Trailer Tuesday: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter
I think there's a moment in everybody's life when they have a sudden sobering... When a certain long-held passion ferments overnight, going from mouth-watering to a gag-inducing. What once filled your heart with glee instead triggers repulsion or eye-rolling disdain. And apparently I have had just such a moment while watching the trailer/s for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
You see, in the past I've loved my share of deliberately ridiculous, fantasy-infused actioners. Hell, Priest and The Warrior's Way were my big guilty pleasures of 2011. Now though, I think I've finally reached my fill of CGI-enhanced action scenes saturated with slo-mo and wire-stunts. I'm well and truly over over-the-top, deliberate dumbness, where an entire movie is constructed superficially around a single "silly but fun" concept. In the case of mashup novel adaptation Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (from the same writer of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), that concept sees Civil War era US president Abraham Lincoln leading a secret life as an axe-wielding vampire slayer after his mother is murdered by a bloodsucker.
You can watch the first trailer for Abraham Lincoln here although the newer one above features pretty much the same footage, with an additional voice-over that provides a better sense of what the film is all about. For the record, unknown Benjamin Walker plays both the younger and older Lincoln (who is evidently freakishly strong!), while Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Lincoln's wife and Dominic Cooper Lincoln's friend and slaying mentor. He of the wonky eye, Rufus Sewell, is the film's villainous vampire lead.
Shot for 3D - i.e. not a conversion! - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur (Night Watch, Wanted) Bekmambetov. The 2 "visionary" filmmakers previously collaborated, out of interest, as co-producers on the ambitious but less than classic 9.
Doing a little research into Abraham Lincoln: VH's source material, I can admit that the film apparently presents one interesting idea, and that's how Lincoln's 2 great desires - to exterminate vampires and eradicate slavery - dovetail. Apparently 19th Century vampires were using plantations as their own personal blood banks... but then again, if you've ever been exposed to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, you'd know that already.
I'm sure there are people out there very excited now for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Myself, I'll be giving it a skip. Despite his strong grasp of effects-use, Bekmambetov has never done anything with his striking visuals to win my good favour - I despised his 2008 Wanted movie especially, which looked great but was emotionally lazy, one-dimensional and riddled with plot holes. And frankly, why make a movie about Abraham Lincoln where 85% of the film is evidently set before the great man donned his iconic top hat and grew his beard? That's who the audience really wants to see kicking ass... not yet another scowling young man.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens in North America on 22 June. The film's South African release date is 10 August.