Dark Shadows

Directed By: Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloƫ Grace Moretz, and Bella Heathcoate

When 21 Jump Street came out back in March, we all thought it was just another adaptation of a TV show to the big screen.  What was the point of bringing the 80s show back to life?  When Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum proved us wrong however, we couldn't have been happier.  I was hoping Dark Shadows, an adaptation of the 60s soap opera, would do the same.  Unfortunately, director Tim Burton and megastar Johnny Depp let me down.

Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is born in Liverpool, England in 1752 to parents Joshua and Naomi Collins (Ivan Kaye and Susanna Cappellaro).  As a young boy, he moves with his parents to what will become the state of Maine and builds a fishing business unlike anything North America has ever seen.  While there, he takes Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) as a lover.  However, he's not in love with her and makes that abundantly clear to the dismay of Angelique.  A witch scorned, Angelique kills Barnabas's parents and any of his subsequent lovers.  The furious witch then curses Barnabas to be a vampire and locks him away in a coffin.

Two centuries later, a construction crew discovers a coffin buried at their worksite.  They unlock the coffin and find a thirsty vampire.  Barnabas unleashes hell on the unsuspecting workers and returns to Collinsport to see what has come of the Collins family.  Upon arriving at Collins Manor, he finds a dilapidated home maintained only by caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley).  He then meets Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer), the matriarch of the family as well as relatives Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), Carolyn (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz), and David (Gulliver McGrath).  He sees the ruin in which the family business lies and vows to restore the Collins name.  There's just one problem.  Angelique is still alive and has a penchant for making Barnabas's life miserable.

With Dark Shadows, Tim Burton does succeed in bringing a vibrant fantasy world to life.  He just fails to make it funny.  Burton brings his signature filmmaking style to the movie.  You can see it in the costumes, the visuals, and the cinematography.  He casts many of his frequent collaborators including close friend Johnny Depp and partner Helena Bonham Carter.  With music from Barry White, Alice Cooper, The Carpenters, and others, he even manages to bring the 70s to life in the film.  That's just not enough though.  Dark Shadows is a fantasy comedy, and he needs to deliver both fantasy and comedy to be successful.

Johnny Depp delivers his usual silly performance as vampire Barnabas Collins.  He plays up the time difference quite well, especially in how he is mesmerized by the technology of the era.  In portraying a fish out of water though, he gives us another one of his usual performances.  It's nothing new.  While I appreciate his chemistry with Eva Green and his interactions with the other stars, I don't see why I couldn't just watch some other Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration and save a few bucks.  He's done all of this already in one film or another.

While Dark Shadows is hardly funny and offers some underdeveloped plot twists, it still gives us a light, entertaining story.  With decent performances from the cast and signature Tim Burton filmmaking, Dark Shadows will help you pass the time if you have nothing better to do with it.  Still, I needed a Bloody Mary or three during this one.  Dark Shadows gets a 0.09% rating.