Monday, May 14, 2012

Dark Shadows - Movie Review

Its become pretty standard for Tim Burton to make a highly stylized film featuring dark and mysterious characters played by the likes of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter so there should be a certain comfort level for audiences when viewing "Dark Shadows". I expected it to be quirky, dark, humorous, and a little off and for the most part that's about what I got, although more of one than I was actually hoping for.

Barnabas Collins (Depp)  is the son of wealthy English parents who have settled in America during the late 1700's. The Collins family has built an empire through their fishing business to the point where the town they originally settled in has been named after them. Angelique (Eva Green) is a former lover who will do anything within her power that will help her to reclaim him as her own.

Angelique is, of course, a witch so curses and spells are how she looks to achieve this goal and goes so far as to turn Barnabas in to a vampire, but after continuing to refuse her advances, she locks him in a coffin and buries him as what she hopes will be an eternal punishment.

Nearly 200 years later, a construction crew unearths his coffin and frees him from his would be fate. Realizing he is now in the early 1970's, he must adapt to the times while reclaiming his family's previous glory and putting an end to Angelique and her evil ways.

Throughout the movie's quirky, dark, and humorous ways, I couldn't help but feel that something was just off with this movie.

Jokes weren't as funny as they were intended to be, the action wasn't as exciting as it could have been, and the overly persistent way that Burton throws innuendo and, at times, blatant sexuality at the audience was mostly just awkward and more laughable than anything else.

Fortunately for the movie, Eva Green's over the top yet fun filled take on Angelique is by far the best performance within what is otherwise a surprisingly bland effort out of the star studded cast. The still young but very talented Chloƫ Grace Moretz also keeps proving that she knows what to do in front of the camera as she gives more life to her character, Carolyn Stoddard, than anyone else outside of Ms. Green.

Ultimately, "Dark Shadows" comes off as a failed attempt by Burton and Depp to once again grab audiences and hypnotize them in to enjoying another one of their strange adventures. The audience I was with seemed to be laughing more at the movie than with it and never seemed to be invested in the story or the characters as much as I had hoped it would be given all of the talent involved.

If you are looking for a movie that is mildly entertaining and kind of funny with decent acting and a story that doesn't seem to know what its trying to do half the time, then I would highly recommend seeing this movie.

I imagine fans of Johnny Depp will be lining up to see him and he does have some great moments but, just like the rest of the movie, he seems to just be a little off compared to what we normally expect.


  1. Definitely has its moments of fun, but they all start to go away by the last act when the tone shifts from goofy comedy to campy melodrama and takes all of the steam out of its story. Very lazy direction by Burton but definitely not terrible. Good review Marc.

  2. Thanks, Dan! There were definitely bits and pieces of the movie that were entertaining, but overall it just didn't work for me. I do agree with your assessment of the third act.


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