Movie Reviews: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "Brave"

The day has finally come where I can say that I finally saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the movie-verse.

First off, this review will be FULL of spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, stop reading at the spoiler alert marker. Also, this got long.

What you need to know going into the movie is that when people said it was nothing like the book, they really meant it. I had a few looks at the reviews that weren't full of spoilers this morning before my viewing and I honestly had no idea just how much the director & company had changed the source material. Seth, I'm looking at you, sir, because at least some of these changes were yours. lol

If you are extremely committed to the book, you more than likely might be disappointed by the movie verse.

Things the book & the movie had in common:

  • A few of the main characters from the books were featured.

  • Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.

  • Abraham Lincoln read law books.

  • Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd got married.

  • Abe participated in famed debates and delivered the Gettysburg Address.

  • The Civil War took place.

  • That's about it overall.

    Entire personalities and appearances were changed. Henry wasn't the calm and driving force that the book reader is accustomed to. In the movie, he is more of a controlling hothead that demands that Abe follow his rules when it comes to hunting vampires. He is also shown to pick up/recruit young men in bars using the same pick up line.

    We see that he is given a "love interest," but it is made pretty clear that she was just someone he had sex with. I was a little disappointed that Gabrielle wasn't used more or wasn't shown to be dating Henry. I had high hopes for the romantic tendencies that Book!Henry possessed.

    We did get to see his wife, Edeva, which made me so happy! We got to see the softer side of Henry in this area only. But I understand that they had limited time to show Henry's background.

    I was rather disappointed that there was no Ann Rutledge even mentioned in the movie. But again, I completely understand. With all of the extra stuff they threw in, there wasn't any time for Abe's first love. So, I can just go read the book if I want an Ann fix.

    Abe himself was altered a little, but not nearly as much as Henry. He was still extremely angry about his mother's murder, among other things. But pretty much, he was himself except with fancier axe work. I had to laugh at the fact that I could see bits of Ben peeking through, mostly in the scene where he and Mary return from their picnic.

    Now, about these movie!vampires. They were pretty much 100% different vampires than they were in the book. They barely needed their glasses in bright light to the point where they should have been left out all together. We see them out and about in the sun and facing all manner of bright light with no ill effects. They also are able to use a tiny bit of sunscreen and they're fine when it comes to burning in the sunlight. There isn't any need to grow accustomed to the sunlight in the movie. Again, this had to be a time issue and a budget issue. If they were able to shoot night and day, that would save them time and money from just shooting at night. Definitely costs more on a night shoot for lighting, etc.

    For all of the Twilight jokes, I found it ridiculously amusing that AL:VH went the same route as Twilight for their vampire transformations. Book verse has a new vamp consume a substantial amount of their maker's blood and then change over a three day period. A small amount of vampire blood is considered a "fool's dose" and will poison the consumer. Movie verse shows that the maker's bite is venomous and vampire blood causes no ill effects if consumed. We see this in Abe receiving a face and mouth full of vampire blood for his troubles and him just spitting the blood out and continuing on. The movie tries to explain that once bitten by a vampire, you either die or turn into a vampire based on whether your soul is "pure" or not.

    Henry was shown to not have a "pure" soul, thus he changed within moments of being bitten into a vampire. His wife, however, was drained dry by Adam (the movie verse vampire that spawned all other vampires) and stayed dead because her soul was "pure." They do not elaborate about what qualifies a soul to be pure or not. In the same flashback on Henry's human life, we are told that vampires cannot kill one another, just fight and wound.

    Movie verse vampires have other major differences such as being able to consume alcohol and being vulnerable to silver. Neither of these details appear in the book, so people who read the book first will be confused at first. I know that I was for a few seconds, but had given up the canon pretty much from the start.

    Even Abe's intro is different and he is issued a token Black friend that he tries to save from a very different Jack Barts. (As a Black person, I acknowledge that's what William was, but that's not all that he was used for. He was actually a badass in his own right, which I appreciated the hell out of.) All of the details surrounding Jack Barts were changed, but the new version fit better for the movie. Since the book has a different pace, the original set up fit better there. In the movie, Jack Barts is a younger, taller, better looking, two-armed armed vampire that owns a business/plantation on the waterfront. Thomas Lincoln and family work for him to pay off an unspecified debt owed by Thomas. (Who, by the way, was cast really well. He looks like an older Abraham in the two times we see him on film. He is killed off-screen without much thought or explanation.)

    Of course, what is basically Abe's family's indentured servitude is abruptly cut short when Abe tries to rescue his slave friend, William Johnson, from a beating. Abe's father tries to stop him from jumping into the fight to no avail and both boys end up being beaten with a whip. Naturally, William ends up with a telltale scar on his cheek that he uses to identify himself to Abe later on in the movie.

    It seems that William takes the place of both Jack Armstrong and Ward Hill Lamon, neither of whom really had a place in the movie. Joshua Speed seemed to also cover a bit of the holes from the book transition concerning friendships that Abe formed.

    You see other holes covered like Abe's last hunt is turned into a decoy train and its bridged tracks being set on fire by Vadoma. However, the movie does not explain why Mary is suddenly told about the existence of vampires or how Abe is able to write a lifetime of memories in one journal or why he didn't kill as many vampires. It also doesn't explain how or why all of the vampires Abe hunts all live in the same town as him. But, it has to be a time issue once again. So, fair enough.

    I have to say that I'm glad Mary was changed. I hate it when the wife is shown as this weak background character that has no idea what her husband gets up to and is merely used as bait by the antagonist. The fact that Mary is shown to be a badass in her own right made me smile. I like the fact that she was able to actively avenge the death of her son using the toy he was playing with as he was bitten/poisoned. I really liked that Mary was the key to winning the Civil War by smuggling weapons to the front.

    Of course, she didn't do it alone. She had Harriet Tubman help her via the Underground Railroad. Although the Underground Railroad was mentioned in passing in the book, there just wasn't time for it in the novel. In the movie, however, we get to see the Railroad up close, which I loved. I did note that Harriet wasn't completely accurate in that she wasn't willing to kill a crying baby to save everyone else as she was in real life, but whatever. The movie used her well and despite my reservations about her inclusion, I really liked seeing her and the Railroad.

    Even the ending of the movie differed from the book in that Abe isn't turned into a vampire. Henry outright asks Abe, but he turns him down and goes off to the theater with Mary before the scene fades out. One can assume that he changed him after the fact, but it's kinda clear that he wasn't just based on Henry approaching young men in bars in modern times.

    And for a man that demanded no attachments of Abe, Henry showed up a heck of a lot in the movie. Book verse has them meeting when Abe is having some sort of crisis. Movie!Henry shows up whenever the fuck he wants. He also somehow conceals the fact that he is a vampire from Abe, which Abe has to find out second hand from jack Barts as he's dying. Uhrm, being destroyed? We do see Henry's partial transformation while feeding on a would be rapist (Yay, book personality peeking through!) and a full transformation as he saves Abe and William from the imminent collapse of the train tracks.

    There was also the change to Abe's offspring. In the movie verse, he only had the one son, Willie, who was killed by Vadoma. There were no mentions of Tad or Robert. There was also the cut scene of Vadoma positioned on top of another woman that was featured in the pre-movie release stills. I was rather disappointed about that, because I wanted to know the story behind that picture.

    Oh! And for all of IMDB's misspelling of Henry's last night and the confusion that it caused within fandom, the end credits actually spells it correctly. I was pretty amused to see that IMDB, not AL:VH, had caused the tiny typo. lol

    Overall, I'd say the movie was interesting. It had some good laughs, introduced a new canon, and wasn't an entire waste of money that some said it was. Would I see it again? Not really sure, but I was glad that I saw it at least once. And course, I was the kind of dork that wore her AL:VH tee shirt to view the movie.

    I also took myself to see Brave directly following AL:VH, which I liked quite a lot. If pressed, I'd admit that I liked it more than AL:VH. It was just so funny and moving and had some wonderful parts. I was especially delighted by the movie, because I had no idea what to expect. I had only seen the trailer and the teaser trailer for the movie, so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into.

    But damn if those themes of self-acceptance, family, tradition, fighting for what is yours, and owning your life didn't hit me where it counts. All in all, I loved the hell of out this movie and I would love to see it with my mom. It's Merida's relationship with her mom that provides the backbone for the movie and I just really appreciated that. There is something about them acknowledging that although your mother may annoy and misunderstand you, she still loves you and would fight for you.

    It makes me want to give my mom a big hug. ♥

    There was also a pre-Brave short film that I didn't realize until the end wasn't a confusing preview. I kept waiting for the preview to explain what the movie was about, but it just kept going. lol Turns out that it was a movie by itself. XD

    Me Note: 7:12 P.M.


    April 2015

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