Review: Dark Shadows
Tim Burton teams up once again with Johnny Depp to produce a film that is at the same time a comedy, drama filled soap opera and satire of a time gone by. Dark Shadows has its funny moments, an homage paid to the TV series of old but many of its comedic moments fall short of splitting your side. My companions and I had more of a giggle messing with the two drunk men sleeping and snoring in the seats in front of us.
I am not saying its a dreary non-comedy. Depp is a great actor and he is fun to watch but the story falls short explaining itself to an audience member who has never seen the show before. The film seemed a bit confused as to which way it wanted to take us. Was it a comedy or a Gothic thriller/romance with some blood letting in the middle? Instead, What we sat through was a funny movie with a few great lines delivered by Depp. I think Burton wanted pay homage to the TV show by adding in so many details that only fans would pick up on and that left much of the audience in the dark. There were moments in the plot where we get a reveal but it turns into nothing more than a forced “tip of the hat” to the original show that just missed the mark in my opinion.
The movie begins in Liverpool in 1752, when the Collins family immigrate to the United States and settle in Maine. There, they establish a fishing business and soon are the richest people in Collinsport. As a young man, Barnabas (Depp) woos a servant girl, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), but refuses to marry her. Ticked, she uses her witchcraft powers to cause the death of his beloved fiancée, turn him into a vampire and have the townspeople bury him alive. Almost 200 years later, a construction crew inadvertently unearths the coffin and Barnabas now must face life in 1972.
The scenes where Depp comes face to face with modern society are the best in the film and set up most of the comedic events that will cause a giggle or two. Barnabas eventually finds his ancestral home and discovers the curse is alive and well.
Johnny Depp was entertaining as Barnabas Collins but often displayed the gestures which made me think of Captain Jack Sparrow with make-up rather than an entirely new character. The rest of the cast is doing decently, from my point of view the only outstanding performance is delivered by Jackie Earle Haley, though. The romance between Barnabas and Victoria seemed lacking and forced. I saw no reason for it except for someone to save during the end of the movie. Again, I am guessing there are far too many characters, too little screen time for each of them, too little time to evolve and make them appear alive. As we know the Avengers played this up well. Equal screen time.
I will give it a 2/5, but with that said I don’t want you to think it was a terrible film. If your a fan of Tim Burton or Depp then by all means go see it. I think I would have been more disappointed if I knew the full history of the old TV show and what was missing in the film.