Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) Producer: Tim Burton Screen Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Pride Prejudice & Zombies / Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter & screen-writer of Dark Shadows) Actors: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Film Score Composer: Henry Jackman (Puss in Boots and X-Men: First Class) Genre: Action/Fantasy/Horror
Plot Summary: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is portrayed in the novel and the film as having a secret identity as a vampire hunter. He discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States by rallying the South to divide from the Union. Abe makes it his mission to free all men from slavery and vampires.
As soon as I finished reading the last chapter of “Pride Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith, I could not wait to read the book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Upon reading the book, my heart fell. Comparatively speaking, what a disappointment this was! I rated the book only 2 stars. That’s right, I thought it was MEH! I was really disappointed with the writer because I loved his adaptation of Pride Prejudice and Zombies. What a unique idea to combine one of history’s famous presidents and an unlikely hidden past hunting vampires.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was well written. It was very easy to follow and it flowed just right. The characters were very interesting and easy to picture, as was the scenery and time it took place. The author takes you on an adventure through Abraham Lincoln’s life from the time he was born, till the day that John Wilkes Boothe put a bullet in his head. I was quite fascinated how the author wrote about Abraham. But still, the book left me feeling very blasé.
Sometime later while browsing on my favorite movie site, I caught wind that Seth Grahame-Smith had sold the rights of the book to 20th Century Fox. My eyes did a double take!! Normally this would have me torn because I really don’t like it when Hollywood tries to re-create a literary piece of work. But for this book I was ecstatic!!! Finally, here is a chance for a movie to actually out shine a book!! I can only count on one hand the number of movies that are just as good as their respective books or even better! I know that it is impossible to make a movie with ALL the details of the book but that doesn’t give Hollywood the right to destroy the book (*cough* video killed the book star). Since I didn’t really care much for the book, I couldn’t wait to see what Hollywood would do with it!!! Vampires, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, Jefferson Davis, John Wilkes Booth and the beautiful costumes and set designs of the 1860’s!! Yeah I was pumped (no literally, I was fist pumping).
The movie starts out by taking modern day Washington DC and, little by little, transforming it into our nation’s Capital of the 1840’s. (Now that was probably the best cinematography of the whole movie). The scene changes to young Abraham and his family and they are working on a plantation (huh?? In the book they never worked on a plantation!!). Shortly after Abe’s mother dies from a vampire bite, the scene changes again, and Abraham is a grown man. OK! Hold the phone, what is going on. Abraham didn’t know his mother died from a vampire till he was a teenager, how could Hollywood manage to ruin a perfectly “MEH” book in less than 5 minutes?? The excitement I felt upon first taking my seat in the theater was fading rapidly. The movie didn’t follow the book at all!! Hollywood simply took the idea of the book and ran in a completely different direction. For example: in the movie there are characters that weren’t even in the book (Adam’s sister, Vadoma) that simply just took up space and left out perfectly good characters (where was Edgar Allan Poe!!!) from the book that were freaking awesome. So here I am, 30 minutes into the movie, realizing that the movie I came to see is not what I am watching and I am trying to be open minded about it. The more I saw of the movie, the more appreciation I began to have for the book and started to realize that the book may not have been as bad as I originally thought it was.
The cinematography and direction was second rate at best. I was completely shocked that Timur Bekmambetov would go from directing Wanted to this. The directing was just not original at all. It felt like a poor imitation of Guy Pierce, the British director best known for Sherlock Holmes. The stop-action fight scenes in the movie were complete over-kill and uber-cheesy (the fight scene between Abe and Jack Barts with horses, really?!). How could Tim Burton, a GREAT director (acting as the producer), allow this monstrosity to happen and then put it in the movie theater for all to see?
The costume and set design were nothing special. None of the costumes or the make-up/special-effects was that impressive that they stood out. From what I saw of the movie, the set was predominantly green screen, so no worries if they’re trying to win any awards (because this girl thinks they won’t).
The script was just as wonderful as the book (*ahem*, the scrip was nothing like the book). The acting was less then desirable but considering the script, they did the best they could. The cast ranged from newcomers just barely getting their names out there to seasoned vets who know how to play the game. The one and only good thing about the movie, was the actor Rufus Sewell, who played the lead Vampire Adam. Sewell did a superb job portraying his character; from the way he walked, talked and carried himself through the whole movie! Rufus you were amazing and it is always a joy to watch your work.
The film score was so great I had to look up the composer online to see what other work he had done (Dot. Dot. Dot…). However the music did go with the flow of the movie and fit the movie just right but it was not memorable at all.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was a huge disappointment to me, again because I expected Hollywood to bring me something great since it was such an unique idea and had the opportunity to outshine its book. I was sorely disappointed, but that doesn’t mean you will be. Buyer beware.
Real power, Abe, does not come through hate but truth.
*Disclaimers: Plot summary, movie info and movie trailer image sourced from IMDB.com.
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