Kirkkitsch’s Blog


Dark Shadows: A Shadow of Its Former Self
October 29, 2012, 6:00 am
Filed under: Movies, Reviews

I recently rented Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie at RedBox. Having tanked at the box office, it was only a matter of time before it was released on DVD. I remember hearing that there was to be a Dark Shadows movie and was temporarily excited…until I heard that it was yet another Burton/Depp project. *sigh* Odd how those two things would have been a draw for me 15 years ago.

I was never an AVID watcher of the original Dark Shadows, but I own a few of the DVDs and briefly enjoyed the 90’s reincarnation of it, starring Ben Cross, and ironically a young Joseph Gordon Levitt…whose appeal still continues to mystify me. Put a guy in a suit and the chicks go wild, I guess that’s the *magic* of Levitt? You can have my slice. I’ll also throw in, at no extra cost: Russell Brand, Reese Witherspoon and Shia LaBeouf. Knock yourself out.

And although I was not married to the original Dark Shadows television show, I appreciated what it was trying to do with atmosphere and storyline. When I saw the trailer for the new Dark Shadows movie and found out that it’d been made into a “comedy”, I lost all interest. Kinda how I felt when I saw the trailer for the remake of The Stepford Wives. LAME

So, it was out of sheer boredom and morbid curiosity that I rented Dark Shadows. And you know what? I kinda liked it. I know! I was surprised as well! I’m pretty good at gauging what I’m going to like and/or dislike (i.e. the remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog and most recently Steel Magnolias; yes, this year marks the Lifetime all-black cast remake…starring Queen Latifah. *sigh* Don’t EVEN get me started.)

First, the pros:
– BEAUTIFUL movie. The colors. The pop culture references. The era. Eyecandy, eyecandy, eyecandy!
– The cast: I liked everyone, especially the little boy who played David. He was perfectly cast. Johnny Lee Miller was pretty much a castoff character, but everyone else seemed relevant.
– The soundtrack and the score. Loved it…though I have to admit I was jonesing for the eerie opening Dark Shadows theme in SOME incarnation.

The cons:
– Lowest common-denominator humor. A little went a long way; most of it was just too ham-fisted. I’m a big believer in ‘less is more’.
– It felt rushed, like it was trying too hard to find resolution for every character within a limited time frame.

Overall, I guess I was ultimately disappointed for all the original reasons I was disappointed when I saw the trailer and found out that it’d been turned into a comedy: It had SUCH potential to be so much more. So many of the elements were already there: good cast, good atmosphere, good score, but all the positives were outweighed by what felt like the easy way out: generic humor, sight gags and the whole tired ‘fish out of water’ element that bogged down the potential. This could have easily been the beginning to a great series of films.

All in all, I’d definitely buy it, for the right price (I give it 3-4 more weeks), if only for the beautiful sets and set pieces. Worth a rental.


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