Lazy Movie Review: Lincoln

Premise:  Abraham Lincoln, sitting atop a giant purple tiger named Choodari, leads an army of George Washington android clones against a reptilian force from an unknown planet.  He must decide whether or not he shou-  wait, that was just a dream I had last night…  This movie is about Lincoln passing the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery.

 

Pros:

-I found the whole movie to be very…  interesting.  Yeah…  That’s the best word I can use to describe it.  It wasn’t quite fully entertaining or engaging, but it certainly was interesting.   I thought it worked best as a historical period piece as opposed to working as some sort of personal drama.

-D-Day does a fantastic job playing the titular character, another great performance from the intensely method actor.  The greatness of the performance is probably worth the months his personal assistant spent going to Starbucks and requesting the barista write “Abraham Lincoln” on the cup or else Lewis wouldn’t drink it.

-Tommy Lee Jones’ character was the most interesting guy in the movie.  He did a good job acting as well, but I was captivated every time Thaddeus Stevens got any screen time.  Jones will probably have some awards for this within the next few months.

-The thing I found most interesting, since I’m not really a political historian, is the amount the Lincoln was berated by his political opposition.  What I mean by that is that Lincoln is widely considered to be one of greatest (if not *the* greatest) presidents this country has ever seen.  He’s kind of the generic model of a good president that people would love to see again in a president.  Yet back in his time, the opposing (democratic) party was labeling him a dictator and a terrible person.  Smearing him every chance they could.  I’m not naive enough to have thought this never could have happened to one of our greatest leaders, but I’m just saying I never really thought about it at all until this movie.  Because, frankly, I don’t often just randomly think about Abraham Lincoln…

-Pleasantly surprised at the amount of humor in the movie.  Though, I suppose that’s to be expected.  Politics are often a silly thing to begin with.  All of the scenes in the house of representatives are amazing.  I wish the movie could have just been two and a half hours of 19th century politicians bickering and calling each other puddles of slime.

 

Cons:

-I liked some of the personal family drama in the film, mainly the marital squabbles of Abe and Mary, but the rest was kind of fodder.  And mostly boring.  Plus, Louis C.K. did it better:

 

-Including Lincoln’s oldest son in the movie was a HUGE mistake.  This was the most overdone, cliché side story of the entire film.  I learned no lessons from it and had no revelations.  And it took up valuable screen time which lead to the next problem.

-This movie is waaaaaaay too long.

-The great conflict of the film is resolved 20 minutes before the actual end of the film.  I suppose something like this needs a little closure, but at that point I’ve already been sitting in the theater for over two hours, and we all know what happens next.  Spoiler alert: they cram his assassination into the last 5 minutes of the movie.  If they aren’t going to give the assassination proper treatment; then don’t bother putting it in at all.  Just put up a text slate in the credits or something.  Or, just assume that the entire audience is aware that the president got killed, and not include it in any way.  After all, this film is less about Lincoln’s life, as it is about the abolishment of slavery.  If someone needs to be explicitly shown or told that Lincoln died the way he did in this movie, then 4th grade history class has failed them.  They could have just made this a film about Lincoln’s last great achievement, not his last days on Earth.

-The movie starts off with an awful scene.  Not the battle snippet, but the scene after it.  When the soldiers are basically looking directly into the camera and reciting the Gettysburg Address to Lincoln’s face, each soldier picking up where the last guy left off.  In the rain.  Just give this film an Oscar so it shuts up, already.

 

Final Thoughts:  Lincoln is amusing enough to not make you want to kill yourself while you’re watching it, but I will definitely admit there were a few moments here and there when I completely stopped paying attention to the film.  Like that one scene in the third act when Lincoln is talking to the Morse code dudes (one of which was played by the weird boyfriend from HBO’s Girls, who had an inappropriate accent) *completely* lost my attention.  I have no idea what was said in that scene, but it was really long and probably could have been cut.  Talk about momentum killers.  At what point in the film do you stop painting him as a mythical figure, and just start focusing on the narrative plot at hand?  C’mon…!

Lincoln made me think about that John Adams mini-series.  Because I feel like Lincoln would have been better served as a HBO mini-series.  They could have covered all the same ground; actually they could have covered even *more* ground, and no one would have complained about the length because it would have been shown in one-to-two hour chunks.  But then again, they probably couldn’t have gotten the star power or The Spielberg for a mini-series, and it wouldn’t have made $20 million in a weekend.  Which I might add, was only 1/7th of what Twilight made this weekend.  In your face, Abe!  Score one for the glitter vampires!

6.5 out of 10

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