I give it an "A." After all the crabby reviews, I fully expected some kind of witless splatterfest, but I think Bekmambetov and Burton did successfully convey the slavery = vampirism metaphor.
Those who are silly enough to take this topic literally and are avoiding the movie because of it, probably don't know enough about history to appreciate it anyway and would only be confused. (I also really wonder how it's playing in Southern states.
I enjoyed the historically appropriate little touches interwoven amidst all the insanity, such as Harriet Tubman (spoiler in case anyone still hasn't seen it)
The end credits with blood outlining the shape of the states was also nice.
The reason this movie works is because there's some actual historical substance to the underlying metaphor. Trying to shoehorn FDR with werewolves or Obama with robots wouldn't work unless someone can come up with a real-life metaphor that justifies such things. It's gotta be more than President X + Monster Y. But I can't imagine there being more than one matchup like that, that just so happens to work, as a historical/cultural oddity. I'm happy if this is a total one-off, and all the Presidents are left alone forever after.
Except, of course, for Calvin Coolidge vs. The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Time to go read the book now, and see how it compares. I'll probably start a thread on that topic in, oh, about a month.
The movie was pretty quirky and weird, but it was fun. I didn't go in expecting the gravity of Lawrence of Arabia. People enjoy superheroes and giant robots but they can't enjoy this? I just don't get it.
Bingo. But this movie was definitely more original than most Hollywood pablum, which simply isn't based on anything. Even the much-lauded Avengers
is really nothing but fluff at its heart. This story is based on historical reality - that 150 years ago, Americans did feel like they were losing their nation to an insidious, evil plague that was dragging them down. That plague was slavery. I'm not making this up, it's described in many first-person accounts from the time that I've read. People then wouldn't have used vampirism as a metaphor, because it wasn't part of popular consciousness before Bram Stoker, but they used similar metaphors - diseases, parasitism, etc - they would have actually recognized the underlying metaphor here.
This movie's failing is that it expects the audience to know enough about history to actually appreciate that it's a lot more than President X meets Monster Y. Yet another example of a topic that simply goes over the audience's heads. Silly Hollywood, haven't you learned by now not to do that?