Dark Shadows, A Little Murky (a movie review)

Clint and I got up this morning with the full intentions of seeing the box-office hit The Avengers. When we got to the theater one hour before it started, we were disappointed when we were told that it was sold out. But seeing how we both had been looking forward to seeing a movie, we decided to catch Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows. After all the trailers looked promising, and as many of you know, I adore fantasy fiction. Besides I remember when the soap opera Dark Shadows was on TV; my mom and sisters watched it, and I remember seeing it a time or two. We must of been fans, because we named our dog Barnabas Collins and our Siamese cat, Quitin Collins.

Canadian born actor Jonathan Frid made TV history playing the misunderstood if not blood-thirsty Barnabas Collins.

After sitting through the flick, all I can say is that I’m glad we went to a matinee, which was cheaper than an evening ticket.

Dark Shadows reinvented

No, I’m being unkind. The film was entertaining and Depp did a marvelous job of taking a serious roll and infusing it with his quirky sense of style and humor. I would even go as far to say that I would re-watch it again if it came on TV for free. Depp was able to find the fine divide between heartbroken and compassionate lost lover and gruesome monster. The intensity of his eyes and lack of facial expression was, as always, a joy to watch – and the hair and makeup people hillariously got Barnabas’s hair perfect.

Could the hair be any more perfect?

The other cast members were all well played; Micelle Pfeiffer was convincing and likable as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard the matron of the 20th century Collins Clan, just as Helen Bonham Carter was despicable as the over-intoxicated and medicated Dr. Julia Hoffman. Newcomer Bella Heathcote beautifully played a girl out of time who was inexplicably drawn to the Collins family, and Eva Green captured the true wickedness of the jilted and scorned witch Angelique. One of my favorite’s in the film was the young and troubled David Collins played by  Gulliver McGrath and reminded me of a young Fred Savage.

Young David Collins sees dead people

Most of the truly comedic moments were pretty much all shown in the various trailers, leaving not much to look forward to. And if you were thinking of taking the kids, think again. This flick is full of not so subtle sexual moments. Although there is no show of skin, except for the plunging necklines of Angelique, the action in the movie leaves little to the imagination. Even the most naive of children would guess what was going on in most of the scenes. As far as horror or gore, there is not much except the over abundance of fake blood dripping down Depp’s chin.

From left: Johnny Depp, Guliver McGrath, Helen Bonham Carter, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle Haley and Johnny Lee Miller.

All in all, I would give this film a C+, and I’m probably being too generous.

Anyway, happy Mother’s Day, and if you want to go see a film tomorrow, get online now and order your Avenger tickets.

Be watching for next week’s review on The Avengers

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