Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (UK - BD)
Chris takes a slightly belated look at the Fox release of this recent feature film...
Spurred on by his desire to avenge the gruesome death of his mother, this white-knuckle adventure follows Lincoln as he is thrust into an epic fight against vicious creatures threatening the future of the United States. Aided by the mysterious Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper; The Duchess, Captain America) in his quest to rid the country of the undead, and in particular their diabolical leader Adam (Rufus Sewell; The Illusionist, The Tourist), Lincoln risks his presidency, his family and his life to protect America from an uprising of blood-thirsty vampires. (Taken from the PR.)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter arrives on BD with a very attractive 2.40:1 widescreen transfer (1080/24p AVC) that's among the best I've seen in recent times. The palette is highly stylised, alternating between warm, bleached out sequences that appear intended to convey the sepia tones of an old photograph and cold, steely blue nights. However, there are a few sequences where a more natural scheme prevails and these looks particularly impressive. Detail is very strong throughout, particularly in close-ups, which reveal every pore in characters' faces and stitch in their clothing. From what I can tell some or all of the film was shot digitally and as you’d expect the image is just about as unblemished as is reasonable to expect. There are no particularly obvious compression issues, or indeed artefacts of any nature, resulting in a presentation that’s actually quite dull to critique. After all, there are only so many ways to say ‘it looks great’ before redundancy sets in. With that in mind, I’ll move on.
The disc's visuals are impressive, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack is even better. The sound design is incredibly aggressive right from the outset, with every channel used to bring Abe's world to life. Be it the subtle ambient effects of the Springfield countryside, horses stampeding across the open plains, or the hellish screams of the vampires, there's always something going on in this mix. Directionality is precise, pans are slick and fidelity is excellent, which makes for what one might call an 'immersive' soundtrack. The LFE channel also has much to do, reinforcing the action scenes with the sort of uncommonly potent bass that rattles you to your very core. Dialogue is well prioritised amongst the rest of the elements, never once becoming overwhelmed even during the most raucous of moments. Granted it's probably not the most finessed track you'll ever hear, but if it’s balls-to-the-wall action you’re after you'll be using this to demo your system.
It won’t win any awards for excellence in the field of supplemental material, but Fox has seen fit to cram more than you might expect into this package.
- The Great Calamity Graphic Novel: An animated short that runs in parallel with the events of the film
- The Making of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: At over an hour in length this is a surprisingly thorough making of documentary by today’s standards
- Audio Commentary with Writer Seth Grahame-Smith: The author/screenwriter delivers a surprisingly informative feature-length chat track
- 'Powerless' Music Video by Linkin Park: Yes, you guessed it, this is a music video
- Theatrical Trailer: The film’s trailer is available in HD
- Digital Copy: It wasn’t included with the check disc, but I’m told that retail versions include a portable version of the film
This marked my second viewing of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and I can’t say it did much to change my earlier opinion. As far as high-concept movies go Abe’s premise is intriguing, but unfortunately the end result is fairly uninspired, dare I say boring. The first half of the film is better than the second half, even managing to pack in a couple of memorable set-pieces, but once Lincoln ascends to the presidency things go off the boil and never really recover despite a last-ditch attempt to inject some pace. It doesn’t help that a lot of the action is of the digital variety, with the vampires lacking the physical weight of more traditional movie monsters, and the overreliance on slow motion and gimmicky 3D effects grows tiresome (particularly when viewed in 2D). Still, I’ve spent worse times in front of the TV and I concede that others might find more here to enjoy than I did. At least the principal cast deliver reasonably strong performances, particularly Benjamin Walker as Lincoln. Technically I can’t really fault it; if you enjoyed the film you will almost certainly be very happy with what is a fantastic audio-visual presentation, ably supported by a deceptively thorough look at the film’s production.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 22nd October 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English, DTS 5.1 French, DTS 5.1 Castillian, DTS 5.1 German, DTS 5.1 Italian, DTS 5.1 Russian, Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Audio Description 5.1 English
Subtitles: Arabic, Castillian, Chinese, Dutch, English SDH, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish,
Extras: Audio Commentary, Making of, Animated Graphic Novel, Music Video, Trailer, Digital Copy
Easter Egg: No
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson
Length: 105 minutes