MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
As I do with movies that I see originally in the theater, I gave “Dark Shadows” a second chance. This practice is quite important for movies that I didn’t particularly like because it’s not uncommon for me to see a movie a second time and feel it plays better on home video. Unfortunately, I can’t say that’s the case with “Dark Shadows.” When all was said and done, I liked the movie about as much as I did the first time I saw it.
An adaptation of the gothic soap opera that ran in the 60s and 70s, “Dark Shadows” tells the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), an heir to his family’s fortune. However, after rebuffing the love of a witch, he is cursed to become a vampire. Buried for almost 200 years, Collins wakes up in 1972 and must revitalize his family’s name in town and seek revenge on the witch who cursed and imprisoned him.
What’s great about “Dark Shadows” is what is always great in a Tim Burton movie. It has fantastic production design and amazing imagery. The cinematography is top notch, and the make-up and effects are near-seamless. Additionally, Johnny Depp as Burton’s forever muse plays the role of Collins deliciously well, even if it is a bit of a sour note compared to Jonathan Frid’s original portrayal.
However, “Dark Shadows” suffers from a sever focus problem. Some of it comes from the movie trying to pay homage too much to the tone of the original show, which often meandered in long-winded dialogue moments. But in the end, it never really knows what it’s trying to do. The love letter to the 70s is fun, and the lavish production value is hard to look away from. However, the story still falls flat a second time around.
The “Dark Shadows” Blu-ray looks fantastic, as does any Tim Burton movie, and Warner Bros. usually does a fine job with the video transfer. There are some special features, though it’s pretty slim for what you’d expect for a large release. There are several deleted scenes in various stages of completion. However, the better feature is the Maximum Movie Mode which features nine branching Focus Points that can be played separately or embedded in the feature itself.