Dark Shadows Has Problems

Categories: Film

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Naturally, Tim Burton has brought an extremely vivid look to his adaptation of Dark Shadows, based on the '70s soap opera about a vampire who's only marginally weirder than the people around him.

The film also has a terrific soundtrack featuring period pieces by T. Rex, the Carpenters, and other odd throwbacks.

But it's tonally uneven, going from a soulfully beautiful beginning that sets up Barnabas Collins' plight, then thrusting us into sitcom-like fish-out-of-water antics, then wanting us to care about Angelique (Eva Green) coming back in full witchy mode and going up against Barnabas for one more conflict.

There are strong bits here and there, but also boring stretches and some head scratching moments.

Johnny Depp has the Barnabas bangs, but mainly registers as a floating blank who emits arch, self-consciously cute things (about "birthing hips" for example), then floats somewhere else.

The original show never tried to be cute.

Angelique is sometimes called Angie, and she even looks like Angelina Jolie at times.

Is this Depp's revenge on The Tourist?

Maybe--but it might also be Burton's retaliation.

After all, Angelique seems to be styled to look even more like Tim's ex, Lisa Marie!

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19 comments
Movielover
Movielover

Thanks for the tip, but it's a bummer!  I was hoping it would be good - liked the original.  The more recent remake of the series was somewhat good too, especially the Hammer Film look of it with a lot of periwinkle moisture everywhere.

JosephAlslop
JosephAlslop

It should never have been remade. Hollywood SUX!

exackerly
exackerly

I'm trying hard to think of a Tim Burton movie that didn't bore me to tears. I guess Ed Wood was the last one, but only when Martin Landau was onscreen.

Marva
Marva

I meant "Sure enough,..."

Marva
Marva

Sure, enough Avengers' second week is creaming Dark Shadows' first week. A shame this had to happen.

Tampontammy
Tampontammy

I will say that I like this (when I see it) because of my love for Dark Shadows but I knew the minute Tim Burton had hold of it that it was going to be a stinker.

Melinda9
Melinda9

Someone commented somewhere - maybe on this blog, sorry I forgot who - that it would be hard to do this movie straight since there's an overload of vampire films already. Of course the logical choice would be not to make a Dark Shadows film. I'm still going to see it but won't expect much.

CMG
CMG

I wish they played this more straight up following the tone of the show.  Seth Grahame-Smith and his script just HAD to twist it into what has become the usual Depp-Burton fare.  

Rogie
Rogie

Mars Attacks! Everyone hated it, saying it tried to rip off Independence Day. Watch them side by side now - it's Mars Attacks that's superior. Not that I didn't notice then, but it aged really well.

Ick
Ick

Maybe, but Alice made hundreds of millions and won Oscars, so maybe not.

anonTWO
anonTWO

Tim Burton fan here, his work has fallen off.The last GOOD Tim Burton film I have seen was the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.BeetleJuice is one of my favorite films of all time.

Jay Schiavone
Jay Schiavone

Shock-a-roonie!  Did no one see Alice in Wonderland? Me neither. I hasten to add that this was not a simple assignment. The soap has a weighty legacy, and a narrow (read: special) appeal. The producers of that franchise made a sharp turn when they decided to make a movie version of the show. I happen to really, really like House of Dark Shadows, but "tonally" it was a world away from the series. Back in the day, Jonathan Frid (who, it seems, died just in time) did a voice-over for a promo for the show in which he referred to the content as "gothic." If only he had known what that word would come to suggest.The guys who enjoyed producing Edward Scissorhands simply couldn't constrain themselves to an arcane notion of "gothic," nor would they go for straight horror as in the earlier film version. You put together Depp and Burton and you get what you get. Does no one remember Sweeney Todd? Me neither.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

A shame! It had so much promise! But when I saw the trailer, I knew they messed this one up.

Bangabang
Bangabang

Thank u for telling the truth.

Movielover
Movielover

Bettlejuice was really good!  It's underrated. 

Timmee
Timmee

Agreed Sweeney is uneven, but it's still the best Sondheim film adaptation ever done. Funny Thing is head ache-inducing, and let's not mention Little Night out of respect for the dead.

Starkers
Starkers

It was better than Dark Shadows. And putting the wife in everything is getting tiresome.

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