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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 is wild, goofy, and colorful but it kinda feels like an asthma crisis.

  • Sep 5, 2012
Rating:
+2

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 Burton films usually have a really well developed emotional core. Here he probably wanted to pay an expensive, comical, and glossy homage to the more classic TV show but he didn't manage to give the film it's own identity, it's own soul. Sure it looks fantastic but that's a really slutty compliment you can give Burton considering that he's a master of that and we're already used with his rich vision of the fantastic.


I admire Burton because I respect his guts and his obvious love for film. He's passionate, he's paying a lot of attention to details, and usually he delivers great films on their own. He has his misses like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice In Wonderland but you can't deny this guy's incredible taste for the mythical and the surreal. He's like the Mad Hatter of cinema. He does nothing short than record dreams on film.



Walking into Dark Shadows with high expectations was a bit disappointing not because the movie ended up being bad but because the movie failed to be a great Tim Burton film. If this film was directed by someone else it would have been probably praised for it's design and considered a decent tribute to a classic TV show. However, since we have to deal with the fact that this is a Tim Burton film, we also have to deal with the fact that we're expecting something a bit more different even if executed by the same recipe. 

This is probably one of Burton's most lazy story executions and is not a great follow-up to Alice in Wonderland. Not only did he missed the soul in this film, he missed a great amount of the expected dark humor, he missed avoiding making the gothic cliches so obvious, he missed the excitement button, and on top of that he also missed a huge portion of the character development. The one character we should root for, Barnabas Collins, played in a goofy, spooky, but already tiresome manner by Johnny Depp, is not at all that accessible and pleasant. All the other characters are far more interesting than him. There's no awesomeness in his own senile and campy behavior. I found myself enjoying a lot more characters like the drunk and sleepy Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley), the stuck-up Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) or the distressed, bored, and impatient doctor Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), and even Barnabas' nemesis, Angelique Bouchard, played in a very erotic but manly way by Eva Green. Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloe Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard are the most forgettable characters in the film not only because of their irrelevant and unimportant actions, but also because of the less cartoonish approach. The contrast between these characters is way too broken and dispersed.



The concept behind this story of this cursed man to be a vampire, getting lost in time, and fighting love, adapting to new a new world and new situations is much bigger and interesting than it is presented here. We have a typical, really sketchy and kitschy "from A to B" way of storytelling. And it is wrong because it becomes not only predictable but stale and bland. Visual luxury is not a luxury in a Burton film anymore. We need much more than that. We need Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd or something completely different but don't treat your audience with the typical. The typical annoys us, frustrates us, and forces us to sigh instead of cheer. 



The soundtrack is really great and matches a lot of the scenes and the aura of the '70s. It's one one of the things that I completely enjoyed in this film. Also the score provided by Danny Elfman, though not a standout, really subtle and well orchestrated. Burton does a pretty good job at this, making the transition from the gothic, old, rusty world to the fresh, modern, and hippy period of the '70s. The cinematography, the lightning, the set-design, the costume-design, the make-up, and everything else is top notch but that doesn't really count for a great experience. It's the heart and the bold attitude of a filmmaker that makes his film entertaining at a high value and today wasn't the best day for Burton. 

Story: 6.0
Acting: 7.5
Technical Execution: 9.1
Replay Value: 6.0
====================
OVERALL: 7.3
he soundtrack is really great and matches a lot of the scenes and the aura of the '70s. It's one one of the things that I completely enjoyed in this film. Also the score provided by Danny Elfman, though not a standout, really subtle and well orchestrated. Burton does a pretty good job at this, making the transition from the gothic, old, rusty world to the fresh, modern, and hippy period of the '70s. The cinematography, the lightning, the set-design, the costume-design, the make-up, and everything else is top notch but that doesn't really count for a great experience. It's the heart and the bold attitude of a filmmaker that makes his film entertaining at a high value and today wasn't the best day for Burton. 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 Burton films usually have a really well developed emotional core. Here he probably wanted to pay an expensive, comical, and glossy homage to the more classic TV show but he didn't manage to give the film it's own identity, it's own soul. Sure it looks fantastic but that's a really slutty compliment you can give Burton considering that he's a master of that and we're already used with his rich vision of the fantastic.
 
I admire Burton because I respect his guts and his obvious love for film. He's passionate, he's paying a lot of attention to details, and usually he delivers great films on their own. He has his misses like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice In Wonderland but you can't deny this guy's incredible taste for the mythical and the surreal. He's like the Mad Hatter of cinema. He does nothing short than record dreams on film.
 
Walking into Dark Shadows with high expectations was a bit disappointing not because the movie ended up being bad but because the movie failed to be a great Tim Burton film. If this film was directed by someone else it would have been probably praised for it's design and considered a decent tribute to a classic TV show. However, since we have to deal with the fact that this is a Tim Burton film, we also have to deal with the fact that we're expecting something a bit more different even if executed by the same recipe. 
 
This is probably one of Burton's most lazy story executions and is not a great follow-up to Alice in Wonderland. Not only did he missed the soul in this film, he missed a great amount of the expected dark humor, he missed avoiding making the gothic cliches so obvious, he missed the excitement button, and on top of that he also missed a huge portion of the character development. The one character we should root for, Barnabas Collins, played in a goofy, spooky, but already tiresome manner by Johnny Depp, is not at all that accessible and pleasant. All the other characters are far more interesting than him. There's no awesomeness in his own senile and campy behavior. I found myself enjoying a lot more characters like the drunk and sleepy Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley), the stuck-up Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) or the distressed, bored, and impatient doctor Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), and even Barnabas' nemesis, Angelique Bouchard, played in a very erotic but manly way by Eva Green. Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloe Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard are the most forgettable characters in the film not only because of their irrelevant and unimportant actions, but also because of the less cartoonish approach. The contrast between these characters is way too broken and dispersed. 
 
The concept behind this story of this cursed man to be a vampire, getting lost in time, and fighting love, adapting to new a new world and new situations is much bigger and interesting than it is presented here. We have a typical, really sketchy and kitschy "from A to B" way of storytelling. And it is wrong because it becomes not only predictable but stale and bland. Visual luxury is not a luxury in a Burton film anymore. We need much more than that. We need Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd or something completely different but don't treat your audience with the typical. The typical annoys us, frustrates us, and forces us to sigh instead of cheer.  
 
The soundtrack is really great and matches a lot of the scenes and the aura of the '70s. It's one one of the things that I completely enjoyed in this film. Also the score provided by Danny Elfman, though not a standout, really subtle and well orchestrated. Burton does a pretty good job at this, making the transition from the gothic, old, rusty world to the fresh, modern, and hippy period of the '70s. The cinematography, the lightning, the set-design, the costume-design, the make-up, and everything else is top notch but that doesn't really count for a great experience. It's the heart and the bold attitude of a filmmaker that makes his film entertaining at a high value and today wasn't the best day for Burton. 

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September 26, 2012
Eva Green is hot. :) I liked this one because it felt like a fresh take on the character, but I see your points.
 
September 11, 2012
Nice review. Sorry you didn't like it more.
 
1
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 . 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
Semi-Dark
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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Wiki

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]:
dark-shadows-set-photo-johnny-depp
dark-shadows-set-photo-johnny-depp-2
dark-shadows-set-photo-johnny-depp-1
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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