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168 of 212 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anybody for Shadows that are Funny, Quirky yet DARK??? ****Spoiler Alert****, July 31, 2012
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This review is from: Dark Shadows (+Ultraviolet Digital Copy Combo Pack) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I really look forward to the Blu-Ray Release of Burton's Dark Shadows as it sounds like there are nine additional segments to the movie that can be watched individually or as part of an expanded feature film...if I understand correctly. For sure there is a fairly fast, fun paced DARK yet FUNNY movie.

To begin with...if you are a traditional vampire WILL be aggravated that Barnabas never encounters a Crucifix, never disappears on demand or turns into a bat nor is required to sleep in his coffin by day.

The Burton "take" on the Collins family (and employees) yields Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, her brother Roger Collins, her daughter Carolyn, his son David, Dr Julia Hoffman, Willie Loomis, Sarah Johnson and of course Barnabas Collins. "Victoria Winters" and Angelique Bouchard round out the main cast.

The flick is a nice tight jaunt of around 113 minutes and is very well paced. Most of the material seen on the movie trailers are quickly whisked by in the film's first ten to fifteen minutes. The story of the Barnabas' original time period from 1752 thru 1776 is recounted swiftly including his being cursed (for rejecting Angelique) and buried alive by the town's people (for being a monster). Barnabas' parents Joshua and Naomi are shown so briefly that all we remember is Joshua's declaration that "family is only the REAL wealth" while he builds a formidable fortune (using the wealth he built up in Liverpool) by building the seaport town of Collinsport and transforming it into a great fishery/sea port.

Light humor abounds throughout the flick...most of it pertaining to Barnabas trying to `ingest" and "adjust to" this great new age of 1972 after being released from his chained coffin after a construction crew literally bangs into his coffin. Barnabas is released. The construction crew do not live to tell about their discovery as Barnabas' nutrient deprived body demands a quick and furious feast.

After an encounter with "Mephistopheles", "Lucifer" and the towns people...Barnabas finally makes his way to Collinwood. He is shocked to discover the dilapidated condition that Collinwood is in and immediately seeks out the matriarch for some answers. He makes it clear to the matriarch that he's the original Barnabas Collins cursed for two centuries. She thinks he's an intruder looking for money and blood until he shows her the Family Wealth safely hidden in the lowest secret passages of the mansion. She, then, realizes that Barnabas is the genuine item and she introduces him to the family the next morning at breakfast but keeps his secret intact.

Angelique, meanwhile, has spent two centuries being a rival to the Collins family industry and has driven them to almost poverty levels. Angelique subsequently learns of Barnabas being released from his "life imprisonment" and throws all her witchery to wage war against Barnabas and the Collins family..

During the remaining hour and change of the film...we are treated to the fact that the Collins family members as well as the new governess, "Victoria Winters" each have secrets that are brought to light during the course of the film.

Dr Hoffman discovers that Barnabas is a vampire and promises to cure him as Barnabas is soon walking out in the light of day albeit that he appears somewhat like Michael Jackson with an umbrella.

In the midst of this drama...Barnabas wants to gain the favor of the townsfolk by throwing a "happening". According to Carolyn...the "happening" needs lots of booze and a superstar singer to "rock" the town as she suggests Alice Cooper. Barnabas promises enough booze to fill a schooner and declares "she", Alice Cooper, will be the guest of the Collins Family. The Collinsport "happening" is a success.

It's at this point that I would like to comment on the film's soundtrack. Burton very effectively uses Percy Faith's a theme from "A Summer Place"...The Moody Blues "Nights in White Satin"....The Carpenter's "Top Of The World" and Alice Cooper's "No More Mr Nice Guy" and "Ballad of Dwight Frye". Other nice selections are included. Loved the music.

As the film drives toward it's climax...Barnabas and the Collins family steadily move toward their final battle with Angelique which contains a surprise or two.

I found the ending (unlike most movie reviewers) quite satisfying after Burton throws everything but the kitchen sink into the final conflict. Unlike many reviewers I did not see a strong indication for a sequel. I don't expect one.

The cast performed superbly. Special Kudos to Johnny Depp and Eva Green as Barnabas and Angelique...but they were all superb in my opinion.

After all is said and done...I loved Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" for being uniquely it's own film not borrowing from the two Dan Curtis films of the 1970s. The visuals do overshadow the script....but we are having so much fun watching all the dysfunctional members of the family fighting for the Collins' true core value that "family is the only REAL wealth"...that we don't see any reason to criticize the script's shortcomings because it's so darn much fun.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 15, 2012 11:35:37 PM PST
Ray A. Neset says:
Spoiler alert! The reviewer doesn't leave much to surprise the first-time viewer in this light little horror/comedy. That said, I would have to agree with the general conclusions about the film. Between the age of 6 & 11, I raced home from school to watch the original TV series & I couldn't miss the early 70's movie sequels when they were released. At grade-school-age in the late 60's it was pretty scary stuff, but is totally laughable now. Burton & crew did the breakthrough albeit dated show justice by not taking the project too seriously. I enjoyed the homage so much I intend to watch it again soon.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2013 11:57:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2013 11:58:49 AM PST
R. Wall says:
I have to agree with your comment. I did not realize that by just stating there are surprises to watch for...that the reader is prompted to look for a surprise rather than being surprised completely. My apologies...I guess I did disclose too much...particularly with Barnabas' introduction to the Matriarch.

Posted on Jun 10, 2013 8:02:50 PM PDT
Paul Jutras says:
Not to give the ending of the movie away those who might think there would be a second film might be referring to what the person in the lake does at the end of the movie.

Posted on Oct 16, 2013 6:34:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 16, 2013 6:47:17 AM PDT
'I beg to differ' with an earlier comment: I appreciate the FULL synopsis, preceded by the spoiler alert, of course. I view these films for their general entertainment value in addition to simply following the plot development. In fact, since I'm considering purchase of this film it had better be worth watching more than one time (I generally watch a good film two or even three times within the first week of purchase and then repeat watching it a number of times [forever] depending on how 'entertaining' I find the film.) You balanced a complete, professional-quality synopsis without revealing every twist-and-turn of the plot, leaving some material yet to be discovered by the first viewing. Of course after the first viewing I usually remember these details (perhaps my memory for some information is too good) and thus a movie's merit (and my desire to 'own' it) is dependent upon other factors that I describe as its "entertainment" value. Thanks for your excellent review; I appreciate reviewers such as yourself that provide enough information for my purchase decision without trying to play the role of film critic.

For those readers that are offended by this author's review and by others revealing too much information: how did you miss the "spoiler alert?" People who can't inhibit their own tendency to read past the spoiler alert should consider treatment for an obvious impulse control disorder which is likely to manifest itself in other aspects of their lives (e.g., eating disorders, road rage). (FYI: My remark is NOT intended to be offensive [rather defensive on behalf of the reviewer of this film] and is not directed towards any particular commentator here or elsewhere. But please don't blame the reviewer for YOUR problem.)

I BOUGHT THE FILM based on this synopsis. Thanks for helping to stretch my entertainment dollars.

Posted on Nov 15, 2013 6:24:04 PM PST
Michele says:
From Director Tim Burton. That in itself, tells you it's a dark movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2014 2:59:55 PM PST
Good Lord.
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