After being turned into a vampire by a jilted lover, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is entombed for two centuries until he emerges into the very changed world of 1972. Returning to his once-majestic home, he finds the few dysfunctional descendants of the Collins family who remain. Determined to return his family name to its former glory, Barnabas is thwarted at every turn by his former lover- the seductive witch Angelique (Eva Green) – in this “wickedly funny” (Mark S. Allen/CBS-TV) adventure from director Tim Burton.1
Anything that is made by Tim Burton usually is good enough reason for me to see a film. Johnny Depp is no stranger to Tim Burton films either, being in about eight films to date. Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton’s wife, also manages to sneak in her fair share of roles in her husbands films. I enjoy her as an actress though so I won’t complain. When I had heard that Tim Burton was taking on the project of making this old TV series into a film, I put it on my list of films to see’s upcoming projects list. When a preview came out for the film, it was not quite as I expected. There is much about the film that I liked the look of, but it was the 70’s theme that threw me off. It even came out as more of a comedy which was something I was not expecting. None the less, I still held on hope, but unfortunately I did not have the time or money to make this one of those movies I catch in the theatres. Instead I waited until it was out on DVD to watch.
The film has the alluring darkness that Tim Burton portrays so well. As I said, the comedic factor was not something I was expecting, but it somewhat worked with the film and gave me a few laughs. The storyline was a bit strange as well. For much of the modern fight between Johnny Depp’s vampire character, and Eva Greens witch, was in the form of business (and sex). The business was the towns making of fishing. After Angelique the witch locks Barnabas the vampire in a coffin and has him buried by the towns people, she reinvents herself and takes over the fishing business. After two centuries she has continued to do this while trying to ruin the Collins family. All she wants is for Barnabas to love her. An interesting fact I learnt after watching this movie, is that there were 1,225 episodes of the TV series. I had not known that it was such a longstanding popular TV series, but I guess not many people talk about what they were watching on TV in the 60’s.
The film has taken its hollywood allowances, and used ideas from these 1,225 episodes to form the basis for the film. The film revolves around Barnabas Collins the vampire, who was the most popular character from the tv series. Barnabas’ character was not introduced until some time after the show started. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Elizabeth Collins, and naturally theres no complaints here. Elizabeth’s brother Roger is basically a sleaze. I recognized the actors name, but it turns out only from hearing it repeatedly during commercials for the show Elementary, while watching Big Brother. The character of Carolyn Collins played by Chloe Moretz is the typical moody teenager. Her character annoyed me to be honest, and it was even more random including her secrets into the film.
I did enjoy the film for its comedy and quirkiness that I was not expecting. I’m sure mainly for its dark theme though. It was not such a bad thing having to wait to see this movie though. I do recommend that you see this movie, and thankfully it is now on video to watch, because I don’t think I would have recommended it for theatres.
1. Dark Shadows Synopsis Courtesy of Dark Shadows Movie Page