Friday, June 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, 
Vampire Hunter

Hear that sound? 
That's the sucking noise 
of all the potential 
fun being vacuumed away

Movie Review

A rather fun book poorly 
adapted into a film 
that enters theaters

Boardroom meeting at 20th Century Fox

Fox Big-Wig: Yes, everyone, thank you for coming, have a seat. We're here to discuss adapting Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter into a film. Fox, of course, has already made some key decisions regarding this. Mr. Grahame-Smith, good job on the book, by the way.

Seth Grahame-Smith: Thank you.

Fox Big-Wig: But now we need to ruin it. It's too fresh, too funny. 

Grahame-Smith: Umm...what?

Fox Big-Wig: We want you to take the coolest and most promising movie title to come along in years, and then squeeze every single bit of fun out of it. Got a problem with that? 

Grahame-Smith: But.....I can't... 

Fox Big-Wig: Yes, you can. Our checked cashed, didn't it? Get on it. Let's move forward. Mr. Bekmambetov? 

Timur Bekmambetov: Yes?

Fox Big-Wig: In 2008, you directed Wanted. That film was a sheer joy to watch. It was funny, and had a tongue-in-cheek life of it's own. Good job.

Bekmambetov: Well, thank you.

Fox Big-Wig: We don't want any of that here. We want you to take this movie - what could be a very amusing premise - and be way too serious. If you see a scene that looks promising, unique and fun, we want you to re-shoot until all of the life force is sucked right out.

Bekmambetov: But....I wouldn't....

Fox Big-Wig: Look, Bekmambetov...our check cashed, didn't it? Get on it. Moving forward. Where is our cinematographer? Mr. Deschanel? Where are you?

Caleb Deschanel: Right here.

Fox Big-Wig: We want you to shoot the entire film through a Murky-Lens, like those guys did for Pirates of the Carribbean 4. Hey, Zooey Deschanel's dad, are you listening?

Deschanel: But....that's not....

Fox Big-Wig: Oh, you certainly can. Our check cashed, didn't it? Besides, we let your other kid have Bones, right? 'Nuff said. Let's move forward. Mr. Walker?

Ben Walker: I can see where this is going.

Fox Big-Wig: That's right, young man. You held your own working alongside Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy. We don't want that here. We want preposterous and unconvincing. Got that?

Walker: But.....

Fox Big-Wig: Moving on. Ms. Winstead, you were fantastic in Sky High and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. So...just don't. Just don't.

Mary Winstead: But....

Not All Was Lost.....

I am happy to report that Benjamin Walker and Mary Elizabeth Winstead didn't follow orders. 

They handle their roles with aplomb, injecting what life they can into a doomed production. AL, VH will probably bomb big-time, but Walker certainly deserves to move on to better things. Rufus Sewell shines, as well.

I don't think we can really blame Timur Bekmambetov, the director, or Seth Grahame-Smith either. 

There just wasn't a lot of wiggle room adapting the wonderful book into a film. This happens a lot more than people realize, because every film comes from somewhere....and most come from a novel that sold well. And some books just don't translate well.

Bonfire of the Vanities was a terrific book that translated into a terrible movie. Sometimes that just happens. But hey, at least the vampires didn't sparkle.

The action sequences are very well done, but like Battleship, I wished for a fast-forward button to blast past the boring bits, so I could enjoy the action. The bad guys, who were vampires working for the South (?), were well done, too. 

I am going to go on record here and say that I hate dark, murky movies, and that they really turn me off. And this one was murky, to say the least. Actually, AL,VH gave murkiness a new name.

Does it bother me that Abe's real achievements were overlooked as America's perhaps most moral president? Or that slavery and the Civil War are barely mentioned. 

Not really. 

But when you have such great subject matter, and such a light-hearted title, it would be nice if the rest of the movie matched. If you are going to insult history, then have the balls to at least make it a fun insult. 

I don't know what was going on behind the scenes of this production, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Grahame-Smith's vision was discarded by some lame Fox executive. The man is way too funny for his humor to not seep into this movie.

What Is Your Favorite 
Vampire Movie?

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