Last night I was able to see a sneak preview of the movie, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter that comes out on Friday. Sometimes I know ahead of time if I am not able to catch a preview that I will be forking out the cash to see it anyway. This was one of those movies.
Well, I am glad I didn't pay.
The movie is based on a book by the same name from Seth Grahame-Smith about the secret life of our country's 16th president. See, when he was a youngster, Lincoln saw his mother die after being attacked by vampires. From this moment, his life's goal was to seek revenge for her death. Both the book and the movie take the historically known information about President Lincoln and weave into it what we haven't known, up until now. things like the Civil War being a war to stop the vampires' main food supply (slaves) and that Lincoln's own son dies from a vampire, not what ever they tell us on Wikipedia. I have absolutely no problem with this alternate view of Lincoln's life. I don't even have a problem with the random events in the movie that have no link back to the book. I think the idea of this all going on while Lincoln lead our country is incredible......in an amazingly creative and awesome way. And the execution of this in the book was impressive.
Not so much in the movie.
Where I was left disappointed in the movie was the visuals. Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay and Tim Burton was one of the producers. I thought this would be a great pairing. Instead I feel like the two of them got together and made a mud pile of special effects. One would suggest doing something "cool" and the other would feel the need to one-up him. (and honestly, it may have nothing to do with either of them.....I just have higher hopes from any project they are associated with.) In the end, most of the actual story was pushed aside to make room for an overwhelming 3D, slow motion, splashy, computer generated assault on my senses. Everything felt hyped up and super sensitized. I guess I should have known something was wrong when in the first 5 minutes or so of the film parts of the screen went fuzzy as the camera focused on different people. Why do that?
By the way, I do have to commend both Benjamin Walker and whoever did his make-up on how well they aged him, despite the one scene where he looked like a deranged leprechaun. In fact, all the actors and actresses involved did an above and beyond type performance. Too bad most of it probably ended up on the editing room floor to make room for more special effects.
After screenings, the studio has a person waiting to politely take any and all comments the viewers have to send back to the studio. I waited a bit before approaching her and told her (more simply) how I felt about the excessive use of special effects. I asked if others had said the same thing. Nope. Just me. She did get a lot of "really cool" comments. So perhaps this movie is not meant for people who want a story but instead want to see really neato eyes that kinda glow in 3D?
Next week I get to see Magic Mike. I expect no special effects. I expect no story. I don't expect that I'll be disappointed.