Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Well dear readers, after a long absence I have returned to post on my blog once again. Today I bring to you something so self-explanitory it hardly needs introduction. I review Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. This new film has been taking both the internet and theatres by storm. Partly because of its very interesting concept (I mean who doesn't want to see the Great Emancipator slaughter vampires?) and due to the book it is based on.

Now I personally have not yet read the book, though I have read others of its now famous series such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter. Each has proved to be an amusing social commentary on the time as well as a wonderful parody of the classic writing style that is so well done it is impossible to not want to throw yourself at these original classics and start reading them! So not only is it quite amusing but it is quite educational. Though none of these great books has yet made it to the big screen.

Until now at least.

I saw this movie the other night while out on a date and allow me to say I had no argument in the choice of film that night!

Now for a quick overview of the film. Young Lincoln discovers his mother has been killed by a man and many years later goes to murder him only to discover he is a supernatural vampire. He is rescued by a man named Henry and brought to his house allowing him to heal. The film then follows the historical career of Abraham Lincoln while exploring the unknown world of his night job, fighting vampires!

The Good:

Well as a movie I will of course be reviewing it in my usual fashion, and I really must say there is much good to be said about it.

The acting is phenominally done and the actors do well when mixing the rather silly premise with the semi-serious tone of the film. The two actors playing Lincoln were fabulous and did a grand job of portraying both the young awkward and brutally honest Lincoln and the gruff, older and professional Lincoln. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a wonderful job portraying Mary Todd, Lincolns wife to be, and Dominic Cooper is wonderful as Henry Sturges in all his forms.

The visual effects (with one notable exception) were fabulous and the well done features of the vampires were grand and somewhat scary when first used. I loved the way it was done making them seem both human yet monstrous. The action scenes are well coreographed and the stunts are amazing. Then you have the sinister vampire feeding habits which are simply done yet make a splash (of blood) on screen.

The movie has good pacing and is well balanced between its actions scenes and the moments of emotional drama which go well and help to balance the silly feel of the film while keeping the audeince on the edge of its seat with the well done story.

One thing which I must praise about the film is the lack of shaky cam. The actions scenes were clean, crisp, and flowed smoothly and were visually pleasing. I could easily follow the action and every stroke and kick that Lincoln made was clear and amazing to see as he cut a swathe through the vampire hordes. As I've said before, not enough films abandom shaky cam for these pleasing fights and allow us to actually see the action going on.

As an aside the sound track is amazing and really helps grab the audience and keep them enthralled in the film.

The Bad:

As previously mentioned there is one poorly done and over the top scene. This scene is where Lincoln confronts his mothers killer again and the climactic duel takes place in the middle of a stampede of horses. The visuals here are cloudy, poorly done, and spectacularly fake. To me there was no reason to include this in the movie as it was over the top even by this films standards. There was plenty of potential for different scenes, not something that belongs in a wacky spaghetti western! It was a sloppy scene and I felt myself cringing when the vampire flings a horse right at old Abe.

Now the film was only one hour and forty-five minutes, not bad for length. It could have been just slightly longer. I mean we are trying to tell a biography after all. That was a shame we couldn't see more of the film.

There were also the cheesy one liners, which were rather ridiculous at moments but for this type of campy movie were woth it.

The Verdict:

I really don't have much negative to say about this film. If you want a good campy and blood soaked action film to take your mind off things, this is one to watch. A good summer block buster I highly reccoment it to anyone who likes a) Lincoln, and b) real, non Twighlight vampires.

3.5 stars out of 5!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Remembering D-Day

Though published late today I would ask readers to remember that on this day in 1944 many of our fathers and grandfathers undertook the Great Crusade to crush the Nazi menace in Europe and end the threat of facism posed to the free world. I wish to honor their sacrifice and pray for those who fought and died in that conflict on both sides. May we never forget the sacrifice and valor of our forefathers and the awesome actions they undertook to ensure our freedom.

May their sacrifice not have been in vain.

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Having seen (and highly anticipated) Snow White and the Huntsman I'm pleased to say it has not dispointed. The film was an excellent dark spin on the classic tale of Snow White with many original and very interesting twists on the typical fairy tale setting. Certainly it is darker than most and has a very gritty and bleak feel to the world it portrays. Though I like many others had some reservations about the casting choices and the way it was being presented it did live up to, and in some cases exceed, expectations.

So now my readers, we shall without adeau continue on with the magnificent tale of Snow White and the Huntsman.

I aim to be only slighlty spoilery with the review (because really how many variations can you do on Snow White?) but will leave the most interesting twists out. The story of course begins with a queen who sees blood on snow and decides she wants a daughter like that, and behold she is born! Then we see the queen get sick and the kingdom is usurped by the kings new Queen, an evil sorceress who locks Snow White in a tower and proceeds to rule poorly while trying to maintain the illusion of eternal beauty. From there we continue to the film as of course the Huntsman is produced to do the dirty deed the Queen needs.

The Good:

The film is not overly long and has decent pacing, I appreciated the time it took to properly introduce the story and give us a feel for the characters. Seeing a slight evolution of Snow from child to young prisoner was very interesting and allowed an excellent contrast between the different times in the film.

The dialogue was also well done and each character had a distinct way of speaking and in fact kept their personalities afloat well through dialogue and we got a good feel for what they were like. A number of personal stories and flashbacks establish the history and events in the past and even give the villain of the film some major depth and made her almost sympathetic!

I loved the story as it was basic enough but with a good number of twists to keep it interesting. There was also one scene which if it wasn't a homage to Princess Moninoke I'll eat my hat! The setting was fabulous and the visual details were spectacular, whether they were doing a close up of a very fetching Kristen Stewart in mail, or the terrifyingly trippy Dark Forest the scenes were beautifully filmed and the CGI amazingly rendered. Some effects were simply breath taking and totally immersed you in the world you were seeing.

I found the acting to be anything but wanting. Kristen Stewart surprised me with her ability and everytime she smiled or even grinned on screen it seemed to light up. The titular Huntsman with his gruff neo-Scottish accent was downright awesome with his dark and broody mood swings and violent outbursts. They made him an excellent contrast to Snow's fearful mood or even in her smiley moods.

Charlize Theron plays the evil sorceress Ravenna and does a stellar job as the main villain. She seems crazy with age and is excessively brutal in her quest for eternal beauty. To me she seems like a childless evil Cersei Lannister not just in looks but in her actions and her belief in her 'right' to rule and control. She was a wonderful villain and has certainly proved herself to be a wonderful actress once again.

And of course the battlescenes were fantastic! I won't spoil anything on that just so my readers can appreciate the full effect of them ;)

The Bad:

On one hand readers this is something I doubted I would ever say. Since Twighlight all I hoped for Kristen Stewart would shut up. In this movie I didn't think she talked enough! Her character was fabulous, she had some good pieces of dialogue (much of which could have easily been expanded) and was an interesting and well rounded character. I think her role was downplayed too much in favor of parading Chris Hemsworth around in front of the camera. She also seemed upstage by Theron as she was recieving about as much screen time as Stewart!

That said I think the film really needed to decide whose story it was. The Dwarves were obviously supporting characters, but the Huntsman was played up, then played down or took away from time we might have had to better develop Stewarts character! By contrasting the personalities of Ravenna and Snow White I think we could have had a much more stable plot and a fabulous dynamic between villain and hero.

Some of the dialogue does fall sadly flat which irked me. The writing which was fairly excellent fell flat at a few inopportune moments.


Other than a few minor hang-ups the movie is top notch and worth seeing. 7.5 out of 10 stars!