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, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth ...Written by
Warner Bros. Pictures
Tim Burton is probably one of the best choices to direct a Dark Shadows movie. He's always good at making Dark, Gothic films and everyone's expecting it to be something like Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow. Instead, it has a hybrid of Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice. It begins with decent gloominess but the rest is scattered with groovy soundtrack and colorful images. But that may not be the problem. It's actually pretty good at recapturing the 70's. The main problem is the plot development. It's fun but also disappointing.
It looks promising in the beginning. Tim Burton uses his campy directing style which made the intro intriguing. It get silly when Barnabas returns from his grave. Exploring the changes of his town. It's quite funny and delightful. There's a good character development in this that made it entertaining. Johnny Depp gives a delightful performance as Barnabas Collins. Eva Green is quite menacing as Angelique. Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter are the extra comic relief. Chloë Moretz is always good at bad girl roles.
There's a lot of fun going on, but in the end, the experience feels like something's missing. It could have been an interesting story but it ends pretty lazy. There are couple of senseless twists that aren't consistent. At least there is something good in the filmmaking. The production design is quite decent and sometimes unlikely colorful. Postmodern music are played often which made Danny Elfman's music score hard to notice. But these merits can't fix the film's storytelling.
Dark Shadows is undeniably entertaining and nothing else. There are things that could have been better. I don't think the colorful groovy look is the problem. It just needs a better ending that gives consistency to the story. People can still give it a try for its camp. There's a true vampire here that is nothing like our modern vampires. Dark Shadows is not bad. It's just unsatisfying. It has the color, life, and all but what's missing is a proper plot development.
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