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3.9 out of 5 stars46
3.9 out of 5 stars
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
I must admit, if you are not familiar with Dark Shadows you may not enjoy this movie as much. Tim Burton has provided us with his interpretation and adaptation of a cult classic gothic soap from the 1960's. I really enjoyed this film as it had all the Tim Burton elements that make it uniquely Tim Burton. Depp portrayed Barnabas exquisitely and paid due homage to the late Jonathan Frid (who has a cameo in the film!) I would not be so harsh and forgo the film but watch it for yourself and pass your own judgement. You may want to get some background knowledge of the original series from the 1960's and the revival from 1991 to better help you understand this creative world of Dark Shadows!
Dark Shadows Complete Original Series [Deluxe Edition]
Dark Shadows Comp Series
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Tim Burton is a very hit-or-miss director -- when he's good, he's very very good. And when he's bad... "Planet of the Apes."

And for many years, he and favorite star Johnny Depp wanted to make an adaptation of the classic supernatural soap "Dark Shadows." Except, you know, getting virtually every aspect of the story wrong -- instead of a tale of vampiric tragedy and suspense, we get an awful sitcom that tries to get all its humor from Barnabas Collins being a "man out of time."

About two hundred years ago, the witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) took revenge on her former lover Barnabas Collins (Depp) after he jilted her. She killed his family, made his fiancee commit suicide, turned him into a vampire, and got him buried for two hundred years.

When Barnabas is accidentally dug up, it's the 1970s. After snacking on some road workers, he heads straight back to the old family manor. The Collins family -- led by the dour matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) -- has seen its fortunes decline over the centuries, and Barnabas is determined to restore them. He also immediately falls for Victoria (Bella Heathcote), who is an exact doppelganger for his dead fiancee.

However, it turns out that Angelique is still kicking around because... well, she's a witch, so apparently that makes her immortal. She's still carrying a torch for Barnabas. And she's been responsible for the family "curse." And, well, she's opened a rival fish cannery that is threatening the old family biz. When Barnabas turns her down again, she's out for revenge...

If you've seen even some of Tim Burton's other movies, then you know pretty much what to expect from "Dark Shadows." Burton is just regurgitating the same things he always does -- it stars Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, there's pancake makeup with sunken raccoon eyes, a Skellington scarecrow, gothic houses with lots of sharp angles, wild hair, etc.

Burton's style is not the problem, though... but the fact that he turned a story of tragedy and revenge into a COMEDY is. And even as a comedy, it fails.

Instead we get endless gags relying on Barnabas' culture shock (oh ha ha, he's confused by the TV), and how he's so obviously a vampire but the Collins clan never notices. And once the backstory is out of the way, Burton seems to lose interest in the plot -- he simply flings around a dozen random plot threads, culminating in a confusing deus-ex-machina climax with random ghosts and werewolves popping up to fight Angelique.

There's also an ugly misogynistic tone to the movie -- every woman is either a vengeful scorned harpy who can't move on, a vain age-obsessed skank or a blank-faced nonentity like Victoria.

Johnny Depp is admittedly doing what he can here, but the character of Barnabas is just embarrassing -- he comes across as a blithering idiot and a huge cad. Depp is charming, but not charming enough. Heathcote has the charisma and acting ability of a log, and most of the other actors are wasted (Pfeiffer, Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller).

It boggles the imagination that "Dark Shadows" was made by actual fans of the original TV show, because frankly it's hard to imagine a worse adaptation being made by people who hated it. There may be shadows, but they're not dark. They're just beige.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 2, 2013
A movie about a whiter shade of pale

I have to admit that I never watched the original "Dark Shadows" (1966-1971), as I spent decades ignoring soap operas and most weekly serial entertainment programs with the exception of a few classics. However even though I keep saying I do not like the Jonny Depth sort of film I find that I strangely enough purchased just about all of them. After watching "Dark Shadows" I guess I will just have to admit that I do like his body of work. Turns out it is a lot of Burton's films with which I am not enamored.

Just in case I am not the only person to have missed the original story line, this film is about the head of a household "Collinwood" or more of a financial empire that returns to a crumbling future to rebuild that empire.

In his youthful lusty way Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) besmirches a young which Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) and soon must turn to the dark side to protect himself and the new love of his life. It is to no avail as he is transformed into a vampire and force to covet his neighbor's blood. He is boxed for a couple hundred years and on his return he now must cope with a new world and his reencounter with his gorgeous lustful nemesis.

This looks like it is probably a pilot to a new series of films similar to his previous "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

Now I want the sound track. I have most of the songs now but it is a nice mixture and will remind me of the movie.

"The Secret Room"
"Nights in White Satin"
"Season of the Witch"
"I'm Sick of You."
"Highway Star"
"Theme from a Summer Place"
"Top of the World"
"Crocodile Rock"
"Happy Nightstrums"
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
"The Joker"
"Bang a Gong (get it on)"
"No more Mr. Nice Guy"
"Ballad of Dwight Frye"
"Go all the way"
"I would like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)"
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on November 22, 2014
Good quality movie, it is a little bit grotesque. The actors are good, but important aspects of the story have been toltally missed. You jump from feature to feature, completely ignoring others that would otherwise have been important parts of the movie. I would say that they didn't cover the topic fully. It is handled as a comic movie, but didn't make me laugh. I would probably have appreciated better a more serious approach to the subject. A more funny satire of a scary movie would be Zombiland, wich doesn't try to be serious and hilarious at the same time. To be watched once, to understand what I mean.
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This is a classic vampire/revenge film, but is a sort of spoof at the same time. You'll never know if you should take anything seriously or not! Johnny Depp returns after 200 years in the grave, and is amazed by the modern world he finds. His performance (and language) is comedy perfection! And Chloe Grace Moretz has a small part as the troubled teen, but ends up being a werewolf! "Woof" she says!! There are also some very sad moments in the film, I think there is something here for everyone. Don't miss this one!
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on August 2, 2014
Excellent talent by Depp and strong characters played by the rest of the cast. Very well plotted out and has you truly rooting for the family to stay together to work things out. Very surreal version/vision of the old series from television but keeps you entertained and laughing at the many off color gags.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 7, 2012
This is another Tim Burton movie. This movie was a bit far fetched, but my husband and I still enjoyed to watch it. All the actors played their rolls well, and it was kind of interesting to see Michelle Pfeiffer play a more 'motherly' role instead of the 'nasty' rolls we have usually seen her play. Although we hadn't seen any of the series of "Dark Shadows" we knew it was based on the series. I think it to be a good "Halloween" movie to watch for when Halloween comes around, but if we had a choice as to which one was better, we think that would be "Corpse Bride". Also, another movie with Michelle Pfeiffer that we saw just recently that was also a kind of Halloween theme was Stardust, of which she also played her roll well here too. All in all, we would recommend "Dark Shadows", if you want a fun Halloween movie to watch on October 31st.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
The interpretation of the old tv serie by Burton is simply funny and to take lightly, entertaining. The blood is exagerated as in sleepy hollow, but the humor was really interesting and simply brillant. Not to see with young children, but real enjoyable with your teenagers. But the menus and the DVD presentation needs a lot of improvement. It's plain, horrible, no interaction, just as if it was a third part company production. We've seen a lot better from a Burton movie DVD.

Eva Green and Johnny Depp makes a good contrast, fire and ice fighting for love. It's a good seducing rivalry and there's Alice Cooper, joy!!!

Thumbs up for the movie, but the presentation is tasteless. That's all I've got to say, your honor.
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on April 20, 2014
If you like the 70's music and culture, Dark Shadows is the perfect combination of both. Depp is on top of his game and Bonham Carter is rockin as a alcoholic psychologist.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Tim Burton gives us a visual treat with a lot of laughs. Johnny Drop is perfect in his portrayal of the hapless vampire and the several leading ladies are great too. Too bad the movie was released in spring (of all times!).
The blu ray at least was released in October. What were these Hollywood distribuers thinking???
Any way it has its over the top moments but is not took silly so that you can ennjoy the gothic aspects.
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