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Dark Shadows

A 2012 movie directed by Tim Burton based on the supernatural soap opera

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Dark Shadows

  • May 10, 2012

Remember when Tim Burton had some indie cred, and his emo movies were something new that brought credibility and something different to the movies.  Remember seeing his remake of Planet of the Apes, how he had them wear those stupid hats, just how upset you got seeing it, and wishing things could go back to the way they were.  It hasn't.  You would think a movie based on a sixties vampire soap opera would be right up his alley.  And maybe it was.  And Burton just had so many ideas for his new movie; he couldn't bear cutting any of them out.  That is probably what happened to Tim Burton's most recent passion project. Dark Shadows suffers under the weight of having too many ideas with no idea how to bring them together.

This is the eighth time Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have teamed up and by now there really is nothing left the duo can do to surprise their audience.  Burton goes for a Gothic look while trying to provide a balance of horror and comedy; while Depp rocks a ridiculous wardrobe and a funny accent.  Nothing we haven't seen these two try before.  And just as predictable is Burton shifting his tone as often as he changes his scenes.

No doubt feeling the need to pay homage to the series, Burton tries to include too much with his story and doesn't give enough attention to any of his many subplots.  He does fine with the first act of the movie, and setting up the story.  Even once we get to 1972 the movie has some solid jokes delivered by Depp who always does so well as the fish out of water.  To no surprise Depp was the one of the few bright spots of the movie, and did very well in the roll, but nothing we hadn't seen countless times before.  The movie gets lost in itself once we meet the rest of the family.

While it looks like a large cast really there are only two players in this production.  Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and his immortal rival the witch, Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green.  Their lust/hate relationship is the main plot line throughout the movie and the only one given any real attention.  Both characters are fully realized and play well off each other.  The only other character that possesses any semblance of depth is Michelle Pfeiffer's matriarchal, Elizabeth Stollard Collins.  All the other characters seem thrown into the mix just to honor the source material of the sixties soap opera.  It wouldn't surprise me if Alice Cooper in a brief cameo had more lines than the rest of the family including a completely underused Chloe Moretz and Jonny Lee Miller who probably should have just been written out of the story entirely to better develop the young son played by Gulliver McGrath.  Even Burton's muse Helena Bonham Carter couldn't gather any real screen time as she would appear briefly as the live-in psychologist and then be completely forgotten about for chunks as a time.

Not only that, but the movie flip flops from comedy to horror at the drop of a hat.  Becoming lighthearted and cheery underscored by some classic hits from the early seventies and then almost immediately shifting gears to murder and death.  While the Burton look to the movie helps reflect whatever mood the audience should feel he shifts too many times, and doesn't do great with either the comedy or the horror.

The movie really loses its momentum by introducing too many characters with too many story lines.  Burton seemed to have a very distinct idea of how he wanted the movie to begin and end but no real road map on how to get there.  By the end of the movie you could almost see Burton throwing his hands in the air and just tossing in ideas that he meant to build towards but never actually mentioned.  And just as I'm sure the production crew was getting frustrated with their ending, the audience did as well, with people in the screening walking out at the end already knowing how the movie was going to end but not caring to see it themselves.  D

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May 15, 2012
That most recent among Burton's best (Sleepy Hollow) is thirteen years astern, but I actually paid to view the nadir of his precipitous aughts decline - an abysmal Alice in Wonderland. I've only gratitude for your warning, but decided two years ago to never attend another screening of his output.
May 15, 2012
Sounds like you liked it a little bit more than the negative rating. I was a little bit bored with the constant retelling of the Barnabas story and thought this film might be a fun fresh take.
More Dark Shadows (2012 Film) reviews
review by . May 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Tim Burton Brings Barnabas Collins in the Swinging, Hip 70's....
When I first heard that Tim Burton was making a film based on the vampire soap opera of the same name “Dark Shadows“, I have to admit I really didn’t know what to think. Burton is great in making his own material but I have always had mixed feelings when it comes to him re-interpreting other people’s works. I loved “Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands”. I even liked “Cabin Boy” but I had …
review by . May 26, 2012
posted in Dark Shadows
I'm an old school Dark Shadows fan who used to run home from school like everyone else, saw both of the original films when they came out, protested at NBC when the 1991 series was cancellled and have attended several of the conventions. Given all that I really enjoyed this film that injected comedy and changed the Barnabas Collins tale.     This one left off the time travel and had Barnabas freed from his coffin into a present where Collinwood is in ruins and the family is far …
review by . May 13, 2012
posted in Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows (2012) is destined to split the audience into two camps.      Camp A will love this movie because they are fans of the Burton/Depp team. In their eyes, B/D can do no wrong, because the source material is immaterial. They go in expecting only to be entertained by a certain kind of shtick...and in this particular case, they received it in spades, and therefore went home from the theater quite pleased from having their expectations met.      Camp …
review by . May 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****    "Dark Shadows" does well to give us just about everything we've come to expect from a director-and-star collaboration between the highly imaginative Tim Burton and the illusive character actor Johnny Depp. There's a heart and it's always beating; illuminated by Burton's colorful, visionary sets and camerawork. The man knows what he wants, what we want, and what the studio wants in return. He's out to please. Sometimes, this is a problem, and other times, …
review by . September 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   There's no miracle that Tim Burton knows how to create dark cartoonish worlds in which wild colors and vivid characters battle for the enchanted ground of these fantastic universes. Dark Shadows is wild, goofy, and colorful but it kinda feels like an asthma crisis. You know you have this urgency and impatience to watch the next Tim Burton film but even as a fan of him it does nothing in the end but providing you sudden gasps time after time. It's an interesting thing because …
review by . May 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A Visually Beautiful Gothic-Like And Delightful Film
      Tim Burton and Johnny Depp come together again in this wonderfully delightful film.  Depp proves again that he is capable of successfully portraying any type of character - his talent seems to reach out to the viewer in a huge way - every role he has played he always manages to convince me he really is the character he's playing; it's almost hypnotic, and his role as Barnabas Collins was no exception.      The film starts out as Collins …
review by . May 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         In a 2007 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johnny Depp proudly stated that, as he grew up watching Dark Shadows, he wanted to be the vampire Barnabas Collins. “I think lots of kids did,” he said. “He was super-mysterious, with that really weird hairdo and the wolf’s-head cane. Good stuff.” Depp is now luckier than ever to be dear friends with Tim Burton; apart from the fact that he helmed this year’s film …
review by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'Dark Shadows' 'Two Jews On Film' Show Their Teeth Over Johnny Depp's Campy Performance (Video)
      By Joan Alperin Schwartz      For those of you, like myself, who aren't familiar with the television series 'Dark Shadows' which ran from 1966-1971, here are the film's cliff notes...   The year...1750 (give or take)      A wealthy young man named Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) gets it on with his maid, Angelique (Eva Green) who just happens to be a witch...She feels the love...He...not so …
review by . May 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
DARK SHADOWS Written by Seth Grahame-Smith Directed by Tim Burton Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green   Barnabas Collins: Of all the servants I could have spurned, I got the witch.   The original soap opera television series, DARK SHADOWS, is before my time, I’m afraid. I’ve never seen the show but from what I understand, it was a bizarre endeavor that, about six months into its roughly 5-year and 1225 episode run, introduced ghosts and other supernatural …
Quick Tip by . October 10, 2012
Forgettable enough take on the TV soap opera about a business magnate turned Vampire by a jilted lover and locked away, re-awakening 200 years later in the 70's. Enjoyable enough for what it is, but few laughs and the familiar trappings of the pairings of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and HBC have wore out they're welcome.
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About this movie


The first photos from the set of TimBurton’s Dark Shadows adaptation have surfaced online and they reveal Johnny Depp looking about as creepy as you would expect him to look in a Burton film. In case you’re unaware, Dark Shadows sees Depp making a turn as Barnabas Collins, a powerful playboy who is buried alive in the 18th century only to reemerge in 1972 as a vampire who is none too pleased with the ruin of his once fine piece of real estate.
Check out the set photos and an official synopsis after the jump. Also starring Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, EvaGreen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Lee and Jackie Earle Haley, Dark Shadows is slated to hittheaters on May 11th, 2012.
Click over to Celebuzz to check out more Dark Shadows set pics [click to enlarge]:
Here’s the official film synopsis:
In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him ...
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