Normally, this isn’t really the kind of movie I’d be up for. Another vampire movie, another Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration, another period piece. Gag me with a spoon. But, the previews actually looked decent and it reminded me a bit of The Munsters, which I loved, though I never saw the original Dark Shadows series (it’s queued up in Netflix, I swear).
So, finally, it came on HBO and I watched. What a pleasant surprise! It IS funny, and it’s actually really entertaining!
The story centers around Barnabus Collins (Depp) and his descendents, the Collins family. Barnabus was in love with a woman named Josette way back when he was still alive, but he was having an affair with the household help, Angelique, played by Eva Green.
Angelique, jealous of Josette, kills her to have Barnabus all to herself, but has to turn Barnabus into a vampire to save him from going over the cliff after his lost love. When he refuses to requite her love, she locks him in a coffin and buries him, where he stays until some construction workers show up and happen across the box three hundred years later.
Barnabus has a little trouble adjusting to the 20th century, but the story is more about how he helps his family reclaim their status in the town, which has fallen quite a long ways from the time when he was alive. Meanwhile, Angelique is still alive and still trying to win Barnabus’s affections. Rebuffed again, she turns her vengeance on his family.
While the vampires can go out during the day (umbrella-laden at least), it’s not too tough to buy into. The story itself is funny, sweet, and even a little heartbreaking at times. However, despite starpower from Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes on CBS’s Elementary), Jackie Earle Haley (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010, Little Children), Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), and even a visit from the one and only Alice Cooper, the main attraction is Depp and his character’s story. Still, Eva Green damn near steals the show.
To be honest, I have never liked Green. I felt like she was not pretty enough to be a Bond girl (Casino Royale), and her acting skills left something to be desired. But after seeing her in this movie, I think she’s found her niche. Playing a villain helped improve my opinion of her because she does it so well, but she was also brilliant at the comic parts. I really hope that she takes more roles that allow her to be funny, because I think she has more of a knack for it than for the dramatic roles.
The biggest complaint I have is one of logic. I won’t be able to explain it because it involves a (semi-predictable) plot twist that doesn’t arrive until the end, but I have to say that I was extremely disappointed and frustrated by it because it didn’t logically fit with a couple key pieces of the plot.
Despite that, it was still a really fun movie and totally worth seeing. A performance by Alice Cooper midway through is just icing on the cake.
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