Dark Shadows (2012) * *
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green
"In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better..."
I never watched the original series, partly because I wasn't born yet when it started and it ended when I was three years old. And somehow I never managed to get into the series via reruns.
I've also never seen the 1991 remake of the series that NBC attempted and then cancelled. So going into the Dark Shadows movie I had very little in the way of expectations, except that the trailers made it look really campy. Which, considering that the film is directed by Tim Burton, was not completely unexpected.
However, Bob reeeeeallllly wanted to see it, and I like me some Johnny Depp, so on Friday night after dinner we took ourselves to ye olde trusty neighborhood theater to watch us some vampire Johnny goodness.
Unfortunately, the movie was every bit as campy and cheesy as I had thought it would be, complete with extra camp and cheese. At times the film is so bad that it passes that narrow window where bad movies become good, and then smashes out the other side into truly atrocious. But in between the atrociousness, there is, now and then, the hint of a possibility of the potential to be really cool and amazing.
There are some funny moments here and there, though not the ones that were planned. There's even some really good acting here and there. Occasionally there's some decent writing, and the set designs are mostly fantastic in a Burton-esque "totally-over-the-top" kind of way. But these little moments of almost-borderline awesome are hidden underneath a lot of bad writing, lame jokes, and unrealized potential. The ending was predictable and sorta boring.
I'm giving Dark Shadows only two stars, which is probably generous, and I feel bad, but Tim Burton and Johnny Depp should have been super-awesome, instead of just fizzling out. One thing the film does have going for it though - Helena Bonham Carter. That's not enough of a reason to go see it, though. Save your money, or go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel instead.
Have you seen Dark Shadows yet? What did you think? Let me know, in the comments below!