Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abraham Lincoln grinds an ax and lops off heads

By James Colt Harrison

In the new 20th Century Fox 3D film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, we are supposed to believe that our great President Lincoln (newcomer Benjamin Walker) would lop off a few heads in between reading chapters in his law books. He didn’t simply use a regular ax, but a special silver-plated one that was needed to dispatch vampires. 

And how did we reach this ridiculous point in Abe’s life? It seems daddy Lincoln interfered with slave trader Jack Barts (an excellent Marton Csokas) and caused him trouble. Little did he know that Barts was also a vampire leader. To get his revenge against old man Lincoln, Barts killed little Abe’s mother. Aha! Now we have a motive for grown-up Lincoln to become a vampire hunter in between signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Abe was interested in slaves, you see, because his alleged best friend growing up was Anthony Mackie, so good in The Hurt Locker, and he had a need to do something significant for what he saw as an injustice to the slaves.

Dominic Cooper (Sturges), last seen singing and dancing so well in Mamma Mia! is supposedly helping Lincoln out by introducing him to the famous silver bladed ax. He warns him not to get too close emotionally to anybody. So Lincoln immediately falls in love with the jolly and comely Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who cleverly added Lincoln to her last name. At this point, Lincoln was a busy man, studying the law, running for President, helping slaves, marrying his girl, and whacking heads off vampires who had sharp teeth that needed plenty of dental work. 

Yeah, I know this well-crafted film was based on a hit novel by Seth Grahame Smith. But was it really necessary to sully the reputation of Lincoln, a man revered through the ages, as an honest, dear man to both blacks and whites? To make Lincoln someone who kills, no matter they be vampires, is completely out of character for the man.

Fox apparently opened their check book for this film to the tune of $69 million as production values are high and seemingly no expense was spared. It is filmed in 3D, although there is no reason for it to be in this process. Using some good actors,(Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, etc.) a great cinematographer (Caleb Deschanel), and period-correct sets, director Timur Bekmatov made a technically brilliant film. The war action scenes are thrilling and exciting. However, the subject matter is off-putting.

Abraham Lincoln as a vampire killer? Ridiculous. It’s an insult to this noble man and to the Office of the President to portray one of the United States’ greatest leaders, a man who wouldn’t even kill a fly, as a killer of vampires.

The producers of the film should be thoroughly thrashed for using Abraham Lincoln as their leading man and making him a killer. It’s unpatriotic and tasteless.


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