It’s funny that film adaptation of a book about vampires serves as a metaphor for Hollywood’s vampirism.
As I am wont to do, I read the book in advance of this movie’s release. Author Seth Grahame-Smith managed to blend real history with his own fictional tangents to create a compelling story that should have been more ridiculous farce than engaging adventure. Since he was also tabbed to write the screenplay, it seemed the big-screen version of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter would be a surefire home run. Not so.
Not to say I didn’t enjoy the Hollywood adaptation. In many ways, the sprawling narrative of the book was successfully truncated into 100 minutes of action. It’s just that the action was pretty repetitive. Benjamin Walker played Honest Abe, and with the magic of prosthetics, even looked like the 16th president of the USA for the latter half of the film. He swung his axe mightily and deftly, but it happened so often that it’s all a jumbled blur now.
TANGENT: Walker also played former president Andrew Jackson in a Broadway play, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” How many people get to say they starred as the $5 bill AND the $20 bill?!? Well, one, apparently…
The vampires were cool, masquerading as good citizens of Illinois, and later, the Confederacy. But after the 2nd or 4th reveal, I stopped being shocked/surprised,excited/(insert positive adjective here) by it. More of the same. Hurry up and get on with it.
In all, the page-turning novel I read a few months back got bitten by the bloodsuckers of Tinseltown and became a pale reflection of itself, still cool in some ways, but lacking the life of the printed word.
And now, my random thoughts…
1. One glaring plot hole… Henry Sturges, Abe’s vampire frientor (I just made that word up. Friend + mentor = Frientor. Sounds like a He-Man guy, I know. But feel free to use it at your next soiree.) tries to convince Lincoln to let Sturges turn him into a vampire, citing all the work they could accomplish. Uh… isn’t this the same guy who recruited the human Lincoln because VAMPIRES CAN’T KILL OTHER VAMPIRES?!? For the love of God… What exactly would they accomplish if they were both nosferatu? Stupid. So, so stupid.
2. I seem to remember John Wilkes Booth being a vampire himself. I would have liked to have seen that moment play out on-camera.
3. Joshua Speed was exactly how I pictured him in the book. That’s pretty much all I have to say about this movie.