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For common moviegoers, as well as fans of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Dark Shadows (the legendary duo's 8th collaboration), might provoke the "seen it" response. As in, Depp is bumbling around in white makeup in a visually stunning, gothic environment, again. For fans of the original Dark Shadows, this movie means a lot more than accusing Tim Burton of being too predictable. This is the moment we finally get to see what a high-budget, professionally made version of Barnabas Collins' story looks like, made by the best in the business.
Of course, most die hard fans of Jonathan Frid and the original show will probably hate the Hollywood remake, as they would. For those of you who remain undecided, check out the roundup of reviews below before heading to the theater. Be sure to check back once you've seen the movie!
New York Times
NYT Critics Pick
“Dark Shadows” isn’t among Mr. Burton’s most richly realized works, but it’s very enjoyable, visually sumptuous and, despite its lugubrious source material and a sporadic tremor of violence, surprisingly effervescent.... And while there may not be any deeper resonance lurking in his “Dark Shadows” — the show first surfaced in the middle of the Vietnam War, when real horror was playing out daily in the news — Mr. Burton’s gift for deviant beauty and laughter has its own liberating power.
Depp's performance is more than just funny — it's ghoulishly endearing. He caresses each line with great care, as if it were a piece of candy he's unwrapping, and he gives Barnabas, in his very demonic intensity, a quality of almost elfin innocence that recalls the characters Depp has most memorably played for Burton: Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Willy Wonka.
Thought it was Okay
Rolling Stone Magazine
If you're not interested in what Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton are cooking up, you're missing out on one of the best go-your-own-way teams in screen history. Dark Shadows, their eighth collaboration to date, doesn't occupy the rarefied air of Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd. It's too scattershot for the pantheon, but at least as good as Alice and Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Burton's visuals are a sumptuous treat, as is Depp's unerring sense of mischief, playing Barnabas Collins, a vampire with family problems.
Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" is all dressed up with nowhere to go, an elegant production without a central drive. It offers wonderful things, but they aren't what's important. It's as if Burton directed at arm's length, unwilling to find juice in the story. Yes, the original TV soap opera is a cult classic, but he approaches his "Dark Shadows" as an amusing trifle, and for a feature-length film, we need more than attitude to sink our teeth in.
Slate - Dana Stevens
Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.) was probably a beneficiary of the low expectations I brought into it. Tim Burton adapts a late-'60s/early '70s TV soap about a melancholy vampire, with Johnny Depp in the lead: All the elements of that sound so drearily familiar, from vampires to TV-shows-turned-movies to Burton/Depp collaborations in camp-Gothic mode... But there’s something there that elevates Burton’s Dark Shadows above the strained, plodding whimsy of his Alice: At least he and Depp, both avowed childhood fans of the original series, seem to be in their element and having a grand old time.
Some of director Tim Burton's costume parties are livelier than others, and the new "Dark Shadows" — from the man who gave us "Edward Scissorhands," "Sweeney Todd," "Alice in Wonderland" and other chalkface-makeup spectaculars starring Johnny Depp — feels like a place-holder, a meandering first draft of an adaptation of the supernatural soap opera that ran on ABC-TV from 1966 to 1971.
When Tim Burton and Johnny Depp decided, "Oh, wouldn't it be fun to make a movie out of the campy '60s TV show Dark Shadows," the correct response should have been the following three words: Wild Wild West.
Christy Lemire - AP
You don't need to know a thing about the late-'60s "Dark Shadows" TV series that provides the inspiration. Tonally, thematically, visually, you've seen this movie before, with its oddball characters, skies in varying shades of gray and a foreboding sense of gothic mystery. No one gets challenged here; no one gets pushed.
Now it's time for Wikian's to review Dark Shadows. If you have seen the movie, post your thoughts in the comments or post your own blog!