The reviews for this film have been mixed. Few reviewers thought it was a truly bad movie. Most would admit that the production values were high and the actors did a fine job. Rather, the negative reviews pointed to the tone of the movie. How could a movie about Abraham Lincoln battling vampires take itself so seriously?
As Sheldon would say, “The bazinga is implied.” The film makers credit the audience for catching the wink in the title. And really, shouldn’t an idea this original be played out in full? Lampooning it will be the job of another movie.
Potential title: “Honest Abe: Axe me no Questions and I’ll Tell you no Lies.”
But I’d go further and say the serious tone is warranted not just because of the remarkable lack of Presidential vampire killers in cinema history. This movie actually has an important point to make.
Our country was founded on the idea that “all men are created equal.” In 1776 we declared that aristocracy was dead and that meritocracy ruled the day.
Only we had this huge hypocrisy undermining that ideal: slavery. It was an institution that held that some people – whites rich enough to own slaves – were entitled by birth to rule over the lives of other people. They could feed off their labors, aspirations, and dreams. They could divide families. They could physically and sexually abuse these people. They could do all this because, as our high court held, blacks were not really people, not 100%.
Yes, I’m suggesting that the vampires in this movie are a metaphor for what our 16th President was actually struggling against. Abraham Lincoln fought a real evil, ultimately destroyed that evil, and saved the nation being divided by it.
The fictional Lincoln tells his mentor: “Vampires aren’t the only things that live forever.” Indeed. Liberty stands as the eternal foe of entitlement. To nail this point home the last scene suggests this evil must be fought even today.
That’s some pretty heavy stuff at the heart of a movie where Abraham Lincoln (even as a rather old man) is seen spinning around with an axe like a balletic Jackie Chan slicing up the undead. But its there.
I liked it. 4/5 Stars.