Movie Review: Dark Shadows, 2012

Last Saturday Capt. Canada and I decided to celebrate our eight year anniversary a little early so that we could drive down to Nürnberg to have dinner and see a movie.  Perhaps I should take the time to tell you about how we live in a small village just outside a city that just doesn’t have quite as much to offer in the way of dinning and entertainment as a bigger such as Nürnberg does.  Also, in order to see newly released movies in English, we are typically faced with making a two hour round trip.  So, we thought our anniversary was a good reason to make the trip.  I’ll be honest, I had originally been hoping that The Hunger Games would still be playing in English but sadly it was not.  However, the newly released Dark Shadows was in fact being shown in English.  Well I don’t know about you, but I have been a fan of Johnny Depp since the days when he appeared on 21 Jump Street.  I am totally aging myself by admitting that aren’t I?  I am also a big Tim Burton fan and I feel that when the two of them team up that pure genius tends to result.  So the decision was made and tickets were booked for Dark Shadows.First of all, Dark Shadows was originally a television show that ran from 1966 to 1971 which was then resurrected in 1991 but only ran for one season.  Both of which also followed the supernatural happenings of vampire, Barnabas Collins and his family.  Tim Burton decided to take a crack at it and breath new life into the story as only he can do.  This time around the cast list boasts such names as Chloë Grace Moretz who you may remember from the movie Kick Ass, Christopher Lee, Jack Earle Haley, newcomer Bella Heathcote, Johnny Lee Miller who I was so glad to see, Michelle Pfeiffer, and another Burton cast staple, Helena Bonham Carter.  There is even a cameo by Detroit born Alice Cooper.

I don’t want to give too much away but basically Johnny Depp’s character, Barnabas Collins becomes the victim of his jealous and infatuated lover, Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green.  Sadly Barnabas is unaware of the fact that Angelique is a rather powerful and skillful witch until he finds himself in the midst of tragedy and transformed into a vampire at her hand.  Well you can imagine that in the early days of New England that villagers didn’t exactly take too kindly to vampires and the devious Angelique decides to further punish Barnabas by taking advantage of that fact.  Barnabas is then sent to ground for nearly two hundred years before his slumber is disrupted by construction workers in the seventies.  The once incredibly wealthy, educated, well spoken and savvy vampire finds himself reborn into a strange new era with a plethora of inconceivable new modern conveniences  and technological advances to both attack and delight his outdated sensibilities.  Not to mention a whole new set of social norms which he suddenly finds himself forced to adapt to all while waring with blast from the past, Angelique and asserting himself in his new role among his equally interesting living heirs.

I especially liked the fact that Tim Burton was all too happy to poke fun at the characters in the movie, especially dear Barnabas who Depp managed to portray as quirky and incredibly likable and endearing, especially for a blood thirsty vampire.  In all honestly I think I could only find two minor faults with this movie. One being the awkward turn Chloë Grace Moretz’s character, Carolyn, takes toward the end of the film.  This turn of events just felt as though it was a bit of an afterthought that had been impulsively thrown in toward the end. I was also greatly unimpressed by the mediocre performance given by Bella Heathcote. Otherwise, the rest of the cast gave excellent performances with Johnny Depp and Eva Green standing for me, although I feel Bonham Carter deserves an honorable mention as well just because I love her and always find her intriguing in just about any role.

Both Capt. Canada and I really liked this movie.  It was a good and enjoyable film to watch. For those of you who may have been misled and put off by the misconception that Dark Shadows was going to be some gory horror film, do not fret because it would be a stretch to lump it completely into that genre as it is certainly more of a comedy.  If you’ve been debating whether or not to go see Dark Shadows, then I highly recommend you do so, or at the very least be sure to see it once it is released on DVD and Blu-Ray.


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