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Dark Shadows

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

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Tim Burton Brings Barnabas Collins in the Swinging, Hip 70's....

  • May 12, 2012
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 mixed feelings about his re-interpretation of “Batman” and disliked his “Planet of the Apes”. Burton always had a resume that was mixed with me. However, when he is in his element, it cannot be denied that he comes out with something clever and creative most of the time.

                  Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, Chloe Grace Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, Gulliver Mcgrath as David Collins, Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson, Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis, Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins and Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in "Dark Shadows."

In 1760, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) grew up to be a young aristocrat after his parents had built a fishing empire in a town which is now called “Collinfort”. Barnabas becomes the master of the Collins estate and as such he unintentionally broke the heart of a woman called Angelique (played by stunning Eva Green) who turns out to be a witch. Angered, Angelique causes the family a lot of grief and suffering, and causes Barnabas to lose the woman he loved (Bella Heathcote) before she finally curses him to become a vampire. Fast forward 198 years into the hip 1972, Barnabas is accidentally freed from his prison and finds that his once treasured manor is in near shambles and his descendants led by Elizabeth (beauteous Michelle Pfeiffer) are in near disarray. Barnabas must teach his family what it means to be a Collins and redeem the family name. But Angelique stands firm to defy him, as her obsession with Barnabas drives her to vengeance and perhaps win him back….

                Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in "Dark Shadows."

               Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in "Dark Shadows."

“Dark Shadows” is a gothic comedy horror film that is based on a script by Seth Grahame Smith which seeks to re-interpret the gothic soap opera for more modern viewers. It is to be expected that purists of the beloved vampire soap opera may be turned off, since why do directors always seem to ‘modernize’ such a number of iconic series into what passes these days for comedy? Myself, my memory of the original series is fuzzy since I’ve seen it many years ago. Burton does try to do whatever he can to include as many characters from the series as he could, which then subjects the film to certain limitations to keep its footing. The direction is pretty credible and Burton does not lose a step in keeping the flow of the film dark, moody and impishly funny. Yes, despite the limitations of the script, Burton and the cast did manage to pull off an entertaining film.

To like 2012’s “Dark Shadows”, one may need to forget about the intricacies of the original series or what had been established before. Admittedly, the film is your standard dark fantasy about family curses, vampires, ghosts and werewolves, with some commentary about how human society changes with the way it sees the world and how immortality can be so seductive. This film is more about a man out of place and out of time. Barnabas may indeed represent the nobility and tragedy of the past and how one can work pass those things to find peace in a new time. Burton does touch on themes that is about ‘looking forward’ and forgetting what had transpired. It does not go too deep into the core of its plot and several things in the script may appear underdeveloped. There are a lot of characters in the film, and Burton tries to touch on as many of them as possible. However, it feels that he had barely scratched its surface, and despite his directorial skills, there were several things that I would’ve wished to have been more fleshed out and some scenes felt more of a montage than an opportunity for drama. Perhaps there will be a sequel that any complaints may be answered?

                       Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins in "Dark Shadows."

                       Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard in "Dark Shadows."

                      Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins and Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman in "Dark Shadows."

To keep up the film’s pace and momentum Burton employs wit, clever macabre humor and charm to keep his viewers entertained and distracted. Burton instead focuses on the chemistry between Barnabas and Angelique which was the right thing to do. Depp and Evan Green (her scene in that red dress is worth the price of admission) form a certain chemistry that is sexy, erotic and devilishly alluring that it was hard to keep my eyes away from them. It was the “Rip Van Winkle” persona who meets someone familiar and this person is the one thing that ruined his life. The main supporting characters Elizabeth and Dr. Huffman (played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter respectively) does offer dimensions to the development of the Barnabas character. I do have to admit that I wasn’t totally convinced how the spark between Barnabas and Victoria took place, it felt a little too convenient for my tastes. The rest of the cast did feel like they were having fun with their roles; Chloe Grace Moretz (plays Carolyn), Jackie Earley Haley (plays Willie Loomis) and Gulliver McGrath (as David) had their moments to shine despite the limited screen time.

The set designs, make up, visual effects and costumes were all exemplary. The atmosphere and the camera work were impressive in delivering a gothic horror. Burton never lost a step in the way the film was made, as he even remembered to use muted colors and near sepia-like tones to express the mood and contrast between each scene. Shadows are used in a manner that fit its tempo and there is just something so handsome in the way Burton manages each sequence. It is a film very easy to enjoy, despite its flaws and lack of ambition with the script.

                         Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters in "Dark Shadows."

                         Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard in "Dark Shadows."

2012’s “Dark Shadows” is not a film to write home about, but it is a competent adaptation of the soap opera if a little too different to its purists. Johnny Depp is a magnificent and versatile actor that he commanded the screen as Barnabas Collins. The acting and the flow of the direction was enough to cover up the rough spots in its script. It feels more like a gothic horror fable driven by the performances and clever interactions. No, it may not be the “Dark Shadows” that we hoped for, but Burton did a good job in giving his audience entertainment.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Dark Shadows." Poster art for "Dark Shadows."
Tim Burton Brings Barnabas Collins in the Swinging, Hip 70's.... Tim Burton Brings Barnabas Collins in the Swinging, Hip 70's....

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May 16, 2012
Good review. And I agree with you...Of course John doesn't. It certainly is miles better than 'Battleship'. One of the worst films of 2012...Maybe THE worst.
May 15, 2012
I don't know if I'll go to the theaters to see this one, but I may give it a rental once the DVDs and Blu-rays hit the shelves at the nearest Family Video. Great review, William!!
May 14, 2012
William as I trust your reviews the most, I think I will like this film too! When I can get to the movies, this is one I want to see.
May 15, 2012
I think you will like this as long as you keep an open mind. It is a refreshing take to the original premise, though admittedly it wasn't as ambitious as I would've wanted it to be.
May 13, 2012
I will be seeing this for Helena of course, Love her. Great review good Sir.
May 13, 2012
Helena is mine--mine! But ok, I can have Eva Green since you are so insistent in having her LMFAO!
May 14, 2012
She's brilliant. I doubt anyone who saw her in "A Room with a View" could have predicted she'd be in "Fight Club."
May 13, 2012
Great review!! I love the way you focused on the good points as well as the things you did not like; some reviews have only focused on the bad. I know I'll enjoy this - my man Depp inn a wonderful gothic atmosphere - what could be better for me??!! Thanks Will.....
May 13, 2012
Thanks, Brenda! The plot of the film felt a little too standard, but the direction, set designs and the acting saved it for me. It also helped that the dialogue had its own share of clever charm about it. Not a great movie, but certainly watchable and enjoyable. I loved Eva Green in this....
May 13, 2012
I bet you did....red dresses are sexy for sure LOL and the one she's wearing is awesome!!
More Dark Shadows (2012 Film) reviews
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
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 …
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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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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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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