I just saw Dark Shadows (2012) on Netflix today. It took me two sittings to finish the movie and the conclusion is; Dark Shadows is the worst kind of movie; The one that had so much potential but ended up being a great, huge disappointment.
The best part about watching Netflix is that the only thing you waste when watching a bad movie is time and to be honest one can learn allot from bad movies to. So a waste of time may be an exaggeration. I’d feel worse to know I had supported the many godawful projects one can see on Netflix in a monetary way. Now, I am sure that Netflix pays its dues but I dont think crappy movies make as much money from me streaming the movie as if I rented it in a store or watched it in the cinema. At least that’s a lie I keep telling myself.
So anyway, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows was on Netflix, and the first thing I thought was “That was soon” and then I knew that the movie had to have been a flop. The viewerrating on Netflix was 2 out of 5 stars but as stated earlier I had only time to waste so I watched the movie. As with most movies I think is really bad it didnt end with anger when the movie ended, not really sadness either, but a kind of emptiness. The emptiness of loss. The loss of great opportunity.
The movie lasted about average time (look it up on IMDB if you need to know the timecode) and it was not at any time boring. For that it was too mind numbing and visually flashing. I only fast forwarded once, during that very stupid and unnecessary “sex scene” that gave me a kind embarrassed feeling. Some jokes I did laugh at and some I raised my eyes about but mostly I just felt the jokes was kind of too on the nose. They were too much in my face and not very bright. But I knew what I was getting into; I had seen the trailer. It sickened me to the core.
In Sum: The movie is a kind of “fish out of water;/em>” comedy about an 18th century vampire awakening in the 1970s with “hilarious concqeunces” like weed references and “magic tv boxes“ (get it? TV is new to him).
Everything in this movie would have worked separately. The style of Tim Burton is as usual good (although the cynic in me would perhaps add; “overdone“?), the actors are quality material as well. I especially liked seeing Michelle Pfeiffer back in action as the tired matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Every characters showed elements of greatness and with another angel would have worked, but in this movie it all falls flat on the comedy. This movie should not have been one.
I can not say I am a know’er of the Dark Shadows franchise. I never saw the original Gothic soap-opera from the 1960s although I did see and was huge fan of the “re-imaging” series Dark Shadows from 1991. A show that ended much too early. Although I admit I do not know much about the original show I would make the following assumption; Its a campy soap-opera with Gothic, supernatural and horror elements in it. I would guess the show was dialogue based, with regular soap-opera elements like infidelity, backstabbing and murder mixed with elements of vampire, ghost and werewolf’s done in a somewhat serious manner even if the result was probably comedic at times.
What Tim Burton does, and what so many other far worse directors has done before him, is that he thinks re-imaging an old tv-show is to make fun of it and point out it’s nostalgic absurdities. If you take Charlie’s Angels (2000), The Brady Bunch movie (1995), 21 Jump Street (2012) (and many more) you’ll see the same “we know it stupid” jokes and ridicule of the original premis.
We dont need Tim Burton to “point out the joke”. We get that the show and idea is campy. No need to rub it in with slapstick and other nonsense. If Tim Burton had made the movie more serious, less flamboyant we still would smile about the blender ideas of all the elements mixed together. I just dont get why someone who claims to be a fan of the show think the correct representation to a new audience is to mock it. If Barnabas Collins wasnt undead and out and about he would have been rolling in his grave.
I just hope they dont do it to any future Dallas (1978) reimagning on the big screen. Sure they could have made Bobby more of a party boy and make JR completely unsympathetic in is viciousness. They could make Pam a true gold digger and Sue Ellen a diva without any redeeming qualities. Who knows it may even work. Its good to take elements from the orginal show and explore parts left unansered, like how Lucy really reacted to know she had slept with her uncle. But how ever the creative hacks of Hollywood wants to ruin my memories of that show please… PLEASE… PLEASE dont make it a postmodern comedy where some idiots wants to point out the camp by setting it on fire.