Dark Shadows Blu-ray Combo pack review

  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, John August
  • Producers: Johnny Depp, Richard D. Zanuck, Graham King, Christi Dembrowski, David Kennedy
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: October 2, 2012
  • Run Time: 113 minutes

  •             Dark Shadows looks like vintage Tim Burton. It has the look and feel of Beetlejuice, mixed with a little bit of The Witches of Eastwick. There are some spectacular visual sequences in which we are treated to the style which Burton is known for. The final sequence has a house coming to life through the trickery of a witch, and this moment feels like Burton at his best. I only wish that as much attention were given to Seth Grahame-Smith’s screenplay adaptation of the cult British series, “Dark Shadows.”

                Vampires, werewolves and witches fill this comical fantasy film, but it is the performances which are most outrageous. Johnny Depp seems to enjoy the freedom that comes with a Tim Burton film. Occasionally his performance is too weird even for Burton (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland), but Dark Shadows is just strange enough to be fun. Depp stars as Barnabas Collibns, a man whose affair with his chambermaid Angelique (Eva Green) turns out to be a huge mistake. Angelique is a witch, so when left heartbroken she curses Barnabas to become a vampire.

                After being entombed for two centuries, Barnabas emerges in 1972 and returns home to a house full of his dysfunctional descendant, including a matriarchal figure (Michelle Pfeiffer). The problem with the film from this point on is that it seems to have little direction in-between gags. Barnabas takes over the family business to try and push Angelique out, who is still around town and a successful business owner with the absence of competition. Barnabas returns to make the family business a success, but there is no accounting for the trickery that Angelique is willing to resort to. This storyline is rather muddled and dull, until a final conclusion filled with magic and special effects.

                The Blu-ray release of Dark Shadows comes with a DVD and Ultraviolet copy as well, but the special features are somewhat lacking. There are some deleted scenes, though none worth writing home about. The only special feature which truly enhances the package is the Maximum Movie Mode, which is exclusive to Blu-ray. It allows the viewer an insider look at the making-of the film with nine behind-the-scenes featurettes during playback.  

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