Anyone can tell you if a trailer "looks good" or not. But Drew Magary, who spent over a decade working in advertising, is here to tell you whether or not a trailer WORKS. This week's trailer? "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".
You’re gonna get two big doses of Abe Lincoln at the Cineplex in 2012. Come Christmas, there will be Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” which just screams Oscar bait. But first, you’re gonna get Lincoln as a badass vampire slayer in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” a genre mash-up that almost certainly won’t join Spielberg’s opus on the awards circuit. ALVH was produced by Tim Burton and based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. And, in a move that will either make or break the film, Burton tapped “Wanted” director Timur Bekmambetov (try spelling that a few times fast), who brings with him a cartoonish action-movie style that’s certain to make Doris Kearns Goodwin uneasy. Can this work? Let’s look at the newest trailer and answer a few questions.
Does this trailer let us know what the movie's about? Yes. The title is a big help, of course. If the title had been “The Logsplitter,” then this trailer would have been mighty vague. But no, we get the gist right away. Ben Walker is Honest Abe, and Abe is telling you his mom was murdered (by vampires!). It’s pretty clear that Abe is gonna have to slay some bloodsuckers in order to avenge his ma and preserve the Union.
Is there lots of axe twirling? There is! Man alive, can Abe twirl that ax. He’s like a majorette out there with that axe. Really knows how to chop with a flourish. Curve the axe, Abe!
Is there lots of slow-motion fighting? There is. Don’t tell Timur that “The Matrix” trilogy jumped the shark a decade ago. He’s still all about people jumping real, real high. EXPLODING TREE Y’ALL!
Does Walker make a convincing Lincoln? To my eyes, not really. It’s like they tossed a hat on him and were like, “He’s Lincoln!” You don’t get much of a presidential vibe from him. They also open the trailer with Lincoln saying lots of profound things like, “History prefers legends to men.” I found this quote to be so inane that I looked it up just to make sure it wasn’t an actual Lincoln quote, because that would diminish my opinion of him considerably.
Do we see a naked chick’s back? We do! Always time for lovin’ in between killing vamps and freeing the oppressed.
Do we get lots of cool vampire shots? Shockingly, no. Only glimpses. Rufus Sewell would appear to be the head vampire or something. I dunno.
Do they set lots of stuff on fire? They do. Stuff burnt so easily back then. No fire codes.
Does this trailer work? No, and it’s not because I don’t think this movie can be good. Done right, it could be unholy fun. But this trailer emphasizes pure action over horror, and to me that’s a mistake. I don’t know many young guys who are gonna want to go see a period action film. There’s too much jumping and slo-mo stuff to really give this thing the proper atmosphere it needed to creep viewers out. There’s no Angelina Jolie strutting around to help Bekmambetov this time.