Movie Review of Tim Burton's DARK SHADOWS
Review of Tim Burton's DARK SHADOWS
I am a huge fan of Tim Burton films and went to see his latest movie, Dark Shadows, on opening night. Here is a short review I wrote for anyone who is thinking about seeing it, saw it, never heard of it...etc.
The film begins with Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) leaving Liverpool as a young boy with his wealthy family to expand their fishing empire in the new world. Their business builds a whole new town (named Collinsport of course) and the family celebrates by spending the next fifteen years creating a luxurious mansion. As Barnabas becomes a young man he falls prey to the charms of his beautiful servant, Angelique (Eva Green). When she presses him about his feelings for her, he is forced to admit he is not actually in love with her. Instead, he falls for the beautiful Josette who becomes his fiancÃÂ©. Angered by the rejection and murderously jealous, Angelique (a witch in disguise) vows to destroy the Collins family. To ensure Barnabas will love her, she casts a spell upon Josette to jump off the cliffs to her death. Barnabas arrives too late and is in such despair he throws himself off the cliffs. Instead of dying on the rocks he is transformed into a vampire. The whole town is turned against him and he is locked away in a coffin for all eternity as Angelique smugly looks on.
Flash forward two centuries: a young woman who calls herself Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) appears at the formerly glorious Collinswood (the name of the Collins mansion) as a governess to the troubled young David Collins. The once-proud family consists of matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard, David's dead-beat father Roger Collins, and David's alcoholic live-in psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter). Soon after, the newly unearthed Barnabas Collins arrives to find his beloved Collinswood a shadow of its finery and his family on the verge of financial ruin. After convincing the matriarch he will return their family to glory and bring back the fishing business, she grudgingly allows him to stay. Unsurprisingly, the devilish Angelique who has created the monopoly fishing business of Angel Bay is still very much alive and in love with Barnabas Collins (who likes to refer to her in terms of devil, hell, satan, etc). He vows to gain revenge for her cursing his life and immediately begins restoring the family business and renovating the mansion (his funds being hidden treasure inside the house). Angelique is angered at the danger the revived Collins business poses to her own and so offers money or a partnership deal if Barnabas will admit to loving her and stay with her. When he refuses, she is infuriated to find him falling in love with his fiancÃÂ©'s look-alike, Victoria Winters. As time goes on, his true identity as a vampire is discovered by David's lush psychiatrist who attempts to use him to gain eternal youth. He eventually disposes of her, and Angelique discovers the murder. She uses the information in a plan to lock him away again, have his family jailed for harboring a murderer, destroy the family business for good, and force his new love to kill herself by jumping from the cliffs his first love died on. Will he be able to stop Angelique and save his love? You will have to see the movie and find out for yourself.
I really liked this movie because it followed the Tim Burton style (if you do not like him, you will not like it) which is characters larger than life, brilliant color meeting darkness (think of the Corpse Bride contrast of the world of the living vs that of the dead), dark humor, and some weirdness. After seeing Alice in Wonderland, I was afraid Johnny Depp's character would again resemble too much of Captain Jack Sparrow. Instead, he amazed me with his skill at portraying a very complex character. The man is disgusted by his curse, has the mannerisms of a 1700s gentleman but is attempting to integrate into modern life, intent upon revenge but puts his family first, mourns his fiancÃÂ© and finds himself falling for her spitting image, and amidst the chaos remains a character you can not help but love. Helena Bonham Carter's role brought humor into the once-proud Collins family household. For some reason, her character occasionally reminded me of crazy Marla Sing from Fight Club (awkwardly honest and funny without trying to be).
Even though I enjoyed this film, it is definitely not for everyone. I spoke to several people afterwards who complained there wasn't enough action, comedy, romance, etc. The movie is not a happy-go-lucky film, people do get murdered (I mean he is a vampire!) but there are no bombs or shootings rampages, and sorry no explicit love scenes. If you are fine with the aforementioned than go see it! And if you are a Tim Burton fan this is one movie of his you should not miss.
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