I have no idea why there is such a big obsession with vampire movies these days. Regardless Tim Burton’s latest creation Dark Shadows has joined the ranks of the vampire films and it has big shoes to fill from the popular ABC soap opera from 50 years ago. To fill these shoes, Burton brought in the legendary Johnny Depp to play the main protagonist, which is sure to bring millions of fans flocking into the film. However, an actor can only do so much for a film, and so I’m here to give you some insight into the film. So sit back and enjoy my review on Dark Shadows and see if this movie is worth the hype.
The plot for this movie focuses on the aristocrat Barnabis Collins (Depp) who is part of a successful fishing family in Maine. After having an affair with a maid named Angelique (Eva Green) who turns out to be a witch, Collins’ life is changed from on of luxury to one of horror as he is transformed into a vampire and buried alive. Two centuries later, he is awakened and unleashed into the modern world and returns to his manor now run by Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer) one of his few remaining heirs. The family has landed on some rough times and the proud family is nothing but a former shell of its glory. However, Barnabis has some other things in mind that will restore the honor to his family name, even if it means facing the one woman who cursed him so long ago.
I’m sure you can guess my biggest positive for this movie, which is none other than Mr. Depp himself. Once again he has managed to use his talents to develop a character that is incredibly complicated and entertaining to watch. Depp’s natural charm, wit, and properness were well combined to make Barnabis the polite and proud aristocrat he was famous for so long ago. However, his proper nature definitely doesn’t make him boring, as Depp is able to add humor to the normally stiff role. Similar to his role as Jack Sparrow, he manages to deliver well-written lines with just the right emotion at just the right times to maximize humor. Even his awkward walk makes a return appearance that somehow made me chuckle throughout the movie. Despite the humor though, Depp surprised me and further proved just how much a chameleon he is, as he managed to capture Barnabis’ wide variety of qualities and morals. Was Depp the only thing carrying this movie?
No there were a variety of characters and themes that made this movie entertaining, though Barnabis was the connector between them all. Burton did a nice job picking his cast to portray the odd family that the Collins is. Pfeiffer did a decent job being the head of the household, but didn’t really add too much humor to the movie. Chloë Grace Moretz to my surprise was also in this movie, though her role was completely different from her one in Hugo. She did a great job playing the hippie teenager, but can’t say it was my favorite role. Naturally a Tim Burton movie wouldn’t be complete without Helena Bonham Carter making an appearance right? Well fans won’t be disappointed as she once again shines in her role. Like Depp, Carter has a natural ability to play a variety of roles and this movie is no exception. She plays the role of a psychologist hired to help out the youngest member of the Collins’ family, but she has an interesting side to her. Like Depp, Carter adds some humor to the role, yet still plays a role in driving the story. However, the character that may drive the story the most would be Angelique. Green plays this role fantastically, acting cruel as if it was in her blood. Yet Green also has the tragic hero qualities as well that helped bring her character the emotional depth to help you appreciate true love.
Aside from the acting what else did this movie have to offer? Well again there is a good bit of humor in this movie, but don’t think it’s a bonefied comedy. Despite Depp’s jokes, Dark Shadows also had some good morals built into it such as family, honor, friendship, loyalty, and a plethora of other qualities that are good lessons to teach. If you don’t care about morals, well there is a good amount of drama in this film as well full of scandals, affairs, and yes secrets. Those who like this kind of entertainment are sure to enjoy this movie, but guys have no fear there is plenty of stuff for you. Perhaps the biggest strength to comment on though is the soundtrack. Fans of the music from the 70’s will be in for a treat as some of the bigger classics were integrated into various scenes, sequences, and montages. However if you don’t like this music, well you are kind out of luck as this is the only music in the film.
What were some weaknesses for me in the movie? Well for the most part it’s predictable with only a few big twists present in the movie. The pace of the movie was a little slow at first as well, and made me a bit sleepy and bored until the pace picked up. What surprised me the most though was how graphic the sex and blood scenes were. Now I’ve definitely seen worse, but I definitely didn’t think it would be as dark as it was despite the title. I strongly encourage you to exercise caution before taking any younger audience member to see the film. Other than that this movie was pretty good overall.
To wrap this up, Dark Shadows is a fun movie that is sure to entertain any fan of a comedy drama. Depp fans will be happy with his performance, and the humor in this movie is sure to tickle a few people pink. However, the movie definitely has a few flaws that need to be tweaked if a sequel is to come. My scores for this movie are the following:
Comedy Fantasy: 7.5-8.0
Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
For this movie I would say it is worth a group outing to the theater, but it is definitely worth a Netflix viewing. Again I encourage caution for taking younger audience members to see. So until Wednesday, this is Robbie K signing off.