Like the book the movie is stupid fun. Check your brain at the door and just enjoy the amazing popcorn fun of watching Abraham Lincoln working his axe, decapitating vampires and being one of the biggest action movie bad-asses ever!
The movie, just as the book takes real history of Abraham Lincoln and mixes in vampires. For example when Lincoln's mother passes away (very near to Holiday World at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial - a fun place to visit) the reason in the story is that his father owed a gentleman who it turns out was a vampire who took Nancy Hanks Lincoln's life as a way to get his debt. A young Abe witnesses this and decides to enact his vengeance on the undead as a result.
Abe eventually meets a vampire (you find this out right away in the book when they meet - in the movie you only find out later) who takes him and trains him to be a hunter because there are two groups in the vampire world...those who want to remain secret and just feed on the ill or criminal and those who want to rule over mankind and feed on all of us. Of course there's a big montage of Abe learning to wield his silver tipped axe and become a Vampire Hunter.
After his training is complete the book and movie have Abe go into his actual regular life. Every once in a while he gets a letter from Henry with his next target (vampires who want to rule) and of course there are several battles as Abe takes these vermin out. The book goes into more detail with Abe's time in New Salem and then Springfield (including a scene where while campaigning in a town very much like mine - there's a stone marker about 200 yards away of where he spoke - where he killed a female vampire) while the movie just goes into his life in Springfield and beyond. A frustration with the movie is they had Lincoln's nemesis Stephen Douglas in it briefly but in the book Douglas, and his being a proponent of expanding slavery was a pawn of the vampires and showed up a few times which was a lot of fun.
Abe eventually learns about slavery's true origins as a way to feed the Vampires and this spurns him to become President. Of course this boils over into the Civil War and Lincoln decides to free the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation in order to take the Vampires food source away. The movie changes the book a bit in order to make the ending a bit more dramatic, including a really fun battle between Lincoln and a horde of vampires wanting to stop a train full of silver bullets, bayonets and cannonballs (to kill the vampires of course). It's damn fun and full of some amazing action. In 3d it makes the action even better so go see it in 3d.
My only frustration with the movie was it's last minute of film. Here's the ending of the book - spoiler alert -
On August 28th, 1963, Henry Sturges stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, his clothing and hair in keeping with the times, a black umbrella protecting his skin and dark glasses covering his
eyes. He was accompanied by an uncommonly tall friend, his eyes behind a pair of Ray-Bans; his shoulder-length brown hair beneath a floppy brimmed hat. A bushy beard obscured his angular face,
the same one staring down at him from its marble throne (and causing him no shortage of discomfort). Both listened intently, proudly, as a young black preacher looked out on more than 250,000
“Five score years ago,” the preacher began, “a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon
light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must
face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.”
Abe and Henry had come to help finish the work begun a century before. They’d been there during Reconstruction, driving out the vampires who continued to terrorize emancipated slaves….
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
They’d been there in Mississippi, dragging white-hooded devils to their deaths by the light of burning crosses….
“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
And they’d been there in Europe, where millions gave their lives defeating the second vampire uprising between 1939 and 1945.
But there was still work to be done.
“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
The crowd cheered wildly, and the preacher took his seat. It was a perfect late-summer day. A defining day in man’s struggle for freedom. Not unlike the day Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest,
ninety-eight years before.
The day Henry made a choice…
… that some men are just too interesting to die.
That was a completely beautiful way for the story to end. Hell I was almost in tears when I read it just imagining Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves standing there listening to the grandson of a slave giving the "I Have A Dream" speech. It's perfect. No spoilers but in the movie Abe doesn't survive Booth's bullet.
Even though I didn't get the ending I wanted like the book the movie is a ton of fun. As I couldn't put the book down I was thrilled in the movie and both Carrie and I loved it. Our only real debate about it is whether to take Bond to see it as it is pretty bloody. I vote for yes because first off yes there's plenty of blood flying - and out of the screen with the 3d it isn't gory and the action is pretty comic book. If anything though he'd love it being the testosterone fueled action movie junkie that he is.
So the verdict is..awesome book and awesome movie. Leave your brain and problems at the door and go and have some fun watching the 16th President kick some vampire ass!