Friday, July 25, 2014

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

WARNING:  I am going to give away major details about the movie.  Most of these major details are ones that you should see coming, as the movie follows actually history to a certain degree.  However, if you don’t want to have all the details before seeing the movie, you might want to hold off on reading this review.

There seemed to be a lot of interest in Abraham Lincoln at once.  Daniel Day-Lewis starred in a movie called Lincoln, directed by Stephen Spielberg, about the President’s final months in office.  I’ve also seen a few Time special publications about him.  One movie that I found interesting was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  The movie roughly follows history.  It seems that many of the major characters were real people, although the move claims that Lincoln hunted and killed vampires around the time he first moved to Springfield, Illinois.

The story goes that his mother was killed by a vampire.  Young Abraham witnesses the murder and seeks revenge as soon as he’s old enough to get a gun and some bullets.  Problem is that it’s not so easy to kill a vampire.  All he does is enrage his mother’s killer, who now turns on her son.  Fortunately, Henry Sturgess saves Lincoln.  Lincoln convinces Sturgess to train him to kill vampires, which he reluctantly does.

He makes Lincoln understand that hunting vampires has to be his only pursuit.  He can’t have friends.  He can’t have family.  He can’t have a life outside of doing what Sturgess tells him to do.  This suits Lincoln just fine until he meets Mary Todd.  He’s able to hunt and kill vampires for a while longer, but eventually proposes to her and they marry.

It turns out that Sturgess has a secret.  Once revealed to Lincoln, he abandons his hunt and goes into politics.  He wants to abolish slavery, but it might come at a price.  The South is home to a lot of vampires and those vampires use slaves as a source of food.  Take away slavery and they may revolt.  When Lincoln becomes president, the South splits, eventually leading to the Civil War.

Vampires don’t hold political office, but they do contribute money to make sure their interests are protected.  They even enlist in the war, as they have a better survival rate than normal humans.  Lincoln does have a few tricks up his sleeve and is able to defeat the vampires and win the war.

As I said in the warning, the movie uses history as a guide.  The movie is not meant to be historically accurate to the last sentence.  It’s more like different motives are assigned to historical characters.  It should come as no surprise that the South goes to war with the North.  It should come as no surprise that the North wins.  The surprise comes in how the North does it.  There is some suspense in how.  These are the details I don’t want to give away.  (In the last few minutes of the movie, Mary Todd Lincoln is calling to her husband that they’re going to be late to the play.)

I figured that the movie was going to be one of those stories about how you didn’t know all these things about our 16th president.  It was more of an alternate history where vampires exist.  Yes, they’re kept hidden from people and use large amounts of sunscreen to go out in daylight.  Still, the main draw of the movie is the action sequences.  There’s one where Lincoln is fighting a vampire in the middle of a horse stampede.   In another, Lincoln and his allies are fighting many vampires.  Both sequences are very well done.  I’d say both are worth renting the movie for if you’re into action movies.

The movie is definitely worth watching.  This was one of those movies I wanted to see, but not enough to pay full price for it.  The movie was released in 3D, which would probably have been worth it.  It’s just that I’m not working full time right now and have to make choices.  I’d rather get the 2D version from Redbox with a free code than pay to see it in 3D.  I just wish that more movies would release the 3D version on DVD.  (I guess it’s too difficult to distribute special glasses with the movie.) 

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