Tuesday, July 3, 2012

review: abraham lincoln: vampire hunter

On opening day of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the local Pittsburgh steampunk group went to the local cinema to see it in full regalia.  Besides a bunch of kilted moviegoers entering a showing of Brave (which, by the way, is more WINNING than Charlie Sheen's tiger blood), our little group made quite a stir itself:

The movie itself?  It was quite entertaining.

The movie chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, and the secret part of his life in which he is a vampire slayer.

The events of this secret life fit very conveniently into the biography of Lincoln as we know it.  His mother's death when he was nine?  Vampire's.  His son Willie's death?  Vampires.  His trip to New Orleans in the 1830s?  Really a mission to kill vampires.  Also, the initial Confederate success at Gettysburg was the result of Rebel blood-suckers drinking the blood of the poor Union soldiers.

In short, all of his actions, from the age of nine to his death, were the result of the war he waged against vampires, including the Civil War.

This action-packed flick paid homage to every single action special effect one could imagine- from the slow-motion action shots of Guy Ritchie to the collated flying spattering blood effect of 300, to the signature "bullet time" effect made popular by The Matrix.  For a movie set in the 19th century, the amount of action not involving crazy technologically advanced machines or weapons was quite a feat.

Also, who knew that Abraham Lincoln was such an agile axe-wielding fiend of vampires everywhere?

A few very good things about this movie were that, considering the subject matter, the movie pulled it off relatively well.  It was a fairly short movie at just 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the time did not feel like it dragged.  In fact, when I walked out of the theater, I thought, "That was it?!"

It was also refreshing to have a movie about Abe Lincoln that did not focus almost solely on the Civil War. And nice to have a movie where a boy trying to avenge his mother's death doesn't get overly emotional about it.

But the premise, some of the superhuman actions committed by both Honest Abe and the vampires, and the action scenes themselves were so ridiculously over-the-top that the movie was absolutely hilarious.

image source: She Knows
A great deal of the movie was peppered with the following comments between myself and my friend Josh (the one with the bow-tie as ridiculously large as the movie was ridiculous in general):
  • "Abe did not just cut through a tree trunk with one swing of the axe..."
  • "They're having a car chase on a stampede of wild horses?!"
  • "That vampire did not just pick up a horse and swing it around like a sack of berries, did he?"
  • "Don't tell me they just made an axe-gun!"
    • "Where do I get one of those?"
  • "So we're now in the Matrix?"
  • "A carriage just broke into a mansion and came to the rescue!"
  • "How do a bunch of people walk 80 miles in one night?!"
    • "Well, the average person can walk 36 miles a day... oh, yeah."
  • "He is not kicking down wooden bridge pillars, is he?!"
  • "Don't tell me they threw in The Little Engine that Could into this movie."
    • "They did."
  • "They did not just suggest that Obama is a vampire hunter too?"
And then, during the credits?
  • "Is that...?"
    • "Yes, it is.  The United States outlined in blood."
I laughed until my sides hurt, and then spent the entire credits laughing about everything I had just witnessed.

My final assessment- this movie was good in a very bad way. I don't think they were trying to disrespect Abraham Lincoln- in fact, Scott and I wonder if the entire story idea was the result of a very drunk Seth Grahame-Smith's thinking a little too hard about Fight Club's Tyler Durden claiming that he would want to fight Lincoln out of any historical character. A hilarious concept, with even the dramatic parts shown in a way that was hilarious without being campy.
image source: New York Times
I wouldn't recommend that someone pay for a movie ticket to see this movie, but it would probably make an all right DVD rental.  Just as long as you don't take any part of this movie seriously (especially you Civil War buffs) you will most likely enjoy it in all of its ridiculousness.

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