A Tale of Two Presidents- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
You might be thinking this post is stemming from my obsession with creatures and my love of the nosferatu, but it is actually meant to be a more reflective piece. One where I can compare a book with it’s film counterpart and all the monsters that happen to be inside of them. Yes, two years ago the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hit the box office, and I did see it in theaters. It was based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, but I had not read it at the time of seeing the movie. I did get a chance to read the novel in the last year, and now I can bring you my comparison of the two.
I will start by saying that I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It was not particularly moving, and the acting was not something to be remembered, but it was fun. It was action packed, scary, and a good thrill. The monsters were creepy and the main characters were enjoyable. And the action scenes were really enjoyable, rivaling The Matrix if that is your thing. But of course we all know that the book is always better than the film. You know, there is only so much you can do in a movie, and a movie has a finite amount of time during which they must tell a story. So I was super excited to tackle the book.
And here you get my opinion folks: the movie was better. Yup, I said it. When was the last time you can remember that being the case?! I mean, think about it. Some movies come close to rivaling the book, like many of The Harry Potter movies or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but let’s face it. Even though blockbusters don’t have enough time to cover EVERYTHING in the book, or enough patience to portray the intricate details of relationships you love about the books. I think Neil Gaiman said it best here, where he talked about how on TV or the big screen you are seeing what the director wanted you to see, but in the book you are able to make that picture yourself, and your imagination is infinitely more complex than what can be afforded by Hollywood.
So it feels really weird saying it, but I think this is one of those few occasions where you should check out the movie over the book if you had to choose. My reason for not liking the book? It was written in journal-style, where you followed the entries written by good old Abe as he grew up and fought more and more vampires. And I have found that this style of writing quite frankly sucks in most scenarios. It is too laboriously detailed and self-centered, even though I doubt true diaries are like that. I mean, when was the last time that you wrote about the detailed drops of sweat reflecting the moon’s light in to your eyes in your diary? Realistically diaries are much more about feelings and enough recounting the day so that you have a memory of it if you were to return to the journal. But this novel, like many using this technique before, tried to paint insanely detailed (and boring) pictures from the passages in the diary, which is just not realistic.
The book also ends in a way very different from the movie. In the movie we see Lincoln reign victorious over the vampires by supplying his armies with silver bullets. Then things resolve like we remember them in history, with Lincoln eventually being assassinated by Booth. But in the book they just had to add a twist, and it is revealed that Henry, Lincoln’s vampire trainer, turns him in to a vampire as well because “He was just too interesting to die.” We all know from the book and the movie this is something Lincoln would find appalling, and prevent him from slaying anymore vampires (read the book or better yet, watch the movie to find out why). It was just a little too over the top of a happy ending and I preferred the movie’s version.
Well, you’ve heard my ranting opinion on these two versions of the same story. So if you were looking for a vampire-filled thrill this month of Halloween and had to chose between these two, I would actually recommend grabbing the blu-ray over the book. It will save you several boring hours and give you a fun, action-packed ride in to an alternate past.
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Posted on October 7, 2014, in Books, Movies and tagged Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, books vs. movies, Seth Graham-Smith, Tim Burton, vampires. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.