Love Can Endure Over Centuries And So Can A Grudge.
Back in the 1700's there was a was wealthy family named Collins that settled in Maine and used their wealth to create their own little “kingdom” in Maine. Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), the young heir to the Collins empire, had a tryst with a maid named Angelique (Eva Green). When Angelique asks for a deeper relationship Barnabas dumps her and sets his sights on a beautiful girl named Josette. Spurned on by the pain of rejection Angelique uses witchcraft to exact revenge on Barnabas. His parents are killed, Josette is sent to over a cliff to her death and Barnabas is cursed to live out his life as a vampire. Angelique adds even more insult to the injuries she's inflicted to the Collins clan by enciting the townspeople to rise up against the vampire Barnabas and the cursed man is condemned to imprisonment in a buried coffin.
Flash-forward to 1972 where Barnabas is unwittingly freed from his earthly cell. Once the aged vampire reconnects with the remnants of the Collins family he vows to rebuild and restore the honor of his bloodline. This will not be an easy task as an enemy from his past has managed to survive the ages in order to ensure that the Collins lineage remains doomed to failure. The Vampire, The Witch & The Unrequited Romance? - Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) and Angelique (Eva Green)
All I knew about Dark Shadows
was what my mother told me. According to her, it was basically a soap opera with a supernatural kick. The main man was a vampire dude named Barnabas Collins and the tv serial was all about the creepy happenings in the Collins manor. Since I never watched the series I can't compare the film to the tv series. My review is from the viewpoint of a person that vaguely knew about the series but watched the film out of fondness for the work of Tim Burton (director) and his frequent collaborator Johnny Depp (actor). Plus, I just have a sweet tooth for gothic and spooky stuff involving creatures of the night.
So, Dark Shadows – The Movie, was okay. I was most relieved that the film entire wasn't as silly as the previews led me to believe. The trailers for Dark Shadows
seemed so unusually comical that I had to constantly ask my family and friends that were more familiar with the original series if the previews showed any similarity to the show whatsoever. There were some moments of amusement usually caused by Barnabas' efforts to blend in with the new age but the bulk of the movie felt like a tense family drama with everyone keeping their own closets of skeletons.
I can't say that I completely loved the film. While I'm usually a proponent of filmmakers seeing as much of their screenplay realized I felt that Dark Shadows
possibly could've benefitted from a few more cuts to the running time. Once the final act came along I found myself yearning for the exit. I just grew so tired of the ongoing battling between Barnabas and Angelique. I mean, Eva Green and Johnny Depp were a hoot together but it got to the point where the love/hate bouts became one too many. The story started out as intriguing but by the end I felt drained and just wanted to retire.
Johnny Depp did a great job in portraying the cursed “Barnabas” with just enough clumsiness to make him sympathetic but Depp also gave the vampire enough menace so that even at the lightest of times I never doubted the ferocity of Barnabas' powers. Eva Green, on the other hand, was a nut and I think she had a blast playing an unhinged character with a lot of powers but a lack of sanity. Michelle Pfeiffer was all kinds of mysterious so it was fun to wonder if “Elizabeth Collins Stoddard” was truly a benefit to the family or a bane. Chloe Grace Moretz was darling as the self-absorbed brat of the house, “Carolyn Stoddard”. I wish there had been a little more Jackie Earle Haley, though. I think there could've been more opportunities for Barnabas' unwilling assistant to shine. Still, it was nice to see Mr. Haley in a role that didn't paint him as a psycho or a maniacal murderer. And then there's that Helena Bonham Carter as the snarky “shrink” that just doesn't know when to go home.
I saw the IMAX version for two reasons: my friend who accompanied my mother and I really, really wanted to see it in IMAX and it was the earliest show on the schedule. If you are planning to see Dark Shadows
don't bother with the IMAX version. There were maybe a few scenes that took full advantage of the gigantic screen such as the overhead shots of the scary cliff where Josette meets her demise, exterior shots of Collinswood Manor and the opening sequence showing the large boats from Liverpool sailing to the New World for new opportunities. My advice is to stick with the 2D release as this film is more appropriate for that venue. Welcome Back To Collinswood.
I walked out of Dark Shadows
not really able to properly describe my feelings about the movie. My friend asked me what I thought and I just couldn't decide between “very good” and “what exactly did I just sit through?”. This is one of those films that genuinely left me mixed. I still adore the imagination and vision of Tim Burton. I think his cast was excellent and his crew did a fine job retrofitting the film to circa 1972 (although my mom felt the Alice Cooper cameo was a really big stretch). The plot about a vampire lost in time and at a loss for love striving to reconnect with the world through his descendents was compelling. Dark Shadows
was mostly an interesting piece made watchable thanks to some outrageous characters coupled with Burton's patented form of off-beat humor and gothic trappings. I just wish it would've been maybe 10 or 20 minutes shorter. Rhymes With: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
(2007), Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
(2005), Sleepy Hollow
(1999), The Addams Family
(1991), Jennifer's Body
(2009), Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night
(2011), The Brothers Grimm
(2005), Death Becomes Her
(1992) Coming Soon House At The End Of The Street – 9/21/12 – Horror http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xd2ceHDd-g&ob=av3e Rock Of Ages – 6/15/12 – Musical/Rock