Went and saw an advance screening of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this evening with Deb, courtesy of my friend Randy. Haven’t read the book, I have to admit, because the premise didn’t appeal to me greatly. It all seemed a little too twee for my taste; a little too charmingly hip. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I am a big Civil War buff. I am a big admirer of our 16th president. And, of course, I love horror.
And while my problems were with the movie, the author did write the screenplay, too. So my assumption is that some of the problems with the movie were also problems with the book. Here are my probs:
1) The movie made Abraham Lincoln (and a fictional vampire-hunting Abraham Lincoln at that) boring. Boring.
2) There was no character to root for. Lincoln was boring, much of what happened to him was boring. Mary Todd was boring. The vampires were boring. Boring.
3) The movie was all kinds of historically inaccurate. Now, I realize that sounds funny at face value. I mean, which part of a movie that centers around a vampire-hunting 19th-century president is supposed to be historically accurate? But if you’re going to go with the conceit of a historical horror movie, at least make some attempt to actually portray the time period somewhat accurately. To whit, there was no photography during Lincoln’s boyhood. Photography didn’t enter the mainstream until around 1849-51. Not 1837. Also there were no revolvers during the Civil War, at least not the kind that were depicted in the movie. Ughh…things like that pull me right out of a movie.
4) Too many large lapses of time or jumps that the audience is supposed to just take without comment. Lincoln learns to wield an axe well enough to chop completely through a tree in a scene that lasts about 2 minutes. Really? The movie’s midpoint confrontation, in which Lincoln takes on the head vampire for the first time and nearly loses his life ends with him escaping just barely…and then the bad vampire waits years…a decade or more…to get his revenge. Really? That’s just lazy writing.
In the end, there was probably a better story here. Maybe that story is better told in the book, but now I’m not interested.
Well, at least it was free.
So far for movies this year:
The Cabin in the Woods–Pretty good, though a little too hip and self-aware for its own good. And like most horror movies, everything is ruined in the last minute.
The Avengers–Yay. I mean, pitch note perfect. A super hero movie that revels in its superhero-ness, rather than deny and undermine it like Christopher Nolan’s highly overrated Batman movies.
Prometheus–A tremendous let down that is a textbook case, IMHO at least, of lazy, lazy writing. Not one single question it raises is answered. And I don’t mean questions from the Alien series of movies, I mean questions raised directly in this movie. Vague, not frightening, with amazing lapses of logic (even logic internal to the story the movie tells) and characters doing and saying ridiculous things. For me, it just goes to show that you can have a great director and a gazillion dollars, but unless you have equally great writing, the whole thing falls apart. When, when for the love of all that’s holy will Hollywood realize this? Same problem with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Not looking forward to The Amazing Spider-Man, though I LOVE the character or even The Dark Knight Rises, which (again to me) is just Serpico with a costume.
Here’s looking forward to The Hobbit Part I this Christmas! And, of course, The Avengers 2!