Thursday, October 25, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This is a conversation between Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, the champion of civil rights and democracy and his would-be wife, Marry Todd as they go on a picnic: She asks why he’s so preoccupied, and he tells her, half-serious, half in jest, that last night he went hunting vampires. She doesn’t believe him, but carry on with the conversion nonetheless: “And, how many would you reckon you’ve killed? she asks. “Five,” he said, “No, six.” Imagine, if this was a historical reality! We’d be outsourceing blood to America!

This is not an alternative reality, but a scene from the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ (2012), which started with a brilliant promisingly but couldn’t really sustain its crude mixture of serious bio-pic, period-costume drama with a ludicrous ‘True Blood’-style vampire supremacy narrative. Suspending your disbelieve for vampires is one thing, but to be convinced that Mr President Lincoln was an axe-welding badass and the historic civil war for the emancipation of the blacks was actually was a war against a vampire nation is something else altogether. You’ll have to create something really special to achieve that.

The film is directed by the great Timur Bekmambetov and in one sense, he’s the right person for the job; you’d vouch for it if you’ve seen his two Russian blockbusters — ‘Night Watch’ (2004) and ‘Day Watch’ (2006), both were neo-vampire tales, with a great mythology and told with such verve and style, including special effects and slo-mo. He also did ‘quite good’, though some people wouldn’t agree, the Angelina Jolie assassination fantasy ‘Wanted’ (2008), where the killers can bend their bullet!

That Timur touch lingers, and, predictably, the film has some action set-pieces which rise above the ho-hum narrative, especially after Mr Lincoln becomes president. One such scene is the face-off between Abe and the vampire who killed his mother, in a field, with thousands of horses running in a stampede, under the red-orange sky, with the vampire leaping from one running horse to another, and our hero in hot persuit. Great stuff, while it lasts!

The film is based on the 2010 mashup novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay. Grahame-Smith was inspired to write this novel after the unprecedented success of his book, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ (2008), where he introduced a Zombie plot in the beloved Elizabeth and Darcy romance. So much for re-imagination!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 2012 American action fantasy horror film based on the 2010 mashup novel of the same name. The film was directed and co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov, along with Tim Burton. The novel's author, Seth Grahame-Smith, wrote the adapted screenplay, and Benjamin Walker stars as the title character. The real-life figure Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States (1861–1865), is portrayed in the novel and the film as having a secret identity as a vampire hunter. Filming began in Louisiana in March 2011 and the film was released in 3D on June 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom and June 22, 2012 in the United States.
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Timur Nurbakhitovich Bekmambetov (Timur Nurbakhitovich Bekmambetov; born 25 June 1961) is a Russian director, producer and screenwriter who has worked on films and commercials. He is best known for the Russian film Night Watch (2004) and its sequel Day Watch (2006), and the American films Wanted (2008) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012).
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Seth Grahame-Smith (born Seth Jared Greenberg; January 4, 1976) is an American best-selling author, screenwriter, and producer of film and television. He is best known as the author of The New York Times best-selling novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter; the latter of which has been adapted as a feature film. Grahame-Smith is also the co-creator, head writer and executive producer of The Hard Times of RJ Berger, a scripted television comedy appearing on MTV. In collaboration with David Katzenberg, his partner in Katzsmith Productions, Grahame-Smith is currently developing a number of projects for television and film.
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