Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Hell of a name, am I right?
I feel like I’ve been getting a 3D crash course lately. After having gone a few years with my only 3D experience being Avatar, I have now seen three 3D movies in the past month or so, including Prometheus twice. I’m almost adjusting to it, and watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter last night had my first experience of going long stretches of the movie without constantly being aware that I am watching a 3D movie.
That doesn’t mean I’m totally on board though, and by the time this movie got to its totally chaotic train going over a burning trestle action finale, I’d kind of had enough.
That being said, this is actually a really excellent movie. I would use the colloquial phrase “awesome” in fact. It’s awesome. Not the most profound review, but, really, it’s appropriate.
This revisionist history and literary trend has been going on with books for a while, but this is really the first movie to cash in on it. There was that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Ab Lincoln started as a book too. Well, he started as a real man, a US President in fact, but you get the idea.
I like the whole concept of these mashups, I have to say. I like the element of playful fun, I like that they take the piss out of canonical classics and rigid history. I suppose some might take offense to them, but let’s face it, I like that about the concept too. I don’t know any of these stuffy, perhaps Victorian, naysayers fainting over the thought of a zombie in an Jane Austin novel, but if they are out there, they can go fly a kite. That’s right, I said it.
Societal rebellion aside, Ab Lincoln is also just a lot of fun. I like the mashup idea also because it automatically sets the stage for a movie that is going to be about having fun. For me the movie still took itself too seriously (I could have done with some more blatant humour and ridiculousness) but it’s still aware of what it is and it plays to that. And that works really well.
To me this is a new genre of exploitation film, and that gets me excited. It is exploitation because it’s promising thrills based on watching these classics get torn apart in a bloody, axe delivered mess. It has an element to exploit, in this case getting to see the 16th president of the United States of America behead a bunch of vampires. Don’t get me wrong, I would have much preferred a low-budget, grindhouse type movie with ridiculous violence and a stronger sense of irony, but I still think this Hollywood version is a heck of a lot better than a lot of the other crap they come up with.
It also, in a way, takes to town stuffy historical movies that are really, in all honesty, action flicks, like Braveheart or The Last Samurai or whatever. I see this movie as saying let’s call it like we see it and deliver the goods without trying to dress the film up as “important” or “accurate”. Let’s just see Lincoln flinging an axe around.
So there, that’s what I like about the idea of the movie. The movie itself is a lot of fun, generally. I enjoyed the aspects of linking the vampire stuff into real history. I thought the Gary Cooper-looking Benjamin Walker was great as Lincoln, and I always enjoy Dominic Cooper and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The fight scenes are generally great and the 3D is mostly excellent, especially during scenes like Gettysburg. As I said before, the climactic finale is a bit much, but hey, that’s the way these things work, right?
Mainly I enjoyed watching Abraham Lincoln hunt vampires. If you think you might enjoy that also, then you will like this movie. That’s what it comes down to really.
More mashup movies please Hollywood. Thank you.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is in theatres now.