Dark Shadows: What Did You Want It To Be?

Dark Shadows

Two of our intrepid hosts went to see Dark Shadows, and (of course) had opposing views of the movie. We’re putting up both reviews and readers can decide for themselves who has the most convincing argument.

Let me say this, Dark Shadows wasn’t a great movie, but it was good and in some spots very good. The problem was, as far as the story and script is concerned, the movie simply couldn’t  make up its mind. It failed as a comedy, missing many jokes almost purposefully; and as a drama, well lets just say you didn’t mind much at all when the townspeople were slaughtered so…. the movie clouded the audience. However, the mostly-good acting, the stellar cinematography, and a wonderful soundtrack certainly made the movie entertaining despite it’s faults.

When it came to acting, Depp was Depp and that was great. He was glorious and commanded a presence on the screen that few make happen. I liked Michelle Pheiffer a lot, and the Christopher Lee cameo (as well as countless others) were fun when you spotted them. In my humble opinion however, Jackie Earle Haley is an enigma. Why was he in this film? I don’t get it, and I don’t get him or the character.

The cinematography was…wow!!! The movie shone here. Tim Burton was at his finest, letting Bruno Delbonnel do some beautiful work. Shot selection, exteriors and the Mansions interior sets were well crafted and the special effects were superbly understated with exception of a particularly nausea-inducing vomit sequence.

Original music by Danny Elfman (who else?) and a score wrapped around contemporary 70’s music made the soundtrack stunningly perfect. Music by Barry White, The Moody Blues, Iggy and the Stooges, Deep Purple, Curtis Mayfield, The Carpenters, and Elton John peppered the movie making splash after audio splash. But Alice Cooper’s cameo outshone them all. The most amusing musical moment for me in the film occurs as Barnabas Collins recites the lyrics to Steve Miller’s “The Joker”.

This is Dome sayin’:  I was not a big fan of the original series, I found it kind of boring, pedantic and slow, and to be perfectly honest not all that good. The movie fares much better for me because I held very few preconceptions. I liked it, I didn’t love it, but what the hell, it was fun.

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