Dark Shadows is nothing to write about... which makes it hard to write about.
It's based on the soap opera of the same name which Johnny Depp and Tim Burton were ginormous fans. Dark Shadows feels like a vanity project for Burton and Depp... which is totally cool. This duo has been so successful that they are entitled to do whatever the crap they want. I mean, Johnny Depp as a vampire adjusting to life in the 70s. Why the fuck not!? The problem is, this movie isn't very good. More after the break...
It's puzzling. How can a movie like this be so... meh? Seriously, you have an all-star cast, and you never get the impression that anyone is phoning in a performance. The movie is full of eye candy. The sets... Hell, the entire cast is gorgeous. But it's just so... dull. Maybe after Cabin and Avengers, everything is a little dull. The story follows Barnabas Collins (Depp) as he's cursed by a witch (Eva Green) to become a vampire... (Can witches do that?) And he's imprisoned until the 70s. The story follows Depp adjusting to the world and dealing with his distant relatives... How can this not work?
You don't really care about these characters, and their respective journeys and arcs are not focused. The movie is Depp-centric which works 90% of the time, but Barnabas is not a sympathetic character. I know that, in soap operas, everyone sleeps with everyone. It doesn't work in this movie because there's supposedly this timeless, true-love element. Depp is fellated by Bonham Carter's character and has supernatural, wall-climbing sex with Eva Green's character. Temptations of the flesh and all that, but c'mon. Why should we root for him to win in the end when he's a murderous douche? And by the end, he hasn't changed. His character has no arc... Fuck it, NO CHARACTER HAD AN ARC. NOTHING CHANGED. The Collins family got their revenge, but there was no character journey that made it satisfying.
The story doesn't know what it is. The most exciting sequence is when Barnabas is found, and he subsequently murders the people that found him. It feels scary and visceral and has the makings of a good horror movie... But then his story takes a fish-out-of-water turn, and it becomes this campy, silly... thing. Jokes are flat. He sees the golden arches M, and it clearly says mcDonald's under it,but he says "Mestopholes." For fuck's sake... Is it a revenge story? It it a story about love? Is it a story about the family's retribution? Or is it just visual masturbation?
The last battle doesn't make sense. Spoilers... So, after Depp bites Eva Green, she starts breaking into ceramic pieces... It's actually a pretty neat effect... but WHY? He sucked her blood, so she becomes a plate? Chloe "jailbait" Moretz ends up being a werewolf. WHY? That came from fucking nowhere. She was moody and sullen the entire film, and they just suddenly introduce that she's a werewolf. And it turns out that the other little kid speaks to ghosts?! WHY? If you don't even hint at these kinda things throughout the movie, the payoff doesn't make sense. Even Shyamalan knows that. It feels like all this was pulled out of someone's ass when they realized that this "movie" needed some sort of resolution.
Now, I never watched the show, so I don't know if it was a rewarding experience, at all, for that crowd... If you did, I'd love to hear how your movie-going experience was.
Again, the movie was beautiful, and it was full of beautiful people. Eva Green in a red dress (not feeling the blonde hair though) was... yeah. The cinematography and colors of the last cliff scene were especially fun... but it's just not a movie worth going to. Seriously, the more I think and talk about it, the angrier I get.
We give it 5.5... somethings. Don't really wanna waste any more time on this movie.
I've said it a billion times, I'll say it again. Johnny Depp needs to be Jack White in a movie. This confirmed it. Doppelgangers. (Get Helena Bonham Carter to be Alison Mosshart... AND Meg for novelty's sake.)