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3D Blu-ray Review Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 3D Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

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    Combining historical highlights in the life of our country’s sixteenth President with a fictitious underground life as a fearless vampire slayer, Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter makes for an occasionally entertaining but just as often ridiculous monster romp. Told with no tongue-in-cheek smirks or notable irony but rather as a seriously straight revelation about the private activities of the man known as “Honest Abe” (though not so honest about this facet of his personality if truth be told), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter expects its audience to play along with its central conceit which would be fine if there were some variety to the acrobatic slayings that permeate the tale’s telling.





    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 3D (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
    Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Year: 2012
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 105 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French, others
    Subtitles:  SDH, Spanish

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 49.99


    Release Date: October 23, 2012

    Review Date: October 30, 2012




    The Film

    3/5


    When Abraham Lincoln (Lux Haney-Jardine, Benjamin Walker as an adult) witnesses his mother Nancy (Robin McLeavy) being killed by a vampire he later comes to know as Jack Barts (Marton Csokas), he vows vengeance, but he doesn’t have the first clue about how to combat the undead. With the help of Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), he’s trained in the art of vampire slaying but must wait years to exact his revenge. In the meantime he learns that the United States is being overrun with vampires, mostly settling in the South where they can feed on slaves without anyone much caring. As the years progress and Lincoln moves into politics, the Presidency, and the Civil War, it becomes clear that the vampire community under their leader Adam (Rufus Sewell) is fighting on the side of the South in order to continue the use of slavery as an open invitation to feast.


    Seth Grahame-Smith has based his screenplay on his best-selling historical novel and has included new elements not found within its pages. He still manages to weave in Lincoln’s courtship of Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) without revealing to her the nature of his nightly activities for many years, his longtime friendship with Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie), his rivalry with Stephen Douglas (Alan Tudyk), and the Gettysburg Address amid all the carnage of his vampire slaying. The fight scenes throughout the film employ a blend of stylized martial arts moves and slow motion photography which gets monotonous long before the film ends. Abe’s dexterity with his James Bond-like-equipped hatchet with its silver blade and embedded rifle which can fire a silver bullet (silver rather than wood being the mineral of death for vamps here) is also impressive early-on but gets tedious with its repeated usage. Timur Bekmambetov’s directorial style is perhaps too contained to wring all of the entertainment value out of this unusual but promising premise, though he certainly makes a horse stampede sequence while Abe fights with Jack Barts a highlight. A later climactic attack and tussle aboard and atop a train has been a fixture in action movies since the silent days and is something of a disappointment. Some tried-and-true Southerners may take grave offense at the scene where Confederate President Jefferson Davis (John Rothman) makes a deal with the devil himself to assure vampire participation in the Rebel Army during the Battle of Gettysburg, but that’s about the movie’s only wink at the audience as to its wacky concept.


    Benjamin Walker makes a noble try at playing Lincoln as both a brash young man and as the later more stately leader he became. He certainly is spry in all of the combat scenes and is especially agile with that hatchet. Even with his big revelation not coming as much of a surprise, Dominic Cooper has screen presence to burn as the mysterious Henry Sturges. Anthony Mackie makes for a stalwart best friend and Rufus Sewell makes a charismatic villain never overplaying his evil for the sake of chewing the scenery. Mary Elizabeth Winstead seems a bit too modern in her approach to Mary Todd, and she never seems to fit the period of the movie.



    Video Quality

    4/5

    3D implementation – 4/5


    The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is presented accurately in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Caleb Deschanel’s cinematography has a stylized look to it throughout the presentation which often drains the frame of natural color and settles instead for a more specified dated look. Thus flesh tones are often quite pale, and other colors are either drained or overly enhanced depending on the emotion being focused on. There are sequences where the color timing goes toward teal or burnt orange which the transfer handles well but which can soften the picture. Black levels are superb. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.


    Despite being a 3D conversion effort, there is marvelous depth to the imagery throughout the presentation, and the use of objects on multiple planes constantly proves the director shot the film with 3D in mind. There are even some objects like gun barrels, knife tips, and embers from that train smokestack that do seem to momentarily hover in front of the frame for a few seconds. There was the tiniest bit of crosstalk early on, but it’s never a serious problem.



    Audio Quality

    4.5/5


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is an excellent encode and features plenty of split sound effects channeled to the fronts and rears. There is panning through the soundstage, and Henry Jackman’s music gets impressive spread through the entire soundfield. Dialogue has been expertly recorded and has been placed in the center channel. Only the lack of imaginative use of those back rear channels keeps this from attaining a reference audio score.



    Special Features

    4/5


    The 3D disc contains 3D promo trailers for I, Robot and Prometheus.


    The 2D Blu-ray disc contains the following extras:


    The audio commentary is by screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. He talks consistently through his comment track though his stories and anecdotes about the movie aren’t often production-specific (he admits at one point that he was not present for very much of the actual shooting).


    All of the video featurettes are in 1080p.


    “The Great Calamity” is a short graphic novel which features CGI renderings of Edgar Allan Poe telling Abraham Lincoln about a pair of dangerous lesbian vampires loose in America. It runs 7 ¾ minutes.


    “The Making of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a thorough 75 ¼-minute feature on the making of the film featuring emphasis on Seth Grahame-Smith’s original conception for the book and later some changes for the script, the casting of the movie, pitching the film to the studios, filming on location in New Orleans, the film’s sets and costumes, various stars in the cast talking about their characters, staging the Battle of Gettysburg in three days, the fight choreography designed by Igor Tsay, the use of special effects and make-up effects in the movie, and examples of the director’s visual style. Curiously, there is no mention of the conversion to 3D.


    “Powerless” music video is performed by Linkin Park and runs for 3 minutes.


    The film’s theatrical trailer runs 1 ¼ minutes.


    The disc contains a promo trailer for Prometheus.


    The third disc in the set is a combination DVD copy of the movie/digital copy of the movie.



    In Conclusion

    3.5/5 (not an average)


    There is fun to be had with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter though you’ll likely find the fights and slayings rather repetitive after a time. The effective 3D conversion is a reasonably fun viewing experience, and those not equipped will likely find the 2D edition a pleasant rental disc for an action-filled evening.




    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Any good pop out effects. ?
     
  3. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    For a post conversion, I was rather impressed with the 3D. There are a few "in your face" moments (i.e. bats flying, blood spatters), but depth is consistently used to maximum effect.
    if you leave your brain at the door, it's a good "popcorn" 3D movie.
     
  4. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I enjoyed this movie for what it is a great popcorn movie. I also agree it is one of the best post converted 3D movies out there.
     

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