Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Angelique Bouchard
Directed by Tim Burton
Fun fact: this film was based on an old cult classic TV show from the late '60s/early '70s, and a lot of the people involved were big fans of the original, such as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Of course, with that in mind, you'd think a lot of care would have been taken in producing this movie. That, unfortunately, isn't quite the case.
Dark Shadows is about a guy by the name of Barnabas Collins who was around back when America was still being colonised. His family is big in the fishing business, and so he ends up taking it over. Long story short: he gets cursed by his ex-girlfriend so that he becomes a vampire.
The village finds out he's a vampire and so he gets locked in a coffin for 200 years, only to reawaken in the early '70s. So begins Barnabus Collins's quest to undo the curse and restore his family to its former glory.
Dark Shadows has a pretty big cast of characters, which leads to the movie's biggest problem. We're constantly switching around between which characters are on the screen. This means that we're introduced to characters only to not see them again until the plot needs them.
This leads to a lot of problems for the viewer. We can't connect to anyone, and it just gets confusing to see the relationships they develop so suddenly when they've only had one or two scenes together.
The movie is, however, beautiful to look at, but that's to be expected of a Tim Burton film. The world is dark and gothic, but at the same time elegant and somewhat restrained compared to Burton's other films. The humour is also excellent and Johnny Depp delivers the best lines in the film. He also delivers the best acting, putting everyone else in his shadow (no pun intended).
You can really tell that Dark Shadows was originally a TV series. That's what it feels like to watch, with all the different characters and all the different elements of the plot all going on at once. They could have cut parts of it out and it still would have been a perfectly fine movie, and characters that needed more screen time would be able to get it.
The pacing is good, even if it is a little hard to follow, with certain plot points being revealed toward the end, and others that seem important really lacking impact because they have so little to actually do with the characters involved.
Dark Shadows is worth seeing for the humour and the beautiful imagery, but otherwise, unlike its source material, I can't see it becoming a cult classic.
3 out of 5.
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