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Review: Dark Shadows

May 14, 2012

So, with last week’s review being finished last night, I’m sure that many of you some of you at least one of you is wondering why it wasn’t up earlier. Friday, I was just not feeling up to the task of re-watching Beverly Hills Cop III. That’s on me. Saturday…Saturday was busy. I had a very long day Saturday, and it started with the movie that I am going to review in brief for you right here in this post.

Let me start by setting the scene for you. Quarter to eleven, and the movie theater in the mall’s just opened. My parents go in and get the tickets and sit down at a table. I show up a few minutes later, and we all get our snacks (The snack bar in this theater is unlike any I’ve ever been in, because you don’t pay where you get your snacks. You take everything down to a register, and they have a separate kitchen for-you know what, beside the point.) and head to the theater. Another thing, beautiful theater, very well set up.

After all the previews and ads (including for a new reality show about babysitters in Beverly Hills from the producer of the Real Housewives series, who, if I have my way, will be one of the first up against the wall when-sorry, beside the point again.[And also, God bless Will Smith. At least he’s having fun with Men In Black III, and not taking it too seriously like Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop III. I don’t want to keep harping on this, but it really hurt the movie.]), we finally get to the start of a movie based on a soap opera that a record 100% of my parents used to watch when it was on TV.

In 1760, young Barnabas Collins leaves Liverpool, England for the New World with his parents, who found the small fishing village of Collinsport, Maine. With the town flourishing, they decide to put down roots and work begins on their lavish estate, Collinwood, completed after only fifteen years of construction. Unfortunately, Barnabas spurn the love of a young witch, and she can only be described as obsessive in her revenge. She causes a sculpture to fall from Collinwood and kill Joshua and Naomi Collins, she uses her magic to make Barnabas’ love jump to her death from Widow’s Peak, and after he throws himself off the same cliff, she curses him to the life of a vampire and subsequently has him chained and buried in an iron coffin by the townspeople.

In 1972, a young lady by the name of Victoria Winters (real name Maggie Evans) arrives at Collinwood to become a governess for a young boy, David Collins. After meeting the remaining staff of the manor (Willie Loomis, groundskeeper and drunk, and Mrs. Johnson, a senile yet devoted old woman), she is given a tour of the decrepit house by Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, who explains that after David’s mother was lost at sea, he believes that she still talks to him. Along the way, she meets Elizabeth’s daughter Carolyn. She’s a rebellious teenager. Later that night at dinner, she meets the rest of the people living in Collinwood: Roger, brother of Elizabeth and less-than-stellar father of David, and Doctor Hoffman, an alcoholic female psychiatrist.

That night, during construction of a McDonalds off of I-95, the workers dig up an iron coffin and, counter to common sense, they cut the chains keeping it closed. Since the movie only opened this weekend, I don’t want to give away too much of the movie. But here’s the general idea of what happens: Barnabas comes back to Collinwood and has it renovated, while at the same time modernizing his family’s ailing canning company.

Dark Shadows hasn’t been doing very well with the established critics, but from what I read, it seemed like they were judging it on what they wanted it to be rather than what it is. I go to movies for entertainment. If I come out of the theater having enjoyed the last two hours, I consider the movie to be good. In my opinion, Dark Shadows was entertaining as all hell, an interesting  and funny take on a mid-century soap opera, and from what I understand, the movie filled in gaps that the original series left unanswered. I highly recommend you see it while it’s out, but if you have doubts (which is your God-given right), it’s worth at the very least renting when it comes out on DVD if not outright buying.

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One comment

  1. I somewhat agree with this. I enjoyed the movie overall, specifically Depp and Green. The screenplay, however, sucked. The story between Depp’s character and the Victoria character seemed to be on-again and off-again. Victoria led us to the house, then conveniently just stopped progressing her story until much later in the film.

    Green’s character was pleasant and Depp provided some excellent comedic relief at just the right times. The rest of the characters didn’t really develop beyond their introductions. This isn’t the fault of the actors, more the fault of the screenplay.

    Perhaps the biggest gaffe was the daughter’s reveal at the very end of the movie that she was a werewolf, with absolutely no foreshadowing or relevance.

    3.5/5 at best. Anyway, nice review. 🙂



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