Newest Review: ... for nearly two hundred years ... So surely this should be hilarious, right? Wrong. I don't even really know what genre this is suppose... more
Burton should have left Barnabas chained, locked and buried.
Dark Shadows (DVD)
Member Name: Kat1987
Dark Shadows (DVD)
Advantages: Make-up, set, costumes are very Burton-esque and enjoyable.
Disadvantages: Plot holes, assumptions, lacks storyline, a little boring.
Released: 2012, Run time: 113 minutes, Genre: Comedy, Fantasy.
Film only review.
Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is a wealthy, charismatic gentleman and heir to the Collins estate. He has an eye for the ladies and one lady in particular, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) but fickle in nature Barnabas moves onto a new love and discards Angelique. As the saying goes 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' and Angelique is no exception. She uses her supernatural gifts to turn Barnabas into a vampire and dooms him to a fate worse than death but her revenge is not over there. She imprisons him in a coffin and buries him deep underground. For two centuries Barnabas remains underground until an accidental discovery frees him from his tomb. He awakens in 1972 to discover a whole new world, a world with neon lights, interesting terrain and 'tiny songstresses' imprisoned in television sets. But more important than that in this new world the Collins empire has been destroyed and the family name sullied and the new top dog in town is none other than his jilted lover, Angelique.
Will Barnabas ever be able to restore his family's name and fortune, will Angelique ever gain her true love and hearts desire and what will happen to the man who is doomed to wander the earth forever?
I love Tim Burton. I love Helena Bonham Carter and I adore Johnny Depp. I loved Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick Ass, Eva Green was outstanding in Channel 4's Camelot and Jonny Lee Miller blew my socks off in his recent appearance in Dexter and so, based on the impressive cast list, this film should have been a show stopper...but it wasn't. It was, dare I say it, boring and massively underdeveloped.
The film is a typical Burton/Carter/Depp offering, something which I usually love. A general subject matter, re-imagined and given a healthy dose of 'gothic glamour'. Burton has done a great job with costumes, make up and set design. This film visually competes well with other Burton films but it all falls apart when it comes to the script. Burton/ Carter/ Depp collaborations are not typically famed for their outstanding, deep, moving storylines but this film was noticeably lacking in story. The general storyline of the cursed family, unrequited love, witches, ghosts and ghouls is palatable but the external storylines are confusing and underdeveloped. I grasped that David (Gulliver McGrath) is 'mad' but I am not certain I know why, Victoria (Bella Heathcote) sees ghosts but again, I'm not sure I understand why. And just what is Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) problem? The film seems to assume that you understand the family dynamics and makes no real effort to explain them. If you've seen the 70's T.V show that this film is based on then you may understand but I am assuming that most people haven't and this is where the film leaves you hanging. Without the added dimension of the other storylines this film is essentially a 'cat and mouse chase' between Eva Green's character and Johnny Depp's.
Even the stellar cast couldn't resurrect this film with the stand out performances going to the lesser know actors such as Bella Heathcote (Victoria) and Gulliver McGrath (David). I found Chloe Grace Moretz performance as Carolyn particularly irritating and Michelle Pfeiffer's performance as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard was very bland and could have been played by anyone. It seems that Burton was keen to develop the Dark Shadows television series into something more but he was reluctant to let go of the 70's. I am not sure if this film was designed to be a homage or a parody of the stiff, obvious acting of the 70's. The acting felt very obvious and over the top. I think this was intentional as we all know that Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter can put in believable, realistic performances but if this film was your first encounter with them you might think that they couldn't. There were some funny moments, this is after all billed as a comedy but they are more of a quiet titter than a laugh out loud. The mix of 200 year old vampire meeting modern day culture generated most of the laughs, even if they were few and far between. I am not sure if anyone found the 'sex scene' between Depp and Green comedic. I found it confusing, weird and wildly unnecessary.
Overall, this film was a bit bland, it was a digestive biscuit rather than the luxurious rich chocolate cake that I have come to expect from Tim Burton and Co. I think resurrecting the Dark Shadows venture was a dream of Burtons and I think this film was a self indulgent 'blip' in the Burton/Carter/Depp enterprise and I hope that their next collaboration will see them back on form. It wasn't a truly horrendous film and it if it didn't have such a high ranking cast and top notch director I would have expected less so may have judged it on a different scale but it didn't so I haven't. The overall consensus being that I expected more. More storyline, better acting and a film in it's own right rather than a 'spin off' from a long dead television show.
Summary: Left me as cold as a 200 year old vampire.