Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) - It Bites


Ingredients: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson, Marton Csokas and Erin Wasson. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Run time: 105 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: Seth Grahame-Smith's novel is one of my favorite books of the last five years. I can't say I was shocked to find out there was going to be a movie version, but I was definitely psyched to see it. Without a second thought, I spent the required $15 for the 3D version in an RPX theater (60-ft screen, dual 30K lumen digital projectors and 100,000-watt sound system) for the midnight premiere.

Abraham Lincoln (Walker) turns to vampire hunting after one of the monsters kills his mother.

A vampire hunter named Henry (Cooper) helps Abe and takes him under his wing, and recruits him to kill evil vampires.

Tough to Swallow: The movie is loosely based on the novel. Really loose. So loose, in fact, the only things it really has in common with the book are Abraham Lincoln and vampires.

Jack Barts (Csokas) plays too prominent of a role, and two other baddies have been invented.

Henry's origin story is different (the book's version is awesome) and the truth about him doesn't come out until about an hour into the movie.

Will Johnson (Mackie) is a brand new character and plays a significant role, while several more important characters are missing completely.

Vampires can't kill vampires? Silver? Invisibility?

The second floor balcony of the White House is visible a few times. It wasn't there until the late 1940s.

The most disappointing part was the ending. The movie quits two endings before the book did.

Something to Chew On: Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay. Apparently, there were many, many drafts, and another writer came in while Grahame-Smith took time to work on DARK SHADOWS.

Walker beat out Timothy Olyphant, Eric Bana, Adrien Brody, Josh Lucas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and James D'Arcy for the role of Lincoln.

Tom Hardy had to turn down the role of Lincoln due to scheduling conflicts with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Joaquin Phoenix turned down the role of Henry.

Alan Tudyk, probably one of the bigger names of the cast, appears uncredited as Stephen A. Douglas.

Aftertaste: Man, I was really disappointed with this movie. Would I have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the novel first? Possibly.

But, then I would have read the book after watching the movie, and still been pissed about the movie.

I kept thinking about how about Benjamin Walker reminded me of Liam Neeson and Eric Bana. I also kept thinking they should have tried to get Nathan Fillion to play Abe. More star power probably would have helped.

The action is decent, but over-the-top, especially in the stampede and train scenes.

Essentially, Bekmambetov took a brilliant mix of history and fiction and tried to turn it into a straight-up action thriller. Ugh. It's so infuriating. This should not have been a summer blockbuster-type film in 3D. It should have been a smart, 2D horror flick released sometime closer to Halloween.

In conclusion, read the book and don't watch the movie.

Or, watch the movie and don't read the book.

Otherwise, you'll be in for a letdown.

It's really like taking a stake to the heart.

Sorry. Just being honest, Abe.


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