Starting a separate thread so that folks who haven't seen the picture yet can look at the regular thread if they want to without fear of spoilers.
1)By and large, I enjoyed it. Possibly they overdid the comedy a touch, and they certainly overdid the "My, weren't the 1970's wacky" angle, but mostly I didn't find the humorous touches too obnoxious. Though, really, to pay true tribute to the old show, they should've kept one disastrously bad take or particularly egregious Hartnellism in the finished picture. As it is, the Silver Age Dark Shadowers are only in it very briefly - blink and you'll miss them. A question about the music - I didn't hear anything I recognized as the theme from the TV show in there - in the closing credits there was mention of something called "The Secret Room", by Bob Cobert. Is that some other name for the theme song?
2)I'm not the world's biggest Johnny Depp mark. I'm pretty sure the only pictures I've seen him in are A Nightmare on Elm Street and Ed Wood. That said, I thought he did did OK as Barnabas. He's no Frid, but I don't think he was trying to be, really. He may've overdone the "fish out of water" stuff a tad - I'm pretty sure that the concept of a paved road shouldn't've been all that mind-boggling.
3)Michelle Pfeiffer was good as Elizabeth. Didn't quite have Joan Bennett's "Violating my dignity would crack open space-time" quality, but she did quite well, I thought.
4)Helena Bonham Carter is definitely a better actress than Grayson Hall (It'd be hard not to be), but I was a little surprised at the decision to make Julia a raging drunk. I saw the scene at the very end coming, but I would of been disappointed if we hadn't of had it - there's such a thing as tradition, after all.
5)I never saw much of Lara Parker's time on the show, so I can't really do a comparison - I did like Eva Green as Angelique, however. Very energetic, that woman.
6)Jackie Earl Holliman was good as Matthew Morgan Willie Loomis. Good comedic touch, that man.
7)Just as well Roger wasn't in it, much. There aren't too many men that could live up to Louis Edmonds, and Jonny Lee Miller isn't one of them.
8)Hit-Girl was OK as Carolyn - a bit younger than I expected. Carolyn's "secret" was a little over the top - towards the end I felt as though I was watching The Secret Origin of the Munsters. Nice touch having Carolyn do the "Mommy, where's daddy?" bit.
9)A nice touch, having David's mother appear when everything was on fire.
10)Barnabas Collins meets Saruman!
11)As for Alice Cooper - I guess the 1970's were pretty wacky, weren't they?
12)My first thought when I saw Widows' Hill was "They really need a guard rail up there."
Overall: As I say, I liked it - enough that I'd pick it up when it came out on disk, even.
It occurs to me that I've made no mention of Bella Heathcote as Maggie Evans/Victoria British Columbia Winters, possibly because she was kind of a non-presence for large chunks of the picture, considering she was Barnabas' fated forever love reincarnated. She never even used her Special Victoria Winters Interminable Foundling Home Story Spiral Crisis Spin Wave Attack! Give her credit, Heathcote did achieve near-Moltkean levels of "My name is Victoria Winters, I am a low-grade Auton duplicate" stiffness.
...George , you've got an excellent point !!!!!!!!! ( One I was going to make . )
Is that symbolic to Burton/the writer , that they set it " after " the conclusion of the original series ???
I saw the bit involving the Carpenters' " Top Of The World " , the hit/single remix version of which didn't come out 'til 1973 , IIRC .
...Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls' !!!!!!!!! Ringy dingy .
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
Rowan and Martin's Laugh in did the same with the censors.
George Poague said:
'Now I can see their problems but I can also see the restrictions of the time."
Yes. Robert Blake fought some famous battles with ABC over Baretta's content. He wanted it to be much more gritty and realistic than the network allowed. Now you could do a show like that on cable or HBO (i.e., The Wire), but that wasn't allowed on network in the '70s.
That said, I have the first season of Baretta on DVD and it isn't that bad. It does have more violence and profanity than other cop shows of the time -- though nothing like you'd have seen in a movie.
Saturday Night Live got away with a lot by being on late at night, and by being specifically tailored for a young, hip audience. That, plus the fact that the NBC censors didn't get half the jokes.
The “cameos” were not what I was expecting. I was expecting something more along the lines of the original Lost in Space cast members’ appearances in the theatrical version of that ‘60s TV show. These might well have been extras.
I saw the movie score in B&N before I saw the movie. Unfortunately, they have removed their listening stations (because they were too expensive to maintain and didn’t generate enough sales, if you’re curious). I think it was all Danny Elfman soundtrack music but I didn’t look too closely at the track listing. (I’ve had more than one film spoiled by a too-descriptive track title!). the period music was roughly 50% classic, 50% crap (but intentional crap, depending on the mood trying to be achieved). Wouldn’t mind seeing a soundtrack album in addition to the score.
I missed not hearing the opening strains of the TV title music anywhere in the film, either. Not since Star Trek: The Motion Picture has a piece of music been so egregiously missing. It’s not as if it’s that long, either! You’d think Elfman could have fit it in somewhere. I spied that Robert Cobert “The Secret Room” credit in the end scroll, too, but I’m not certain exactly what that piece is. It’s on my TV show soundtrack CD, though. I didn’t notice any TV music in the film, in any case.
My favorite part of Depp’s “fish out of water” performance was his dialogue.
One of the reviews I read says it sets up a sequel, but I don’t really agree. Whereas it’s certainly open-ended, I wouldn’t really care to see another film set in this particular “parallel time.” (What I would really like to see is a new TV show, done as straight up gothic horror, with the movie’s production values.) In the TV show, virtually every character got a turn wearing the fangs at one time or another, but the movie gives them to two characters who never wore them on TV (and a third character carries a different curse as well), but I’m not going to say exactly who or what. This is a “spoiler” thread and that’s spoiler enough.
As you seem to, Bob, I think Jackie Earl Holliman’s character would have been better named “Matthew” than “Willie.” We got something of a shock when Roger Collins adopted some of the characteristics of Paul Stoddard from TV, but the real head-scratcher came early on with the reveal of Vicki Winters’ true identity.
I didn't feel this was setting up for a sequel, although I suppose one would be possible if they wanted to, enough. To an extent, it felt more like they had a list of points they wanted to check off a list - like a sightseer wanting to see everything in town in one day.
Don't know if they will do a sequel, though. Due to bad planning, this movie seems destined to go down in history as the answer to the question, "If Barnabas Collins fought the Avengers, who do you think would win?" One reviewer suggested that they may have overestimated the appeal this picture might have outside of diehard Dark Shadows fans, that the lure of the Depp/Burton combo isn't going to pull in as many non-fans as they might have hoped.
...or isn't going to pull in as many non-fans as it might have if Joss Whedon had directed it.
FWIW, Colleen Doran post a brief review on her Facebook fan page page today. She didn't like it at all: "It's like its only vampiric power is to suck the joy out of pop culture itself. "
YMMV, of course.
I saw it today and liked it well enough. I didn't think that it was that funny but it had some cute moments. I know just enough about Dark Shadows to "get" it but not enough to scream at the screen, "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???"*
Johnny Depp was good. It's not one of his best portrays but he had the right amount of comedic timing and pathos.
Michelle Pfeiffer was Michelle Pfeiffer, practically ageless herself. The irony of her with a "bat-man" is not lost on me as was Christopher Lee encountering a vampire.
Eva Green's Angelique had me quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "Oh let me have a little peril!"
The mansion set was a character in and of itself.
Now I know why some reviewer call Victoria Winters a ghostly presence. She disappears throughout the movie, almost haunting Barnabas. You almost forget about her and then there she is.
My main complaint was that Carolyn was too provacative for her age as she really is a teenager. But that could just be me. Her secret was interesting but unnecessary unless they're already thinking sequel.
And the happy ending is the major difference between a movie and episodic TV.
All-in-all, I'd give it a B- and would recommend it to even nonDark Shadowians.
*You guys have to get a grip! It's just a TV show. You treat it as something serious...like Star Trek. Did you see that remake? They put Chekhov there at the beginning!! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????
I took Steve Bissette's advice. When he compared it to MARS ATTACKS (one of my favorites) I figured, okay, I gotta see this. Fun flick. My biggest surprise, honestly, was Christopher Lee's cameo. Cool.
I appreciated that they created a "Collinwood" that actually resembled the REAL one. Which neither HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS of the 90's remake did. (Imposing those 2 mansions may be, they're just not "Collinwood" to me. And the 90's house-- which is in California-- had already been used in Aaron Spelling's DS rip-off, DARK MANSIONS, 5 years earlier! Almost a shame that never got past the pilot.
The ONLY piece of Robert Cobert music in the entire film is the very first piece of music, right at the very beginning. That's it. Can't be more than 30 seconds.
It occurs to me that the movie reflects a problem that the TV show developed eventually, namely, the lineage through which the Collins family descended. In the TV, Jeremiah Collins was the Collins family patriarch early on in the series’ run. He built Collinwood and he married Josette. Later, after Barnabas was introduced, it was established that Barnabas’ father Joshua was the patriarch of the family and that Jeremiah was Joshua’s brother. By the end of Barnabas’ origin story [SPOILERS FOR TV’s 1795 STORYLINE], Barnabas was a vampire, Jeremiah was dead, Josette was dead, Barnabas’ little sister Sarah was dead, and none of them had any offspring, meaning that the modern day Collins family not only didn’t descend from Jeremiah (as had always been implicit), it didn’t even descend from Joshua, but rather from Joshua’s adopted son Daniel. [END TV SPOILER]
But the Collins family line of descent is even more problematic in the movie. [BEGIN MOVIE SPOILER] Barnabas’ (unnamed) parents were shown to have had only one child, Barnabas, and his father no siblings. By the time Barnabas was cursed, his parents had both been killed by Angelique [END MOVIE SPOILERS], so who was the patriarch of modern day Collins family in the film?
I have been waiting years for a big budget Dark Shadows movie if for no other reason than to buy a replica prop of Barnabas’ ring. I’ve scoured antique and jewelry stores for years but have never found anything suitable. Past Dark Shadows replica rings have been made in the past (I even have one), but they’re cheap toys; I’m looking for an actual piece of jewelry I could wear to a formal party. Those companies which make replica Harry Potter wands and batarangs and whatnot would surely make a Barnabas ring. I was disappointed to observe that they had changed the design of Depp’s ring in comparison to Frid’s.
The cane is different, too. The design is identical, but instead of being made of brass (“silver and gold” on TV), it carved from ivory. That’d be a cool thing to own, but Tracy bought a high quality prop cane for me years ago.
Minor correction: Jeremiah was Joshua's much-younger brother, and Barnabas' uncle (because of their ages, they were LIKE brothers).
What’s the correction? “Much younger”? that reminds me of something else I wanted to say, though. If they ever do a serious treatment of Dark Shadows, I’d like to see them restore the original backstory as established by Art Wallace, before later writers mucked about sending Vicki to the past. Here’s the way I would like to see it written…
First, I would make Jeremiah and Barnabas brothers, but rivals
Joshua and Naomi built the original Collinwood (now the Old House) where Jeremiah and Barnabas were reared
Jeremiah built Collinwood for his bride, Josette
Barnabas had a dalliance with Josette’s maid, Angelique
Barnabas was given the task of teaching Josette to speak English, but he fell in love with her
In a moment of weakness, Josette succumbs to Barnabas’ charms
That’s a story that has never been shown on screen.