It's a name you simply can't get out of your head: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." And with the action-packed trailers and hype surrounding this graphic novel-turned-film, it's going to be hard to see the hidden past of one of America's greatest Presidents swinging an axe not exciting moviegoers.
Yet, the critics are not really liking what they see.
"Hollywood has a long, rich tradition of historical abominations, but never has there been a history done more abominably than 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,'" wrote Roger Moore of the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
While Moore likes some of what director Timur Bekmambetov did with the action scenes, it's really everything else that this critic takes issue.
"It's a striking, alien past that he creates with his designers and cinematographer -- specks of dust floating in streaks of light in the 3-D foreground, sepia-tinted digitally augmented locations. But everything in between the action is badly written, badly acted and boring."
Barbara VanDenburgh of the Arizona Republic said the thrill of the film is found in one place -- and it's not in the story or the action.
"The problem with movies based on a single joke is that a single joke is rarely funny enough to sustain the running time of a feature-length film," VanDenburgh said. "And with 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,' the whole joke is in the title."
"The filmmakers have approached this high-camp concept with a straight face, sucking all the fund out of a geeky romp and leaving being an oddly joyless slog that rarely seems to be in on the joke of itself," VanDenburgh said.
But not everyone felt this negative about it. In fact, famed movie critic Roger Ebert said he went to the theater hoping John Wilkes Boothe was there waiting for him. Instead, he found a film he thought was fun from start to finish.
The film, Ebert wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, "has nothing useful to observe about Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the Civil War or much of anything else. But the film doesn't promise insights on such subjects. What it achieves is a surprisingly good job of doing justice to its title, and treating Lincoln with as much gravity as we can expect, under the circumstances."
Matt Stevens of E! Online was quite succinct: "Hey, it doesn't suck."
"Despite some story flaws, this genre mashup has enough jolts, thrills and bloody-crazy action to slay you vampire freaks," Stevens said. "Honest."
Don't tell that to Peter Travers from Rolling Stone who liked Benjamin Walker as Abe Lincoln, but not much else.
"The movie deserves a stake through the heart," Travers said.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" opens June 22.
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