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Non-Review Review: Dark Shadows

I really liked Dark Shadows. Of course, the film comes with the proviso that it’s probably nothing at all like anybody is expecting, at least based on the trailers. While there are elements of a comedy about a vampire lost in time, Tim Burton is far too busy constructing an elaborate spoof of a gothic melodrama to every really develop that thread. Instead, it’s a movie that seems wry and self-aware more than it is side-splittingly hilarious, an old-fashioned homage to the melodramatic horrors of old rather than a compelling story in its own right. I don’t think anybody could argue that this is truly “classic” Burton, measured against Ed Wood or Batman Returns. However, it is a director who seems to be having a great deal of fun playing with some rather esoteric toys.

Collins family values…

Of course, Dark shadows is an adaptation of the classic sixties soap opera about the Collins family – it was sort of like Genera Hospital if General Hospital featured vampires, ghosts and werewolves embroiled in a generational history of a New England family. So it isn’t really that similar, to be entirely honest. However, Burton seems to be using that familiar brand to play with the sort of crazy over-the-top gothic melodramatic nonsense one might imagine from a soap opera, but with a healthy dose of the supernatural to boot.

The plotting is very clearly structured in homage to those trashy soap operas. It seems that barely a scene goes by without somebody revealing an ominous secret, or Barnabus stumbling across some evil that has taken root in his family home. Sometimes it’s the revelation that a previously trustworthy character is planning to steal from their next of kin, or that somebody’s motives for assisting Barnabus aren’t entirely altruistic. At one point, almost completely out of the blue (save one line of foreshadowing dialogue towards the start of the film), it’s the revelation that there’s a werewolf in their midst. “Yeah,” the person confesses, “I’m a werewolf, so what? Can we not make a big deal about it?”

A strange chain of events…

The movie wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve. Trapped alone, Barnabus begins monologuing, referring to himself in the second person. The structure is gleefully ridiculous, as plot points are picked up, played with for a few minutes, and then resolved. In a delightful bit of seventies pseudo-science, one of the family proposes to cure Barnabus of his vampirism using blood transfusion. Don’t ask where they get the copious amounts of human blood necessary to run the operation, or why a psychiatrist is perfectly trained to do that sort of thing. It would spoil the joke. Towards the end, as the evil villainess Angelique Bouchard reveals the ridiculous and improbably ways she has laid the Collins family low, matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard seems more confused than upset. Very little of these revelations are set up, like so many soap opera twists.

Hell, there’s even a “special guest musical performance” very much in the style of television stunt-casting, which would seem like the musician promoting his album… were the film actually released in 1972. Burton even throws in a perfectly trashy vampire love scene, injecting more energy into one ridiculous sequence than the entirety of Breaking Dawn, Part I. Still, the film’s style is more of an ironic smirk than a beaming grin. Given the massive commercial success of the bland Alice in Wonderland, it feels like Burton indulging his more esoteric sense of humour.

Sink your teeth into this…

It isn’t just the script that’s in on the joke. Johnny Depp is very much in scenery-chewing mode here. It seems like we’ll never see the same nuance and depth he brought to roles like Donnie Brasco or Ed Wood, but his approach works here. It’s very melodramatic, very over-the-top, with every line delivered with the utmost ridiculous sincerity. His timing is impeccable, and his style faultless. Even his silent reactions are perfectly overstated. It’s not a performance with an abundance of nuance, that’s entirely the point – it’s all heightened melodrama, and Depp is at the very peak.

Depp is perfectly matched by Eva Green as the vamp witch Angelique. Green has a sultry style all her own, and chews on the scenery with impunity. Indeed, it almost reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s villainous turn in Burton’s Batman, complete with lost of evil smiling and a gloriously theatrical style. And the rest of the cast get in on the joke too. Special mention must be made of Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman and Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis. Carter is a wonderful actress, and she’s perfectly used as the self-medicating psychiatrist coping with the stress of a job… that doesn’t seem very stressful at all. Haley is an underrated performer who wonderfully underplays the role, simply going along with everything that’s happening. His reactions are quite priceless.

Home, sweet gothic home…

The cast make their dramatic pronouncements in the most garish manner possible. There are lots of sudden jerks and movements as the actors deliver shocking revelations in a manner clearly designed to wring every ounce of dramatic tension from the moment – it is very much in the spirit of parody, as they emulate the sort of worst excesses one might imagine from a daytime television cast. Motivation speeches (“fight on, Barnabus!”) are delivered with stern conviction, and rhyming spells (“burn, baby, burn!”) are read like Shakespearean soliloquies.

Even Burton and his direction get in on the act. One of the best gags is the way that Burton repeatedly cuts away to the image of waves crashing against the rocks. It’s obviously an attempt to imitate a sixties television director trying to imitate an autuer, hoping to add some depth to a shallow and trashy plot by using visual metaphors, even if they don’t fit. The best use sees the camera cutting to the waves as Dr. Hoffman explains “doctor-patient confidentiality” to Barnabus, which is one of the film’s best visual gags.

Vamping it up…

More than that, though, Burton makes sure the camera is always moving, as if frantically trying to keep our attention – particularly during the sequence where Angelique discovers the Barnabus has woken up. It’s deliciously over-stated, like absolutely everything else, and that’s why it worked so well, at least to me. The period setting is overwhelming and garish – to the point where the soundtrack is constantly reminding us of the decade – but that’s entirely the joke. It wouldn’t work if Burton reigned himself in at all. One can spot the horror conventions he brings to the film – from pea soup to bleeding walls – all done with a measure of self-awareness.

Of course, there’s a catch. It is, pretty much, a one-note joke extended over two hours. That is, to be fair, a bit much and I can see the film easily wearing its welcome out, especially with viewers who might have been expecting something just a bit different, and just a bit more conventional. After all, sometimes it is quite difficult to tell the difference between a spoof of a bad film, and a bad film itself. I’d make an argument that Dark Shadows is an extremely earnest and affectionate parody, but I accept that the target market is probably quite small. I suspect that the film will be quite divisive on release, but I hope that opinion might come around, as has happened with a few earlier Burton films.

(Sea)horsing about…

Still, there’s a lot of interest going on under the hood. The most obviously interesting facet of the film is Barnabus himself. As portrayed by Johnny Depp, we’re invited to imagine him as the hero of the story, struggling against a witch trying to destroy his family. However, the movie has a great deal of fun playing with that expectation. Surprisingly for a relatively straight-forward summer film, the movie is remarkably candid about his feeding habits. He slaughters a construction crew on waking, and then goes after a hippy commune, even after they are nice to him. Offered a glass of blood by Angelique, he’s initially hesitant, until she confirms, it’s not from anyone he knows. Because presumably that makes his habit okay.

Although the movie allows him to state his version of events, presenting an account where he is chased out of town by a mob and buried alive, struggling against the odds to keep his family afloat, the script seems to accept that this is a somewhat biased version of events. He confesses to feeding on some of the villagers later on, somewhat justifying their response to him. He’s also shown to be exceptionally manipulative and self-centred, with no real prospect for growth or development. He sleeps with Angelique knowing full well she is in love with him, while he just wants quick and easy sex. Even when he’s besotted with the family’s nanny, Barnabus is still something of a sex machine, hooking up with both his sworn enemy and Dr. Hoffman.

Road to redemption…

And even Hoffman sees through him more than anybody else in the film. “He’s a murderer!” she argues, before confessing that she didn’t go to the cops because he’s handsome and fascinating. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement – the only reason that she doesn’t inform the authorities is because he looks like Johnny Depp. Sure, Barnabus wants what is best for his family, and gets a tender moment or two with the family’s youngest son, but he’s also portrayed as a sinister hypocrite. Though he laments being used as a tool by Angelique, he has no hesitation about overwriting the free will of others. There’s some measure of irony in the fact that he uses it on people who are actually following his own code of honour. When a fisherman refuses to be bought and swears loyalty to Angelique, Barnabus doesn’t convince him to switch affiliations through reason and debate, but instead hypnotises him.

Indeed, Dark Shadows is filled with incredibly inadequate men, perhaps reflecting the time where it was set. This was, after all, the era where feminism was truly coming into its own. For better or worse, the most ambitious characters all seem to female, and the real heroes of the Collins household are the two women who head it – David’s deceased mother and Michelle Pfeiffer’s stern Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Sure, Angelique is hardly the image of female empowerment, hopelessly devoted to Barnabus and fixated on his rejection, and Dr. Hoffman is revealed to be fixated on her physical appearance, but it’s interesting that so many of the men turn out to be completely useless. That arguably includes Barnabus himself, given how the final confrontation between Angelique and the family plays out.

Out of his Depp?

At least the women are proactive and ambitious, while the men are petty and ineffectual. The surviving male Collins, the sniveling Roger, is shown to have a wandering eye, a lust for money and no interest in his son. Willie, the family’s loyal groundskeeper, is prone to drinking and sleeping and mumbling to himself. It’s interesting that that’s no reference to Elizabeth Collins Stoddard’s lover and Carolyn Stoddard’s father. He may have just died, but Carolyn seems to imply he simply ran out on them. However, neither Elizabeth or Carolyn ever fixate on him or discuss him.

While Depp might be the biggest name above the poster, it’s possible to argue that Barnabus isn’t the real hero of the piece. He provides the money necessary for the family to find its feet, but Elizabeth seems just as capable of managing the family and holding them together. While references are made to Barnabus’s “business acumen”, Elizabeth seems to take an active role in the restoration of the family industry, studying plans and appearing in photos (while Barnabus seems more preoccupied with restoring the house).

Hot shot…

Hell, Barnabus isn’t even the traditional Burton leading character, although he might seem it. He is an outsider, and a stranger, but the movie doesn’t portray him as a misunderstood monster. If anything, his actions justify the label – brutally feeding and murdering those around him. Bella Heathcote’s Victoria Winters arguably fits the traditional Burton mold better, once her wonderfully soap-opera-esque mysterious past is revealed.

Victoria literally sees the world differently, and her cheesy flashbacks, set to an Alice Cooper song, are the most emotional moments in an otherwise light film. Like Bruce Wayne or Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood, she is the person who must learn to accept her strange habits and gifts as an inherent part of her identity – even if the world would brand her a freak. Barnabus has no such conflict – while he might want to be normal, he accepts and exploits his otherness with comfortable ease.

It’s Johnny Lee Miller time…

The fact that Victoria seems to fit the traditional Burton mold is just a lot less apparent than it might seem, because Heathcote doesn’t have a screen presence to match her distinguished co-stars, and because she’s a weird person arriving in a story populated with other weird characters. She doesn’t drive the plot, because she’s the least interesting person in the film, but Dark Shadows is a far more transformative experience for her than it is for Barnabus or any other character.

I suspect I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I liked Dark Shadows. I really did. I think that, if you accept it for what it is, it’s a fun little film, if not the most essential one.

113 Responses

  1. This is one of those films I hope to enjoy. As a Burton fan, anything outside of a ‘Planet of the Apes’ re-imagination and I’ll be happy ;-).

    • It’s definitely much better than Alice and Charlie, I think it is, at least, on par with Sweeney and Sleepy. Maybe Batman. It is significantly behind Big Fish, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns or Beetlejuice. Which makes it sound bad, but I think those are all great films.

      • I actually liked Charlie. If I’d never seen the original, I’d probably even like it more. Alice I haven’t been able to finish due to falling asleep.

      • Glad to hear there’s another like me. I like it, although I stop short of loving it.

    • Yes….I look forward to seeing this.

  2. This sounds a lot like what Burton did with the wonderful, though under-appreciated “Mars Attacks!”. I was of just a couple of people who laughed during opening night of that movie while most of the audience just didn’t get the joke. Hopefully audiences will know going in that Tim Burton is not a director who does anything conventionally, though perhaps considering that “Alice in Wonderland,” his most conventional film, was his highest-grossing effort maybe that’s exactly what they will be expecting.

    • Mars Attacks! is a pretty good comparison, even if Dark Shadows doesn’t quite have the same energy. I think Mars Attacks! probably works better because it’s a lot more fun and has a broader appeal to spoof cheesy fifties sci-fi than it is to spoof seventies soap opera melodrama.

  3. Sounds like a bit of light hearted, gothy silly fun. Nothing too deep, though, I’m wondering how much longer Burton can get away with this. I enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, but crave for him to do something like Edward Scissor Hands or Mars Attacks again.

    • I actually really disliked Alice, more than Planet of the Apes or Charlie. To be fair, I like Burton’s Charlie more than most. (My mother actually prefers to to the Gene Wilder original, which must be cinematic blasphemy.) I think that Big Fish is probably Burton’s latest masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean that his films since haven’t been great. (I did really like Sweeney Todd, in case anyone is keepig track.)

      • I’m on par with you regarding Burton’s work. I really enjoyed “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” but have not been able to enjoy “Alice in Wonderland” at all (I had the same reaction with “Corpse Bride”). “Big Fish” is truly a masterpiece, and a very underrated film.

      • I agree with you about Alice. Too much fashion show and just plain dumb stuff. The ending was idiotic.

  4. The wonderful thing about the arts is that everyone sees their own thing. I thought this film was as lifeless as Barnabus was supposed to be. I do enjoy reading your takes as it makes me look at films from a different perspective. You appear to not be a big fan of Sleepy Hollow and I quite like it.

    • Count me as another who is a big fan of Sleepy Hollow.

      • I loved “Sleepy Hollow” as well. It has one of the strongest screenplays of any of Burton’s films, which are notorious for having weak stories.

      • Actually, I always thought it had perhaps his best production design, which is saying something.

    • Thanks James. If we all agreed it would be boring! And I suspect, like my dislike of Avatar, I’ll probably be soundly in the minority on this one, but that’s my reaidng and I stick by it. Be curious what my better half makes of it. I’m taking her tonight, which is probably a ringing endorsememnt from me – I’ll be seeing it twice in one week. Even The Avengers couldn’t manage that. (Though Cabin in the Woods did.)

      Actually, I quite like Sleepy Hallow, at least I thought I liked it more than most. (I got the impression it was the point at which mainstream critics started whining about Burton being “samey”, which is perhaps a valid stylistic complaint, but I always found his imagination rich enough to bear repeated exploration.) I wouldn’t rank it as his best, but then again, I adore Burton’s best. I’d put it on his “mid-tier”, beneath an over-flowing top shelf and a bottom shelf that is so far below it it’s probably in the basement.

  5. Tom Stoppard did a polish of the shooting script for Sleepy Hollow. And one of the credited writers wrote Seven. So agreed that the screenplay was stronger than the normal Burton films.

  6. Looks like a fun, creative, engaging movie — of course, I personally think Depp can do no wrong (or little wrong, that is … I kinda thought the 21 Jump Street cameo was a little over the top, but that’s just me…).

    Great review!

  7. I really loved the trailer so I thought I must see this movie .. I’ve really wanted to see Depp as a Vampire and he looks cool as one.. I think I will like the movie especially because of Burton-Depp combo ..What was Helena Bonham Carter like ?

    Anyway , great non-review review :)

  8. i reallllyy hope to like this. i was very disappointed by Alice, but love Sweeny. So hopefully it is closer to the latter.

  9. I’ll keep all this in mind when i go see the film. Oh, and you better hope no twilight fans read this post, they may say something nasty about that energy comparison.

    • Actually, I don’t have the same hatred many of my contemporaries hold for Twilight. It is flawed and sexist and completely confused about what it is, but that’s just as true of many action movies or romantic comedies. I don’t like the films, but they aren’t the worst films ever. Many are not even the worst films of their respective years. People enjoy them, let them, just as people who don’t enjoy them should be allowed enjoy their own things. Peace on Earth and all that. Live and let live. My opinion diesn’t make them wrong to enjoy it, and theirs doesn’t make me wrong.

      However, I actually think they’d be better movies if they indulged and acknowledged their pulpy trashiness. Inject some passion into it, for God’s sake! If you’re doing a vampire c-section, revel in the campy ridiculousness! Just don’t be ashamed of your pulpy nature and don’t treat the story of an abusive, possessive sexual predator preying on a girl in her teens as the sweetest love story ever.

      Sorry, that got off topic.

      • it’s fine, i get off-topic about 2-3 times a day.

      • I tend to agree with you. If they could just call it like it is, take out the teenage angst and just have fun with it, I wouldn’t find myself snorting with derision every time someone said “Have you seen the new Twilight?” with looks of child-like enthusiasm and being on the brink of hand-clapping.

        I will give credit to the location scout and soundtracks. They’re both pretty damn good.

  10. Great review of a film I can’t wait to see – Depp’s humor and ability to poke fun at himself never disappoints.
    Congrats on being FP! Did you see Depp in the film “Rum Diary”? If so, what did you think?

  11. My question: If Barnabus was an only child, why are there any Collins’ for him to return to 196 years later?

    • I’m not sure if it’s stated they are direct descendents. In fact, I think the television show explained that he had plenty of cousins running around – and it would seem quite logical. Following the death of the Collins family (mother, father and son), the estate would have fallen to relatives in England, and they would have moved in and taken over.

      Personally, I consider it the same sort of mystery as to the source of the blood in Dr. Hoffman’s transfusion device (and the device itself) – it’s an intentionally cheesy plot device designed to move the plot along, and the script doesn’t explain it because it’s something that we really shouldn’t be stopping to think about when it comes to vampires, ghosts and werewolves. Well, that’s my own logic.

  12. Heey, I’m not going to reed this, because i did not see the movie yet!
    but i bet it is great, just like your store

    byebye!

    • You were smarter than I, meatballme. I read it…. and now realize that I wouldn’t have to see the movie as the entire thing has been laid out here. Of course, I’ll still see it. But I’m feeling very let down going in knowing SOOOO much (and I stopped reading part way through). :(

      • Apologies Tobi-Dawn. While I discuss particular developments or plot points, I try to avoid giving context or details.

  13. It seems that Tim Burton’s Barnabus is nowhere near as interesting as the original Barnabus. Suffice it to say, the original “Dark Shadows” television show was not great art but between the writing for that character and the remarkable acting from Jonathan Frid, you had something special. Did you get a chance to view much of the original show? You may enjoy my take on it. I thought I’d share that with you:
    http://comicsgrinder.com/2012/04/25/dark-shadows-a-television-classic-led-by-a-masterful-actor/

    • Nah, only had a quick peek at some on-line materials. The material isn’t played quite as straight here as the snippets I saw, and there’s a lot of camp, but I think there is genuine affection for the source material.

  14. Yay! I’m glad it’s a decent movie as I really wanted to see it! I even saw the trailer, which is saying alot (I almost never see trailers as they tend to be the movie in mini.) I hope it’s funny with a decent story. Cheers!

  15. I checked it out today! I really enjoyed it…. Yes there were a lot of laughs!

  16. The mainstream reviews are bad but I gotta see this movie. Two reasons: Johnny Depp and the old TV show I remember. I like your review.

  17. Great review. I liked Dark Shadows too, appreciate your efforts behind that. Have a great day!

  18. look to the picture movie,it’s so scared me

  19. Johnny Depp. Easily my most favorite actor in the history of the world. He is capable of performing so many various roles, from Edward Scissorhands to Captain Jack Sparrow. He is just so versatile and so talented. I can never recognize him from one movie to the next. That usually doesn’t happen with a lo of actors.

  20. Is this maybe one of Tim Burton’s more accessible movies which he makes for the studios so they’ll finance something more daring down the road?

    It just seems too much of a coincidence for any big name director to do a vampire movie while they are so popular (again), don’t you think?

    Faves: Edward Scissor Hands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Big Fish
    (I liked most of his Alice in Wonderland too, but with a few exceptions)

    • I don’t know if it’s one of his more accessible films. I can imagine it dividing audiences, if only because it wallows in seventies melodrama, rather than broader comedy. In fact, I am fairly sure that the reaction to this will warm over time, much like it did with Mars Attacks, which was another esoteric Burton comedy that I think confused mainstream audiences on release. Not that I think Dark Shadows is quite that good, but I did like it even more on second viewing.

      And great list. I think we agree, save on Alice. Although I would, controversially, include Batman Returns among the durector’s best work.

  21. I enjoyed your review. My site is just starting to get up and running. I only have a few movie reviews posted so far but I rally hope to get the sight really going by the end of the month. There are a few posted reviews so far. Come on and check it out: http://www.thetoxicdump.wordpress.com

  22. very good movie like it….

  23. These fantasy fairy tale vampire novels with “hot” teenagers just don’t do it for me. I don’t look for boys either though..

  24. Reblogged this on Pencils and Fountain pens.

  25. Great review. I saw this movie last night. Since it was given a PG-13 rating I brought three “tweens” with me. It was more horror than comedy, so I was disappointed.

    • Hi Melanie. Fair point. I think that the advertisements mischaracterises it a bit, which I imagine hurts it. I liked it a lot, but I’ll be hesitant to give it an unqualified recommendation.

  26. Depp wins…no surprise there….

  27. Say, Darren, could you tell me how much product placement is in the film? After reading your review my interest in Dark Shadows has piqued a little, but the huge McDonalds sign in one of the movie’s ads is still turning me off.

    • No worries. There’s a lot of placement, but it’s all gags. Soem of them might be spoiled by reading below, but since you asked…

      The “M” in McDonalds references a similar design that Barnabus saw in his tomes of apocryphal lore while researching the dark arts.
      There’s the presence of a vintage “Shell” gas station in town, but it’s used to evoke the period.
      There’s reference to the family Cadillac.
      Barnabus encounters a Troll doll and a game of Operation while wandering about the house.
      He reads the novel Love Story.
      There’s lots of pop culture references, if they count. He watches Scooby Doo, listens to a variety of hits, and there’s a musical appearance from the “ugliest woman he has ever seen.”

      None of these I would consider “product placement” in the style of I, Robot. I doubt they were forced on Burton. Instead, I see them as pop culture references, trying to capture the period in the gawdiest manner possible. (Which is the point.) The McDonald’s sign is the most obvious, though.

      That’s all I can think of. It’s not as if the family stops for a bite in McDonalds or Barnabus develops an obsession with troll dolls or such. He does quote from the Steve Miller Band, which is as close it comes, but he doesn’t mention them by name.

      Hope this helps.

  28. Reblogged this on cinemaclubhn and commented:
    Una observacion interesante del esperado estreno de Jhonny Deep: Dark Shadows.

  29. Reblogged this on haveasmirtday and commented:
    Can’t wait for UK release!

  30. I just really want to watch it because of johnny. He is a classic and Tim is skilled.

  31. This is good movie

  32. wonderful post. will be seeing this soon and it’s great to get more of the background on it.

  33. I enjoyed the Dark Shadows movie starring Johnny Depp as well. I thought it was a perfect homage to the 1960′s television series. The commercial make it out like it is a laugh out loud comedy and it is not.

    • Yep. I think a lot of people will not get what they were expecting. It’s wry, subversive and ironic. It’s not a laugh-a-minute comedy. The Dictator is a much better example of that. But I did really like Dark Shadows for what it was. Saw it twice, which is something.

  34. Twilight fans gonna hate.. haha.. Now i want to watch the movie.. thanks, nice post!

  35. I watched the original Dark Shadows. But it’s been so long ago I don’t remember much of it. I’m looking forward to Johnny Depp and Tim Burton version.

  36. Spot on with this movie review! I just watched the movie minutes ago. It’s a smart piece of social commentary, and the setting, from 1790s to 1970s, was perfect to convey that. It is true that it actually is targeted for a minority of movie lovers, but I hope that the majority will accept it as it is! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Give it a chance people, it might just be something that we need when it comes to quality films. :)

  37. Thanks for the details, and congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  38. This movie is one of the must watch movie of this year. Johnny Depp’s innocence in the movie made it more hilarious as expected. Thumbs up!

  39. I bet it is a brilliant movie , yet Tim Burton and Johnny Depp …. It is almost a Cliché

  40. I really liked this movie until the ending, I was waiting for the UFO’s to land. :)

  41. Can’t wait to see this movie next week :) thanks for the great review. I’ve featured you as my blog of the week and this reviews is how i stumbled across your blog, so thanks!
    http://cbrohanmultimedia.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/blog-of-the-week-4/

  42. I want to watch this movie ASAP!!! I’m sure it’s amazing! I trust Tim Burton.

  43. My sister doesn’t want to see it because it looks weird, but I really want to see it!

  44. I love Johnny Depp! How he portrayed the role! I love it! :)

  45. Saw it last night and I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to be sorely disappointed. I was not. It was actually a lot more true to the series. There were a few changes, but things were moreorless the same.

    I agree, this Burton flick was so much better than Charlie & Alice.

  46. Saw this last night… witty, dark, and humorous! I thought Woody Allen may have had a hand in this too (;

  47. Really nicely written review. Unfortunately, the movie sucked.

  48. I never miss any of Burton and Depp movies, I’d definitely check this one out. Thanks for the review, by the way. :)

  49. a moving film! i also love it ! Dark Shadows belongs to those who wander at night!

  50. best one.enjoyed a lot.good to read this kind of articles

  51. I watched The Dark Shadows, its a good movie altogether. But the character of Barnabas, I think, is not as strong as Jack Sparrow! Having watched all sequels of Pirates, I was kind of disappointed! The last half an hour of the movie ruined it for me!

  52. im definitely going to watch this one!!!and now esp after reading this non review review!!

  53. I would consider “product placement” in the style of I, Robot. I doubt they were forced on Burton.

  54. Love the movie! Also, this article is amazing. :)

  55. I haven’t read all of your review yet, but I just want to say that a lot of the plot points are right in line with the original series. Burton didn’t just pull them out of the air; they already existed. XD

    It’s basically making fun of that series in particular, more than anything else…because that’s what the show WAS. It was awesomely ridiculous.

    • Thanks Liz. I only caught a small smattering on YouTube, but I think that Dark Shadows is clearly an affectionate spoof of seventies melodrama and the classic soap opera clichés. The few bits and pieces I did see, though, suggested the series played everything a little bit straighter, but I haven’t seen enough to judge for sure.

      • Oh, they tried to, for sure! But, apparently they were short on time or money or something, because there wasn’t a lot of editing done. If someone flubbed a line or a mic or hand got in the shot, they just kept filming. XD

        Most of the specific plot points of Burton’s version were definitely in the ’90s remake, that much I know: Things like the doctor falling for Barnabus and trying to make him human, etc. etc. I think Barnabus even killed her eventually, but I forget why.

        The 90s remake didn’t really wrap things up though, so I still want to see all of the original…which went on for several seasons! lol (Also in the 90s series remake, there was this whole thing where Victoria is sent back in time through a seance for some reason, and she meets all the ancestors of the Collins family, and even her own ancestor. Who is the one Barnabus was originally engaged to.

        It was awesomely nuts! :D

  56. I love that movie.

  57. good vibration with sinsemelia
    sdf view
    marenez

  58. A I would much rather see a serious remake than a Tim Burton spoof of a cool series that set a precedent. I won’t be standing in line for this one.

  59. I still can’t figure out if I really enjoyed it or not. Sigh. Everything you say is true of course, I’m just not sure how I feel about it.
    It’s certainly a Depp movie, though. No two ways about it.

  60. Reblogged this on Jolene's Cuppa Jo and commented:
    As an avid ‘Dark Shadows’ fan of old I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw the initial trailers of Tim Burton’s spoof on my adored childhood soap opera. I thought, oh no what has he done with my beloved memory. When I first learned there was going to be a new film of my favorite soap opera starring Johnny Depp, one of my favorite actors, I anxiously awaited the films release. of course it took some time for me to get over my initial shock that it was going to be a typical Tim Burton movie, I have to admit I resigned myself to be okay with it. Then after reading this review I have to say I’m more than anxious to see this new rendition of Dark Shadows, and more importantly, Johnny Depp’s interpretation of Barnabus Collins as well as Michelle Piefer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.

  61. Loved your review. I haven’t seen the movie, but I will very very soon!

  62. I found the movie very boring and lifeless, it had a few moments I found amusing. As a fan of the original series, I did not expect it to follow the original. Knowing Burton, I expected a total twist on the storyline. There was no plotline, it bounced way too much and left holes that a convoy of trucks would drive through.

    I will admit that this was the second feature of a two show show drive in movie and as the first one was Avengers almost anything would be overshadowed. This did not start until well after midnight so I may have been too tired to enjoy it. As is I do not recommend it.

    However when it hits redbox, or I find it int he discount bin I will give it another chance, I just won’t spend more than $5 on it.

  63. Sounds great :)

  64. I saw Dark Shadows last night actually. It was a decent film though there were some things that just weren’t expounded upon. Like the whole connection between Victoria and his former love or how Victoria basically disappears for 20 minutes or so. The humor was good and it’s too bad Tim Burton didn’t include more as it would have made for more comic gold. But I saw where he was taking the film so it didn’t bother me.

    Eva Green and Helena Bonham Carter were excellent as usual starring opposite Depp, but I think they could have done a better job developing Barnabas relationship with the boy instead.

    It was interesting and entertaining, just not truly compelling.

    It’s a 3.5/out of 5 star kinda movie. If you have a choice whether to see The Avengers or this, I’d say go see Avengers.

  65. Reblogged this on iamjacque and commented:
    Dark shadows, why so cool? ^^

  66. he looks funny than scary :D

  67. Reblogged this on Filme la Cinema. – vedete, stiri, noutati, in curand and commented:
    Dark Shadows – Noul film al lui Tim Burton

  68. Great movie. I was happy that it had light and funny moments and sexy, erotic ones as well ;) All in all, love the message, which is to accept yourself whoever or “whatever” you are. At least that’s what I got.

  69. Great movie. Loved the OVR message. Johnny depp epitome.

  70. i’m totally gonna watch this movie,i don’t think there’s anything about it i don’t like, AND michele is one of the most beautiful women ever…sooo….:P

  71. Reblogged this on widymaharani98 and commented:
    The Dark Shadows

  72. I actually LOVED this flick! It was so true to its soap opera roots and the dark humor was awesome!

  73. Reblogged this on Thisbeautifullife.

  74. I can’t think that you’re in the minority; I loved it, and the theatre was packed when I went to see it, too.

  75. I look forward to seeing this, I think I’m gonna love it! Thank you for sharing this review,
    Artphalt (http://artphalt.wordpress.com)

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