Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

May 16, 2012

‘Dark Shadows’ scares up average laughs

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Ever since teenage romance put the sparkle into blood sucking, there’s been a cry by many fans to return to a simpler time when monsters were still monsters. Thankfully there seems to be at least a couple traditional stake em ups in 2012, be it presidential super hero meets Van Helsing or a much goofier selection like this offering.

However, even this tale is not without division with an example in my own household and it all comes down to if one cares or not that it is based on a soap opera of the same name. While I found plenty to chuckle about and actually found it better than Tim Burton’s take on Alice, there are those who will not like the almost total change to the gothic storyline. “Dark Shadows” ultimately feels like a what if one made Jack Sparrow a Dracula impersonator with most of the same personality quirks and a family instead of a crew.

Taking audiences back to where it all began in Liverpool England in 1760, the story follows the life of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a man who becomes a vampire after ticking off a witch named Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) some years after his family founds a shipping industry in Collinsport Maine. Basically, she doesn’t quite get that she is but a passing fling to him, which leads to the curse, being locked in a coffin in the ground, the murder of his true love and later encountering his remaining descendants in 1972.

Things have changed to say the least when he wakes up and his name is no longer associated with success of the town, but has been largely replaced by an empire run by his spurned lover. Not only must he try to restore his family honor and deal with the evil one, he must do so with less than enthusiastic residents like Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the family matriarch (Michelle Pfeiffer), a 10-year-old headcase named David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) and a woman he has become smitten with named Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote). In some ways it still plays out like a twisted soap opera, though with a few low brow gags thrown in for good measure.

It is a bit difficult to place what kind of audience will really latch onto this with some moments just fine for a family flick, but others bordering on the edge of adult guy humor. What I did enjoy most was actually some of the music and more the first half jokes than the rest.

By the end of it I don’t really find it all that memorable and don’t plan on doing much beyond maybe a second viewing on Netflix. If you are jonesing to be at the theater all the time in addition to much more anticipated blockbusters, it works for a popcorn flick. Thus, my final verdict stands at two and a half out of five transfusions for “Dark Shadows.”

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.