There are many movies that I love to watch repeatedly despite the dictates of good sense.
Films like Crybaby, Hudson Hawk, Undercover Brother, and so many others are considered bad or campy or underperforming or God only knows what else... but I love them.
And I've got another one to add to the list... Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
I saw it tonight in 3D and IMAX (or "RPX" as it's called by the Regal Theater chain) and loved it. The theater itself was incredible with faux leather seats that leaned pretty well back and were shockingly comfortable and all still in really good condition. And I would also like to say that this is probably the first movie I've ever seen that made full use of 3D technology. I'm not a fan of 3D and its overuse of late, but it worked in this movie and it worked very nicely.
Okay, enough about the setting and technologies involved. On to the movie...
To say that this movie is camp is an understatement. I mean c'mon, it's a movie that proposes that our 16th and arguably greatest president spent his off time from the age of about 20 until the day he died hunting vampires. We're not talking Oscar worthy filmmaking here.
The thing is, though, that it actually works. Not only do we have a very strange revisionist interpretation on history, but the way that author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith weaves the unknown story of Lincoln the hunter together with the known story of Lincoln the lawyer, husband, father, and statesman is quite clever. Literally everything we have come to know about Lincoln from history books is either the direct result of something he did in his quest to eradicate the United States of vampires or in preparation for a future slaying.
The film is highly visually stylized and really quite pretty to look at. It's this stylization that makes the 3D work so well. Think in terms of 300. If Zach Snyder were to have done that as a straightforward film without the oversaturated colors and slow motion special effects and obvious green screening, it would not have worked in 3D.
Director Timur Bekmambetov has taken a similar approach to both this and his previous film Wanted and it works.
I also dug on the acting. Benjamin Walker (who I thought looked just like a young Liam Neeson only to discover he has actually played the younger version of one of Neeson's characters in the film Kinsey) was a fantastic Abraham Lincoln. Tall, lanky, and insular, he still pulls off a quiet intensity and carries behind him believably insane strength.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is Abe's better half Mary Todd Lincoln and although she seems like nothing more than eye candy early on, she does play a very important role in the film.
Anthony Mackie (Man on a Ledge), Jimmi Simpson (Psych), and Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) round out the cast as friends, confidants, cohorts, and slaysistants.
The thing is, you must take this review with a grain of salt. Am I recommending it to you? Not necessarily. This was a movie I really wanted to see and have been looking forward to for some months. It was exactly the sort of cinematic camp and bloodfest that I was expecting it to be. You have to really be in the right mood to watch it and if you go into it thinking it's going to be bad, it will be bad. You will not enjoy it.
But I'm not going to let you ruin my love of it. Not ever.