Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, two of the most fascinating people in the film industry, have yet again joined forces to bring a dark tale filled with his trademark achromatic actors spawned from his esoteric mind.
Dark Shadows, based on a cult classic 60’s soap opera of the same name, is a film that Depp asked Burton to make because of his affinity for vampires dating back to his childhood. Must be nice to have that kind of influence.
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Depp plays Barnabas Collins, the only son of an 18th-century millionaire in Maine who, with his eggshell skin tone and quirky disposition, resembles most of the characters he’s played in Tim Burton’s films. Collins is in the romantic crosshairs of one Angelique (played by EvaGreen) who has longed for Barnabas since childhood. Unfortunately, she discovers that the feeling is not mutual and places a curse on him, turning Barnabas into a vampire. As if that is not bad enough, she buries him alive in a coffin for two hundred years for good measure.
Once Barnabas is finally freed, he awakes in 1972 to find that his family’s prized mansion is now home to what we are to assume are distant cousins or relatives; Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), the rebellious teenager Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), the up to no good uncle Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), the somewhat creepy kid David (Gulliver McGrath), the comic relief of the home’s caretaker Willie (Jackie Earle Haley), and the grace of Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) who’s job is to treat David.
Barnabas makes it his mission to bring the family back to prominence in a city they founded, but he discovers Angelique has destroyed his family’s fishing business. Things begin deteriorate at a rapid pace when he discovers that David’s nanny, Victoria (played by Bella Heathcote), is the undead version of the woman he fell in love with in 1760 before his 200 year dirt nap.
Watch the trailer for Dark Shadows…
In terms of this being a remake of a TV soap with over 1200 episodes that has been crunched into a two- hour film makes it a solid, fast ball down the middle film. Dark Shadows is not the best film that Burton and Depp have collaborated on but it most certainly isn’t the worse. Movie goers won’t be overly thrilled but they won’t be disappointed either. While the acting is top notch, the mix of veteran cast members and new comers works great, the comedy is about a B+.
Tim Burton fans will be satisfied while older fans of the Dark Shadows series will probably enjoy this film a lot. For those of us born after 1972, your love for actors like Depp, Carter, and Michelle Pfeiffer will get butts in seats.
All in all, Dark Shadows is just a solid film. Nothing more and nothing less. I wasn’t blown away but I wasn’t disappointed. My love of creative visionaries like the Burton Depp tandem will have me always buying whatever they’re selling.
Dark Shadows is in theaters everywhere today.
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