Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter written by Seth Grahame-Smith, directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Productions, Bazelevs Production, Tim Burton Productions, R, 105 minutes)
Starring Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper.
“History prefers legends to men; it prefers nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quiet deeds. History remembers the battle and forgets the blood. Whatever history remembers of me, if it remembers anything at all, it should only be a fraction of the truth, for whatever else I am, a husband, a lawyer, a president, I shall always think of myself as a man who struggled against darkness” – Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
I watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because it was close to Halloween, and it seemed like a not-so-serious movie that I could “enjoy” as I did some chores and muddled around the house. I, however, was surprised to find some poignant truths in the midst of the strangely conceived movie.
Abraham Lincoln is nine years old, and witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire named Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). A little later in life as a man in his late teens, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) tries to kill the man in revenge and fails. He makes the acquaintance of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who teaches him how to fight and kill a vampire. His mantra is this,
“Real power comes from not hate, but truth”
Sturgess, however, directs him to kill only those vampires that he, Sturgess, desires. The vampire that Sturgess is the most concerned about is Adam (Rufus Sewell), who is the aptly named father of all vampires.
Blending History and Fiction
Blending history and fiction, Lincoln relocates to Springfield, Illinois where he is employed as a store clerk while he studies the law. The fiction comes in what his nocturnal activity is: hunting vampires. While on the hunt, he learns that Adam is himself a slave owner, and in a conversation Adam reveals his thoughts poorly justifying his ownership of slaves. Even though it’s true that we are all slaves to something, his philosophy is ill-applied.
“I’ve seen Jews build Egypt, I’ve seen Christians thrown in the lion’s den, and I’ve seen Africans sell their own kind to Europeans. May I share a revelation from my last five thousand years? We’re all slaves to something.”
I’d Watch It Again
Soon after, Lincoln decides to fight with words rather than with an axe, to become a politician and eventually a president. To his chagrin, Lincoln finds out during his presidency that the Confederates are using vampires among their ranks, and he has to take up his axe again to fight them, mounting a massive campaign against them. The battle culminates at Gettysburg.
While the story itself is downright ridiculous, the movie itself is equally as entertaining. There are some poignant truths within, and honestly, perhaps sadly, I would watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter again.
Verdict: 3 out of 5
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