Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet- or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his one- grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better. 

Dark Shadows the movie marked Jonathan Frid's final screen moment, he died shortly after on April 14th. To those of you who don't know who Jonathan Frid is, he's the original Barnabas Collins from the show. He only has a bit part in a cameo in this film.

I used to watch the show all the time, my mom is a huge fan of it and she got me into it. I used to sit in the living room and watch hours of it. I thought it was brilliant. I soap opera that's horror and dramatic. Dark Shadows is a landmark in TV history.

That being said, as I've mentioned in my Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter review, I don't like Tim Burton's latest films. I personally, think he's lost it. I don't think he's up to par with his old self anymore. I think he tapped out after Big Fish. Big Fish was his last truly great movie. After that it was all downhill.

When I heard Dark Shadows was being made into a movie I was actually excited. I wanted to see what could come of it. Then when I found out Depp was in it I was still stoked but I started to feel weary of  this film. Then I heard Tim Burton was director and I threw my hands up in disgust. Here's another movie that has serious potential and they're throwing it to the wolves, letting Tim Burton have it.

Honestly, I'm really sick of the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team. It was good for a while but it's got to stop. It's all so common and predictable now, I think it's past the point of moving on. Do something fresh and get a new actor to add perspective to the films. Instead Burton wants to use the same people over and over and over.

The film starts off in the year 1760 and the Collins family comes to America for a fresh start. When Barnabas grows up he seduces Angelique, his maid. But he doesn't know she's a witch and he makes the mistake of breaking her heart. Josette, Barnabas' new love interest is forced to her death by Angelique as she jumps off a cliff. Barnabas follows suit and jumps to his death, but he doesn't die and instead realizes he's been cursed into being a vampire and Angelique as him locked in a coffin and buried for eternity.

In 1972, 196 years after his condemnation, Barnabas is freed by some construction workers digging on a work site. This is funny because Barnabas later in the film says he was dug up by a yellow dragon with steel teeth, referring to the construction vehicle that dug him up. Barnabas returns to his manor and although the Collins living in his manor are thrown off by his appearance and by his being a vampire, but they work out a deal where he can stay.

Barnabas throws a party to revive his families name and Alice Cooper plays at the party. It was an awesome surprise to see Alice Cooper performing some old goodies. Barnabas encounters Angelique and she tries to win him back to no avail. Barnabas is attracted to Victoria, who looks like his beloved Josette and Angelique witnesses them kissing, sending her further over the edge of anger and jealousy.

To be totally honest, I didn't know how to feel about this movie after seeing it. I mean, there's a lot to consider. The movie actually wasn't bad, I enjoyed it. If I wasn't such a big fan of the show I'm sure I'd love it. There were some genuinely funny parts in it, I snickered here and there and even laughed out loud a few times.

I thought the story was good and over exaggerated in Tim Burton's way, and although the film did fit his signatures with the weird coloring, it also had beautiful scenery and sets. The acting wasn't bad either, you could tell that they were going for the dramatic element that the show was known for.

There's a part where Barnabas can't figure out where to sleep, constantly changing spots throughout the film and I found it to be pretty funny.

I thought the cast was superb and great choices. It was great to see Jackie Earle Haley in this film as Willie Loomis. Jackie is an extremely underrated actor. That dude has talent.

But even through being entertained, it wasn't Dark Shadows to me. It isn't dark like the show was, it's very lighthearted and comedic. It's not the Dark Shadows I am used to or wanted, but the film still entertained me enough to like it and appreciate it. As a stand alone film, not compared to the series, it's good. I want better for the Dark Shadows legacy, but Tim Burton did this one some justice so I'll just be thankful I can say I like it.



  1. Eva Green gave me a boner. Other than that, "Dark Shadows" felt like the beginning of something with all the set-ups, but it never delivered on any of them. Less is more in the case of "Dark Shadows", but Tim Burton tried to fit everything in and ruined it. It should have been the first part of a trilogy rather than a standalone movie.

    I don't really like any Tim Burton movies apart from "Batman Returns" anyway not even the ones which people say are good.

    1. Yeah that was a point I forgot to mention, the fact that Burton left so many things open just to find out they don't plan on doing a sequel. I thought it was passable.


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