Saturday, January 18, 2014

Answers to all of Life's Eternal Questions Are in this Film!


My strangely long and involved Amazon review of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." I gave it 4 stars. 

Normally I dislike action/fantasy movies because, usually, the action is repetitive and the fantasy is worn out and follows a trite Hollywood formula.

I checked out this film because it is connected to Tim Burton and the director is Russian (as am I).

Nevertheless, as I inserted the DVD into my laptop, I fully expected to take it out the disk before finishing the show.

I did end up watching till the end and was pleasantly surprised by this movie. The premise is unique and the action sequences are some of the best I ever encountered.

Was I emotionally invested in the fate of the characters?

No, not particularly...Then again, this is "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" not War and Peace.

But the script does provide some solid plot twists and I was interested to see how this vampire fantasy parallels the Civil War history we know.

What really sets this effort apart is the action. Usually in this type of an effort the action has heavy editing. The camera rarely holds still. Instead you get a patchwork of edits, showing the hand with gun, then a punch, then an explosion, then some stale dialogue, then another punch and explosion. All of this becomes overwhelming in a bad way.

The great thing about the Matrix was the consistency of the image. The camera followed the character without cutting away too much. This movie has a similar style and also uses slow motion to highlight choice moments. Of course the frame jumps around sometimes but there is more of a natural feel to the editing and I didn't get the disorienting, light nausea I usually feel.

Its good, the action is, I don't see how people can quibble with it.

***

Finally, I'd like to address the criticism of this movie that I have encountered in Amazon reviews and elsewhere.

Some people are put off by the premise, stating that it was the dumbest thing they have ever seen.

Lets think about this, you bought or rented a movie called "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and then you start watching the said movie and you are shocked, SHOCKED to see that in it Abraham Lincoln is... a vampire hunter!?

Are you a moron?

This is like watching a Superman movie and being disgusted when Clark Kent takes off his glasses, puts on tights and no one recognized him anymore; or renting a Woody Allen movie and being flabbergasted when the protagonist turns out to be a neurotic New Yorker.

Did you think that the reference to vampire hunting was a convoluted metaphor for Abe's battle with his depression and other personal demons? Did you think you were in for a cerebral, interpersonal drama?

Reading these negative reviews, I have to ask myself a question, "what exactly did people expect from a movie called 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'?"

Did they expect answers to their deepest existential questions? Did they want it to provide solutions to their strained relationships with their parents? Did they want a sophisticated critique of the political dysfunction and partisan gridlock in modern American government?

Let me tell you what you have a right to expect: some vampire hunting, some good action scenes, Abraham Lincoln as the hero and a half-way decent plot.

This movie more than delivers on those counts.

The one point that I will concede to the haters is that it is true that this movie almost totally lacks humor. Its lack of irony is sort of funny in its own right because by the middle of the film you are half-way seriously following the adventures of Honest Abe in his battle with vampires.

You accepting this ridiculous premise for the duration of the film is the biggest joke and it is pretty funny if you think about it.

But, eh, not enough. One star gone.

Aside from that, its all good. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.. a solid flick.

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