What do penguins and vampire-hunting presidents have in common?
Last weekend a friend and I caught Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter before it went out of theaters for good. I was pumped. Having just finished the book (and loving it – with the exception of a couple nit-picky items), I was really looking forward to it.
Couple disclaimers here: (1) I know that no movie is going to be exactly like its book. (2) I don’t write screenplays, so there’s a better-than-good chance that my opinions here are junk, through and through.
That being said,
WHAT THE HELL, SETH GRAHAME-SMITH?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is one fabulous book. You twisted history and myth in a way that made me believe (or at least want to believe) that Honest Abe’s life was a little less honest – though no less noble – and a whole lot more adventuresome than our history books tell us. Your book had depth – it was interesting, scary, humorous, heart-breaking. I cried when Willy died. I actually cried. And at the end I was so mad at Henry I couldn’t see straight (I don’t know if that was your intention, but there you have it). I finished the book and told the Hubster I have to go see the movie.
I managed to do just that with little time to spare. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the last showing of AL:VH in Wichita. As we sat through the movie I kept thinking to myself (and whispering loudly to my friend) This is terrible. Oh my goodness, I bet Mr. Grahame-Smith hated what they did to his book. My heart hurt for you and your maimed story. The way Henry was no longer the Henry I came to know in your pages, but rather some Henry with no backbone or purpose. Speed’s betrayal was infuriating and pointless. I think I actually yelled at the screen (thank goodness my friend and I were the only two there) NO! NO! That’s not RIGHT! when Mary begs Abe and Henry to bring Willy back from the dead. Where was the Union? Where was Abe’s rascally friends who hunted with him? Where was the Trinity?
When your name came up in the credits for the screenplay, I was shocked. For somebody to have so completely strayed from their original story…not just stray, but downright tear to shreds to the point that it’s no longer recognizable…It was just unbelievable. It made me sad. Obviously, I don’t know the circumstances that made you do it – maybe you hated doing it as much as I hated watching it. I just know the movie I saw didn’t even pretend to do your book justice.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, I’m not going to say don’t bother. *shrug* There was action, some neat fight scenes, scary non-sparkly vampires. Even with a ridonky chase scene amongst a horse stampede that completely denies the laws of physics (ex: Vampire hurls horse at Abe. Abe catches it, flips it over, and mounts it), and like so much of the movie, ISN’T EVEN IN THE BOOK, the action is pretty fun. The guy who plays Abe does a great job – even though toward the end he’s put in weird make-up that kind-of makes him look like an old Liam Neeson. I’m not sure it’s worth the price of a theater ticket, but perhaps it’s worth a rental.
For those of you who haven’t read the book,
It is so, so good. Even though I didn’t love the ending, and felt there were a couple loose strings in the beginning of the story that could have been tied up, it was a really fun read. I totally recommend it.
I’m stepping off the soapbox now; it’s your turn, dear reader! Did any of you read/see AL:VH? Did you love it? Hate it? What are some other film adaptations that you love or love to hate?