|It is a thing...that's not good||1 out of 3 users found this review helpful.|
Dark Shadows seemed more preoccupied with simply being Dark Shadows, than being a good movie. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp in the lead up talked up their love for their love for the original soap opera, and that loves shows, but to someone with little prior knowledge to the show it seemed like a long series of nods with nothing else.
Dark Shadows follows the trials of the cursed Collins family. We see the family came to prominence in the New World, having their town named after them,Collinsport. It doesn't hide its soap opera beginnings by showing a scorned lover, Angelique(Eva Green) curse the Collins leaving head Collin, Barnabas(Johnny Depp), a vampire in the vein of Nosferatu and classic Dracula. Jumping 196 years into the future Barnabas is unearthed and is now unleashed on 1972 America.
The Collins have had a lot of bad luck since Barnabas pissed of Angelique. The once rich family is now poor with nary a ship to their name. You have Elizabeth Collins(Michelle Pfeiffer) and her teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard(Chloë Grace Moretz), Elizabeth's brother Roger Collins(Jonny Lee Miller) and his young son David Collins(Gulliver McGrath). Rounding out the staff you have groundskeeper Willie(Jackie Earle Haley),live in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman(Helena Bonham Carter), and newly hired governess Victoria Winters(Bella Heathcote).
This is an overall solid cast to work with and they do a overall good job. They are just all too busy being weird, on different frequencies, for any of it to gel together into something resembling chemistry. Depp is actually subdued as the tortured vampire Barnabas. Jonny Lee Miller roams in and out of scenes like a kleptomaniac. Moretz is there because they need a werewolf. Bella Heathcote is just there to act as a love interest for Depp. Michelle Pfeiffer is in full on matriarch mode. The real standout is Eva Green who chews scenery as Angelique clearly aware of the high drama surroundings.
These characters are just there, little is done to give context for their actions, they simply do things. You have Barnabus trying to rebuild the family glory for the majority of the film. Something weird is going on with Victoria Winters. Carolyn likes to listen to music and probably smoke pot. I was constantly waiting for Elizabeth Collins to pull a double cross. Dr. Hoffman wonders around drunk. And it turns out brother Roger is a bit of a kleptomaniac. It seemed like either there is a good chunk of the movie edited out or that the writers simply wanted to pull some of their favorite moments from the show and jumble it all together into some sorta story.
This is confounded by how dead this movie feels at times. Most of the time scenes revolve around actors talking at or in the general direction of each other in long slow drawn out sentences. If Twilight is three people trying to impersonate Keanu Reeves than this was everyone doing their best Shatner. Given the source materials I can understand the homage but viewers were at least treated to commercials every now and again, breaking up the monotony of it all and not dead scene after scene.
There is some good aspects to Dark Shadows. For the most part the comedy works. It isn’t anything spectacular but playing up the fish out of water aspect of Barnabas was some of the more enjoyable moments. The sets and general scenery are also quite nice to look at.
The bad far outweighs any good this movie does though. Maybe if you have seen the show it is based on you will understand more. It comes off though as the bunch of random things from the show thrown together with little thought on making it all mesh.
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