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.
-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.
-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 (and should) 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 your 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.
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, Lincoln! Score one for the glitter vampires!
7 out of 10
[Scott Roberts] "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."
Given Spielberg's history of producing mini-series after making a historical drama I would expect a Civil War themed HBO series in the next 18 months. Tom Hanks will be involved somehow, probably as narrator.
Was this film available in IMAX 3D?
Speaking of which, have you seen that Jurassic Park is coming out in 3D? That might merit my spending $13.95.
I do hope to see Lincoln theatrically, as the last couple of Spielberg movies did not interest me, which is the first time that has ever happened.
Speaking of which, let's see what he has in the pipeline:
Robopocalypse in 2014
Indiana Jones V - God help us. Disney or not, this has to end. I can't believe he cannot come up with some original projects to work on. Shooting another Indy movie seems like a cop out. Yeah it is hard work shooting in Hawaii for 3 months...whatever
and as Producer:
Two more TinTin movies?!?!?! I suppose it was popular outside the US, and he does have like 27 grandchildren
Reel Steel 2 - anyone actually see the first one?
Jurassic Park IV - OMG NOOOOO
Transformers IV - with Mark Walberg?! Yikes
I agree with most of what you've said. I'm giving it 5 out of 10. Why?
- Tommy Lee Jones presence was actually pretty distracting to me considering most other characters were character actors or heavily stylized.
- I never felt like the 13th amendment was out of reach. Lincoln is ultra even keeled and the only "resistance" they felt was needing to pay some lobbyists to do some convincing.
- The music cues were very on the nose.
- The film is terribly lit, overuse of random smoke machines and lens diffusion run rampant.
Good try, but Spielberg is losing his touch.
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I have the fortune to have the Abe Lincoln Presidential Museum in my town, and Daniel Day Lewis came to check it out one day while prepping for the role. In the museum is a "whispering gallery", done up in the style of the old silent movie: "cabinet of Dr. Caligari". In this nightmarish tunnel, every surface is plastered-over with reproductions of actual anti-Lincoln cartoons and propaganda sheets, while a sound track of heated hate speech quotes from newspapers and books of the day slithers around in your ears. There's also videos screens of actors in costume saying horrible things... it is all dead-on accurate stuff you never hear about today, and the overall effect of it is, Lincoln got this cr@p thrown at him on a scale that dwarfs today's partisan political media pundit environment.
Most beloved president today, sure... back then, half the country hated his guts with a burning passion.
Finally saw Lincoln. Impressions:
Wanted Lewis to be taller, but he otherwise nailed it. I have a feeling the height was cheated to make 2-shots easier.
Tommy Lee Jones owns any picture you put him in, no matter how small the role. That is what Jones does.
Sally Field's performance was Oscar-worthy.
The wife and I felt the opening scene quoting the Gettysburg Address was forced and mawkish, but then again, this is a Spielberg movie. The rest of the film flowed well.
James Spader and the "skulky men" were amusing and kept the film in balance against a tide of gravitas. Spader has become a meme of himself much like Walken.
I watched Lincoln 1.84 times over the weekend.
First, I watched the Bourne Legacy with my wife and stayed awake for 98.7% of it.
Let me preface the above by stating that I rode 11.2 miles on my bike earlier in the day. This was the first semblance of exercise, aside from walking through airports and convention centers, that my body has experienced since October. So I was spent.
But anyway, Bourne Legacy was ok, cleverly allowing another Bourne movie without actually paying Matt Damon $20 million. Jeremy Renner, who is now in every movie, appears to be the new interchangeable action star, though he is kind of funny looking up close.
So I then parked myself downstairs and put in the Blu-Ray Redbox of Lincoln.
I made it about 1/3 of the way through and fell asleep, waking up just before the passage of the 13th amendment. Feeling I'd missed something, I backtracked and found I had missed a lot. This continued until about 1am when I finally called it and went to bed officially.
Sunday morning, in leiu of Meet the Press, which is nothing more than politicians whining about passing fads, I started over. This time I watched the whole movie straight through.
I too feel D-Day Lewis deserved every award he received - he really became Lincoln. I thought the best scenes were ones in which he was simply chatting with other people, not making grand speeches. When he tells the anecdote about defending the woman who killed her husband and he sort of chuckles as he tells the story - that is what real people do when they are telling amusing stories. It only sounded like he was performing from a script during the really formal scenes.
I thought the low light scenes were mostly good - some unmotivated light in the closeups but he's not quite Kubrick (lighting with candles on Barry Lyndon) but close. Many classic Spielbergian camera moves and angles. I appreciate that not every scene has a master and traditional coverage - he shows what needs to be shown and that's it, which could explain how they show this in 2 months!
Yeah, Tommy Lee Jones stole the show whenever he opened his mouth. Loved the reveal of his home life at the end. All the other members of Congress on both sides were a great collection of characters.
The brief documentaries on the DVD are typical for Spielberg - a tease more than anything.
Overall a great film and great to see him doing what he does best.
Also saw Argo - it was a busy weekend.