I may have been a little slow on the draw putting this one up today, but in my defense, that’s because I was laughing so hard.
I have to assume that’s okay with Timur Bekmembetov and Tim Burton and Seth Graeme-Smith, because no matter how straight-faced this trailer plays it, the entire notion of successfully convincing a studio to pay big money to make and release a film called “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has got to be one of the biggest “Holy crap, we were kidding BUT THEY REALLY DID IT” moments in the history of film.
The only way you make that film work once you decide to make it is to go all in. No half-measures. You can’t be embarrassed to be making it. Noooo… you have to go the other direction. You have to pack more “f**k yeah” into every single minute of running time than has ever been attempted before. You have to crank it up and let it run hot. It is patently absurd, so embrace that. Be absurd. Be big and crazy and supercharged with lunacy. Don’t just have Abraham Lincoln kill vampires. Have him kung-fu fight them in slow motion while dual-wielding deadly axes. Go for it.
And that’s certainly what it looks like they’ve done. Bekmembatov is one of the few filmmakers alive who I think have the right touch for this material. He’s been running hot since the first moment he started making movies, and this florid, intense visual style of his fetishizes the tiny moments of mayhem, taking sensual pleasure in chaos and destruction. “Night Watch” and “Day Watch” and “Wanted” all wallow in that almost pornographic charge Bekmembatov takes from shooting action and slowing it down and luxuriating in it. That’s who he is. So why not have him apply that to material like this?
I’ve said before that I am baffled by this particular trend in pop culture right now, this mash-up notion of taking one famous something and then adding a totally incongruous other famous something. “Pride And Prejudice and Zombies” has now had 573 different directors sign on and drop out, which I’m almost sure is a world record, and it feels like they’re no closer to making it now than when they first started. But this one’s pretty much ready to go, and Fox is just counting down the days, and I admire the clear-eyed way they approached this. They knew what film they bought, and it looks like they made exactly that movie.
This is only the teaser trailer, but honestly, I don’t need to see anything else from the film at this point. I get it. I mean, they had me with that shot of young Abe cutting that tree in half with one swing. I have no idea if I’ll like the finished film or dislike it, but I get what they’re selling now, and I can’t imagine anyone out there being unclear about whether they are going to see it or not. That is as clear a case of “you’re either in or you’re out” as I’ve ever seen from a trailer.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” will be in theaters June 22, 2012.