Monday, 9 July 2012

07/07/2012: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [2012]

Just after finishing Moonrise Kingdom, I headed to the next theater. I eventually wandered in, with the standard pre-pre-show show playing, and waited for my friends to join me from Ted. AL:VH showed a lot of promise, although I had been on the edge about seeing it in theaters. But as usual, all it takes is one name, and this time it was Timur Bekmambetov. So, how preposterous was the idea of Abraham Lincoln as a vampire slayer? Not as crazy as you might think. Based on the terms usage today, you might’ve been able to slap a "Based On True Events" tag on this beast.

 Now it is 09:30 when I’m writing this review, and while I didn’t bother with breakfast, I have already dug into my bag of Munchos, which I had a craving for on Friday. Anyway, it got me thinking. First, was the fact that the only meal I ate yesterday was a couple of slices of baloney, after which I subsisted on a bag of M&Ms the rest of the day. I smuggled them in myself, as I refuse to pay for food at the cinema’s, mostly because I’m cheap, but on some other principals as well. Anyway, aside from my amazing feat, I wanted to pose the question, have you ever sat down with your bag of popcorn or candy and realized this might not be the best movie to snack through? While, this wasn't a problem yesterday, the question came to me when I was eating M&Ms, once again, while Cannibal Holocaust started. I mean, aren’t there just some movies where you feel you shouldn't be able to eat while watching, or maybe you weren’t able to eat?

Anyways, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was by no means this movie, and I would classify it pretty heavily as a popcorn flick. The thoughts on AL:VH amongst my friends are rather mixed. My one friend texted me in the theater to tell me she didn't like it much. (This was the pre-show, I don't touch it in the movie) However, the three other friends I watched it with that day really seemed to enjoy it. Well at least two of them did, my one friend and I weren’t so vocal about it. Personally, I enjoyed it, but it could have been a little different. I feel like the budget might have been limited, but I think the real problem was, that no matter how outlandish (yes, I just used outlandish) the idea of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was, they tried to keep things as real as possible. I mean, you’ve already gotten a secret vampire conspiracy during the American civil war, why keep the reins on yourself? I think when it comes to any vampire slaying action movie, I want a lot more fantasy and cool gadgets à la Van Helsing.

There is a lot of axe swinging. Incase you were concerned it was lacking.
AL:VH, for a movie of its subject matter keeps things pretty real. Perhaps however, that was a limitation from the beginning, as this is a movie adaptation of a book. Yes, just when you thought this movie was outrageous enough, it is a book adaptation. I’ve never read the book, so I don’t know how true the movie kept to it. I've read a lot of reviews saying they just threw it out the window however. I’m also told by my friends that it kept very true to American history, but, I’m also very limited on that knowledge as well. I did try and remember whether or not Abe had a wife when he was president, so I would know if Mary was going to be killed off. Also just so you know, the United States did not win the war of 1812, just to clear things up. Anyway, apparently the movie sticks very true to actual history, so you history buffs can have fun tearing it apart for inaccuracy, whilst the common American may think otherwise.

Anyways, speaking of getting killed off, I think it is safe to say that it is common knowledge that the African-American man is usually the first to be killed off, or at least, if not first, he does die. This seems to always hold true expect in movies involving slavery. Just throwing that out there, challenge it as you will. So now that I have segwayed (ok, I have no idea how to spell that close enough that spell check will help me) into the topic of the cast and characters, let’s get that out of the way. I know no one. Simple eh? Anyway, I didn’t recognize most of the actors, except for the really bad vampire, and Mary. Now, after watching Moonrise Kingdom, which was rather lacking in on screen sexiness (probably the way to go), I was hoping AL:VH would make up for it. One of three names I could associate with the movie was Mary Elizabeth-Winsted, but I’m going to be honest, old style hair-doo’s just don’t do it for me. Luckily, we do get a rather viciously sexy blonde vampire, (picture below) and I will say, the laced leathers and cowboy hat do do it for me. The rest of the unknown cast do a decent job, but no one is particularly outstanding in this department unfortunately.  

Ok, I give them some credit for this scene. It was well done...
As an action movie, AL:VH hits it’s mark. I mean the entire reason people are going to see this movie is not for a history lesson. It is to see the president kick some vampire ass. Don’t worry he does and while I don’t think 3D is really going to enhance your experience, the fight scene visuals are really well done. The other visuals however, did not please me as much. I mean, considering what was on screen, I have to imagine there was a lot of CGI, but it looked more like a lot of sets and had this gritty real life feel to it. Particularly the 3D dust floating around. I don’t go to action movies like this for that, and while CGI special effects are often problematic, I do like a good CGI backdrop, particularly in these types of movies. Between that and the lighting, I wasn’t really impressed with any of the day time visuals. The night time ones however, were really nice, and I enjoyed them a lot. I think this is something I really want to watch on a crisp LCD or plasma T.V. screen, and not projected in a theater.

Other than honest, bad-ass Abe, the real name I came to see with this movie was Timur Bekmambetov. Now, I have to imagine that not many moviegoers know his name. Timur is a Russian director, who I know as having brought me the Russian blockbusters, Night Watch and Day Watch, which are favourites of mine. Of course, as soon as he became successful enough to come over to America, he jumped ship on that series and has since only given us Wanted and this. I’m going to be honest, I’m not exactly pleased with those two movies in place of Twilight Watch. So if you’re reading this Timur, know that I won’t be happy until you give it to me. Also Tim Burton's name is somehow attached to this, but I think that is just to draw in people.

Does that look like a stunt double or is it just me?
Overall, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sat exactly where I would expect it to. There were times when I expected worse and times I expected better of it, but in the end it wasn’t hard to guess what I would think of the movie. I was actually the most surprised by my friends, who really enjoyed it, but then again, maybe squishing it in between Moonrise Kingdom and The Amazing Spiderman was kind of unfair. The movie actually runs a decent length, and only at the end did it really feel stretched. Also, make sure you know your history, and the ending takes on an entirely different meaning. My friends had to explain that one to me. Anyways, as soon as the credits rolled I was making my way towards The Amazing Spiderman, which had just started rolling when I got into the theater. Check it out next and save Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for your T.V. screen.



  1. Saw you're new on Lamb. A fellow Canadian?

    I agree Night Watch and Day Watch were fabulous, two of the better vampire films to come out in the last few years.
    Hated Wanted.

    I am disappointed that I missed Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter when it came out the other month. I had gotten half way through the book and was looking forward, but sadly, surgery kept me from going.

    1. I guess it was the .ca URL. But of course I'm a fellow Canadian, and proud of it eh.

      If you were looking for the book on screen, I've only heard it's not even close. Personally, I'd say you rent it and enjoy it at home.

      Good to find a fan of the vampire genre, and I'm sure we are all disappointed at its current state.