Friday, May 11, 2012

Dark Shadows - A Fun Dark Romp

Tim Burton directs a movie staring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Chloe Grace Moretz. A film written by Seth Graham-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). A film with Colleen Atwood costumes and a score by Danny Elfman. I'm so already there. It's only a bonus that the movie happens to be based on Dark Shadows, a supernatural soap opera from the 60s.

I grew up with Dark Shadows, but was never really a fan. It was always in repeats in my youth and was always aired right before a cartoon I would watch. It would be like I would watch Robotech, but after the closing spooky credits of Dark Shadows. Or I'd be watching Jem and there'd be a commercial featuring Barnabas Collins right before the "... and now back to Jem" eyecatch.

I only started watching a handfull of the episodes before viewing this movie, as well as reading some literature on the subject. From what little I've seen and read, this movie is pretty faithfull to the material while also being it's own film. No previous viewing of the gajillion episodes will be needed for this film. This is a stand alone movie.

The story centers on Barnabas Collins, introduced via an awesome intro that takes place in the 1700s. He scorns the witch Angelique. Angelique then turns him into a vampire and he is eventually trapped in a coffin until reawakening in the 1970s, uniting with his 1970's descendants which include Elizabeth Stoddard, the matriarch. Her brother Roger and his son David, and her daughter Carolyn. Also joining the family is Dr. Julia Hoffman and the new nanny, Victoria Winters. Everyone has a past, everyone has a story and everyone gets involved.

Eva Green as Angelique.

The central story in all of the plotlines involved is Barnabas and his fued with the witch Angelique, who is very much alive in the 1970s and still trying to win his heart by any evil means necessary.

Keeping in mind that the source material for this film is a soap opera, I noticed that there is a lot of ground to cover and sadly not every character got to shine properly. I really wanted to say that the juggling of a huge cast of characters was successful in this motion picture, but it is not. Though it all does come together in the end.

The acting in this movie is hilarious. There are a lot of funny moments scattered throughout that are played as serious. A lot of the comedy comes from how serious the movie takes itself. I had a blast.

The performances are all top notch, I got the feeling I was watching a play at times, but I was left wanting more from those supporting the central story.

A huge plus for the movie was the pacing of the story. Graham's script allows the story to unravel organically. Not to say that it's slow though. Once the poo hits the fan, the poo hits the fan. The film concludes explosively.

I enjoyed the movie immensely and I had HIGH expectations. I was not disappointed. It needs to come out on Blu Ray already.

... The Carpenters make an appearance in this movie too ;-)

If you liked this article, check these out:

House of Dark Shadows - Now That's a Vampire Drama - The movie for the original series.

Let Me In - Vampires and Bullies - The remake of the awesome foreign movie Let the Right One In.Stars Dark Shadow's Chloe Grace Moretz.

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