Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 5-Dec-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror / Thriller Trailer-x 2 for other films
Audio Commentary-Writer Seth Grahame-Smith
Featurette-Making Of-Various totalling 75:21
More…-The Great Calamity (7:29) - animated graphic novel
Theatrical Trailer
Music Video-Powerless by Linkin Park.
More…-DVD copy of the film
More…-Digital copy of the film
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 105:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Timur Bekmambetov
Studio
Distributor
20th CENTURY FOX
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Benjamin Walker
Dominic Cooper
Anthony Mackie
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Rufus Sewell
Marton Csokas
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Henry Jackman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Italian dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Russian dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
French
Dutch
Finnish
German
Italian
Norwegian
Russian
Swedish
Arabic
Chinese
Turkish
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Russian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“To ensure that this remains a nation of men, and not monsters”

     In 1818, nine year old Abraham Lincoln watches as Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) kills his mother. Nine years later, now a man, Abe (Benjamin Walker) seeks revenge and shoots Barts in the face; but Barts seems to have superhuman powers; he survives and attacks Abe, who is saved by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper). Sturges tells Abe that Barts is, in fact, a vampire. Centuries before vampires had fled persecution in Europe and come to the New World, where they had taken residence in the southern states of the USA, feeding with impunity on the slaves. The present leader of the vampires is Adam (Rufus Sewell), aided by his sister Vadoma (Erin Wasson). Sturges offers to teach Abe how to kill vampires but imposes a condition: Abe will only kill those vampires nominated by Sturges.

     Some years later Abe moves to Springfield Illinois, studying law and working as a clerk for shopkeeper Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson). He meets and falls in love with Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who he later marries, and commences a political career opposing slavery. At night, under the instructions from Sturges, he hunts and kills vampires. When Adam becomes aware of his activities, Abe is lured to his plantation; all Adam really wants is a land of their own in the south for his vampire kind where they can be free to harvest the blood of the slaves. When Abe escapes with Speed’s help, he is determined to free the slaves and end the scourge of the vampires; later, as President, he does not shy away from Civil War with the south to achieve these aims. On the battlefield of Gettysburg, a horde of vampires, impervious to normal bullets, join the Confederate forces and push for victory. Can Abe pull out one last trick and save America for humans?

     Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter originated from a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, who also wrote the screenplay. The director is Timur Bekmambetov, who first came to attention with the excellent and inventive Night Watch (2004), a film about an age old conflict between the forces of light and dark featuring vampires, witches and shape-shifters, and a fair amount of special effects. After following up with Day Watch (2006), Bekmambetov made Wanted (2008) in America, a film which included his visual style but lacked a supernatural element. With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, produced by Tim Burton, another man with a dark vision, Bekmambetov returns to a supernatural theme with impressive results.

     The concept of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is inventive: that vampires formed their own society within the slave owning southern states of America, and that the American Civil War was not fought to preserve the Union, but to preserve America for humans. This is a way out there conceit, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter succeeds because the film plays this premise absolutely straight as a normal historical drama (but with vampires), taking known events from Lincoln’s life and using authentic sets and costumes where possible. Another plus is that the characters are well drawn and believable. Each has a reason for what they do; Abe initially wants revenge, Sturges has his own demons and the vampires only want a state of their own and freedom from persecution. Benjamin Walker as Lincoln is fine; he looks good and moves in the fights well and his developing relationship with Mary Elizabeth Winstead is nicely played, giving a touch of lightness and humour to what would otherwise be a very bleak film. Dominic Cooper as Sturges is also good, but Rufus Sewell and especially Erin Wasson are underused. In the extras on this Blu-ray writer Seth Grahame-Smith reveals that it was very late in the scripting process before he realised that they did not actually have a villain in the film, so the characters of Adam and his sister were added; they were not in fact in the novel. I think it shows.

     The film has a number of set piece fights that are inventive and utilise jump cuts, extreme slow, freeze and fast motion and 360 angles. The plantation ball room fight is perhaps the pick because the CGI effects are not overwhelming, something which cannot be said about other sequences including a fight over stampeding horses that starts around 39:47 or the climax of the film on a train travelling across a burning bridge. Here the CGI does overwhelm the human action, but I guess that it is what is expected for this sort of concept film. The film also was made in 2D/3D, and some of the effects coming straight at the camera are obvious and lack any subtlety.

     However, when Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter concentrates upon the individual characters and their problems it is a well-made, visually exciting film, with an inventive basic idea, decent acting and action sequences. The result is a concept film that delivers: it looks and sounds great, is colourful and very entertaining.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original aspect ratio being 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print is spectacular - sharp and crystal clear. Faces in close-up are detailed, backgrounds clean. The colours in most scenes have been manipulated; many look brownish, some have a blue tinge, others silver, while the opening sequence has a very rosy red hue. Blacks are inky solid, shadow detail excellent. Within the overall scheme of manipulation, brightness and contrast are consistent, although skin tones vary depending upon the hue chosen for that scene, but are never unnatural.

     There was occasional slight ghosting with movement against some mottled backgrounds but otherwise I did not notice any artefacts of any kind.

     Subtitles are available in a wide range of European languages, plus English for the hearing impaired and Chinese and Arabic. The white English subtitles were in an easy to read, largish font in the portion I sampled. There are also subtitles for the audio commentary in nine European languages.

     A fabulous looking Blu-ray print.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The default audio track is English DTS-HD MA 7.1, although there dubs in another seven European languages, plus English audio description.

     Sadly, my audio system is currently only 5.1, so I am unable to comment upon the separation of the 7.1 track; however, judging by how it sounds in mere 5.1, it should be amazing for those whose system is equipped to handle it.

     Some of the dialogue of Marton Csokas is a little indistinct due to the accent he adopts, but otherwise the dialogue is clear and centred, easy to understand despite it often taking place amid action sequences. Indeed, these sequences provide a wonderful aural experience with effects whooshing around the sound stage, including bullets, various weapons and the destruction of sets. At other times the surrounds were constantly in action with ambient effects including weather, crowds and music. The sub-woofer added good bass to cannon shots, horse’s hooves and the like, as well as music.

     The score by Henry Jackman is loud and epic, nicely enhancing the visuals and added to the film experience. It is nicely represented in the sound mix.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The audio provided an outstanding surround experience. Turn up the volume and enjoy.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     An interesting collection of extras, all relevant to the film. On start-up are trailers for Life of Pi (2:10) and Prometheus (1:05) that need to be skipped. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Audio Commentary

     Writer Seth Grahame-Smith notes that the use of authentic costumes and sets were intended to make the audience forget just how ridiculous the basic concept of the film was! Grahame-Smith discusses mostly the writing process, adapting the book for the screen and the differences between book and film. He talks about the real characters and real history, characterisations, the actors, the DP. He is not the most engaging speaker, and there are silences, but I have heard worse.

The Making of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (75:21)

     An extensive and comprehensive making of detailing the genesis of the project, the scripting, the locations in New Orleans, creating the period, re-enacting the battle, the stunts, fight choreography, visual effects, makeup, costumes, the CGI and the working methods and style of director Timur Bekmambetov. Somewhat of an EPK, in that nothing bad happened and everyone was happy. However, except for the last section about Bekmambetov, there is almost no film footage, but instead there is some very interesting behind the scenes footage and insights into how certain stunts were performed, plus on set interviews with almost everyone involved in the production.

     Among others, there are interviews with Timur Bekmambetov, producer Tim Burton, writer Seth Grahame-Smith, DP Caleb Deschanel plus stunt and fight coordinators, costume and set designers, Civil War reenactors, special effects coordinators, visual effects coordinators, makeup supervisors, the storyboard artist and the prosthetics supervisor. Cast members Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Dominic Cooper, Jimmi Simpson, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Alan Tudyk and Erin Wasson also feature in interviews. The featurette is divided into the following sections (there is a play all option)

The Great Calamity (7:29)

     A short animated graphic novel explaining how vampires arrived in the United States.

Theatrical Trailer (1:15)

Music Video (2:54)

     Powerless by Linkin Park.

DVD copy of the film

Digital copy of the film

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Blu-ray releases of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in all regions seem the same. Buy local.

Summary

     Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a well-made, visually exciting film, with an inventive basic idea, decent acting and action sequences.

     The Blu-ray looks great and sounds awesome. The extras are worthwhile. An excellent Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, March 01, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
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