Tag Archives: movie

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer – Book Versus Movie

I will try not to have any spoilers here.  For a complete review of my thoughts on the book, you can find them under my comments on Goodreads.com.  The movie and the book are almost completely different stories, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln killing vampires.

Strengths of the Book – Tons of back story on Lincoln as a child, growing up, his struggles to make money, friends, girlfriend, business, law and politics.  In the movie, almost all of this historical background with Lincoln is gone.  The book also has written journal entries from Lincoln that leave you wondering if he really wrote them and they were incorporated ,or if they are made up.  The fight scenes are realistic.  Abraham Lincoln is a strong woodsmen, but not superhuman.

Weaknesses of the Book – The first part is never revisited.  Henry is not explained, either where he comes from, why he works through human surrogates, or anything.  It jumps around, skipping huge chunks of time.  In the book, the vampires are about four times stronger than a man, but otherwise pretty easy to kill.  The ending leaves the vampires running around, so Abraham Lincoln was really only partially successful.

Strengths of the Movie – Great production values, you get to see scenery from 1818 to 1865 which is very well done.  The movie has a great steampunk feel to it, where the book is simply historical vampire fiction.  The vampires are stronger and the fight scenes are much better as a result.  They can go invisible, etc.  I personally also think that the movie strikes a good balance between campy humor and taking it seriously.  People who read the book might like less drama over ten hours.  People seeing a movie want to see President Lincoln kicking vampire butt, which they accomplish well.  The top strength of all – they drop the weak beginning, and actually explain a plausible back story for Henry.

Weaknesses of the Movie – It takes out one of Lincoln’s two friends and replaces him with a slave.  It makes the other friend seem unreliable.  It adds a super villain vampire named Adam that is not existent in the book.  There are a few scenes where Lincoln is wounded, that show wounds from earlier in the movie.  The make up folks or editors got some in the wrong order.  It is mostly special effects and almost no character development.  In truth, you learn very little about Lincoln and the actor portraying him was better at looking like Lincoln than acting like him.  He feels like Captain America before the transformation.  They also make Abraham Lincoln and his new slave sidekick look supernatural in their abilities.  Including, chopping down a tree over a foot thick with one blow.  Training is one thing, super powers another.

Movie Comment – The character Henry, played by Dominic Cooper steals the whole show, relegating Lincoln’s wooden acted character to second fiddle.  Henry is so well played the other performances suffer from, in my opinion, poor casting or acting.

There, you have my own personal views.  I recommend you both read the book and see the movie.  After all, it’s Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, you got to see that right?

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We Humans are the Bad Guys in the New Movie “Battleship”

I took my wife out to see a movie.  Each week, for over 27 years, we try to have one or more date nights or things to do once per week.  We both expected to Battleship to be a mindless action film, even more mindless than most.  Afterward, I found it was loosely based on the board game with pegs from the 70s, which is good or I would not have gone to see it.  The trailers for the movie also bothered me because it looks like a battle with naval battleships, which any dimestore military person can tell you no longer exist, and have not since one was briefly out of mothballs for the first gulf war as a bombardment vessel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT – Don’t Read if You Don’t Want to Know What Happens.

However, there is MUCH more to this movie, probably more than the casual viewer will notice.   First, the bad parts.  You have Liam Neeson who is now competing with Ben Kingsley and Nicholas Cage for one time great actors who simply cannot turn down a part in any movie.  I think the three will score a thousand movies each during their lifetime.  Then there is Brooklyn Decker, who serves virtually no purpose in the film except as the girlfriend/admiral daughter.  But what she really does is just provide eye candy to the point of distraction.  Aliens attacking explosions….flowers, Brooklyn Decker smiling, walking…explosions…  Like that.  She is way to pretty not to simply cut away the rest.  Which comes to another sad point – the pointless use of Rhianna.  Other than some up close camera shots of her amazing eyes, they let Brooklyn Decker take Rhianna out of the film essentially.  The plot between the brothers and the general knowledge of naval command and training is sickening.

Now for the interesting point.  We are the bad guys.  That’s right.  The more I watched, I realized we were the bad guys.  NASA sends this signal out to random planets that might have life.  One answers by sending out five ship, one of which is for communications that accidentally crashes into a satellite and is lost (yes, aliens get across the universe but can’t miss a 50 foot long satellite…)

So, just like the American military would, the remaining ships land in the water, throw up a defensive perimeter, and try to re-establish communications.  They do this right in the middle of our big war games.  So what do we do to communicate?  We send out three people in a rubber dinghy with a vulcan gatling cannon.  First, we pulse a warning claxon.  The aliens do the same, but theirs is too loud and causes minor damage.  So, naturally, they must mean that as an attack?  So, the people in the dinghy make one effort in English.  “Who are you, identify yourself, we are from a warship?”  Pause for five seconds.  Then they board, training their weapons on them.

The aliens respond by rising up out of the water.  So maybe they do want to talk but don’t know how?  Oh no, we fire a shot at them.  Again as a warning…  A warning against what, moving, communicating?  From then on, and throughout the entire movie, we attack the aliens.  The aliens however, have strict instructions not to fire on non-threats and civilians.  They won’t even fire at a warship next to them unless it is actively pointing its weapons at them and shooting them.  Several times they leave off a fight when a person in disarmed.  They literally let humans walk around them as long as they are not attacked.

Out of three ships caught in their perimeter, they only destroy the two that attack them.  (This is where the game comes in.  They fire things that look like the red pegs from the game.  At another point, we see a battleship like board, where each side tries to “find” the other and attack them, using sono boy points.  Otherwise, forget the game.)  In one scene, a nearly human looking alien is fished out of the water.  As the humans force open its protective suit, causing it distress and it starts to die, they look like they are going to torture it for information.  A squad of its friends blasts in, takes it, and leaves, killing no one.  Simply rescuing their friend.  No man left behind.

So, what are the aliens trying to do?  We don’t really know.  The only activity they initiate is to try to use our own equipment that we signaled them with to re-establish communications with home, since they lost their com ship.  We of course think this is hostile.  “The only reason they would communicate is to bring in more ships and attack us.”  But wait – didn’t the movie start with us using that equipment to send them a message?  Using that logic, should they think we did it to send an invasion fleet?

So, the aliens who came all this way to answer our invitation signal, and were so careful never to fire unless fired upon first, why were they here?  We never find out, because we kill all the aliens and celebrate.

I really don’t know if they meant it to be that way or not.  It certainly shows the stupidity of the rules of engagement we have in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the aliens acted more like US Navy and Marines than our humans did.  I felt like the scene from Quentin Taratino’s movie, Inglorious Bastards, where we are disgusted at the Germans for cheering a movie glorifying the slaughter of Americans, while the audience cheers a movie that shows the slaughter of Germans by Americans.

Is Battleship also supposed to show us that about ourselves, or was it an accident?

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The Avengers Movie! Just Saw It!

Don’t worry, I have no spoilers here.  I hate when people give away the plot, etc.  I just want to say I was VERY happy with the film.  Going in, I had my doubts that such an ensemble cast would be manageable.  After all, several have had their own movies.  Thor, Captain America, two Iron Man movies, several poorly done Hulk movies and the old Hulk TV series, not to mention Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Johansen and the lesser know Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner.  How many movies have Gwyneth Paltrow as maybe actor number 12 in a movie?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handling so many celebrity actors and characters I thought would be nigh impossible.  However, the director, screenwriter and editors are to be highly commended.  Each is well done without any receiving glossing over or one or two stealing the show.  The action is pretty much non-stop but each hero gets to reveal their character and stay true to the canon for the fan base.  At one point, I was concerned the movie would be part 1 and part 2, like Kill Bill, because the first part takes so long, you wonder just how much more can happen.   However, the film apparently lasts for 143 minutes, where your normal film is around 93 minutes.  I could have sat there for another 3 hours it was that entertaining.

The Avengers is well worth the money to go see.  There are tons of special effects, witticisms that get the crowd to laugh, as well as lots of tension and fun.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars and thank the producters for giving us a great 143 minute film instead of an overedited 93 minute film that would have sucked.

ALSO – As with most Marvel films – stay past the credits so you can see the last few minutes of the film as a teaser for what happens next.  Half the people at our showing left and missed out on it.  Just stay in your seat the extra 5 minutes – trust me.

 

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