Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not Your Childhood Dark Shadows

Hey all,

I know I did a blog similar to this one a couple years ago, but I think another one is due.  Remember back when I talked about the remaking of movies?  You know, like Psycho and The Thing?  

And now there is a new trend where they take TV series and make them into a movie.  Examples are Mr. Bean, Alvin and the Chipmunks and even South Park.  But when they try to make a cult classic into a movie, it's a hit or miss operation.

Case in point.  The Star Trek movies.  While I wasn't impressed with the first one, I didn't think it sucked big hairy donkey balls the way a lot of critics did.  And I really enjoyed all the rest of them.  But I'm a trekkie and proud of it.  For the most part I accepted the way they "updated" things and could handle how they made Jim older (but not so much wiser), Bones just as starchy, though he had trouble walking, Scottie given it all he had in a uniform about three sizes too small, and of course Spock, who other than sagging jowls, seemed just the same as he did back in the sixties.  The others too, worked for me, so I was able to enjoy the movies.

The new Star Trek with hot Chris Pine and Zachery Pinto was a little bit harder to get into for me.  I loved the movie, don't get me wrong, but some of the changes made--Uhura bonking Spock--as well as the timeline switch did bother me a bit.  But I was able to get over it and just let the story take me away.

But I wasn't sure how I would respond to the new Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins.  I LOVED that show.  Loved, loved, loved it.  My best friend Kris and I would watch every episode and discuss it ad nauseum.   So when I heard they were making a movie out of it, AND Tim Burton was directing, I wondered just how out there it would be.

I saw a few of the trailers and knew immediately it wasn't my childhood Dark Shadows.  If the original was campy, this one was over the top, just short of ridiculous looking.  But...I always like to give a movie a fair chance, so while Jonathon went and saw Act of Valor (Good, but not enough SEAL action in his opinion) I went and sighed over Johnny.

Except I couldn't.  As Barnabas, his makeup was so over the top ,I couldn't get past it.  It was one of the things in the movie that to me was too much.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Knowing it wouldn't be MY remembered Dark Shadows, I tried to put that away and go into the movie as if it were a new story for me.  And I was able to for the most part.  The storyline was similar--but not exact, the actors all were pretty damn good in their parts and of course, Collinswood and the surrounding areas look pretty beautiful on screen.

Overall I liked the movie.  It WAS campy--majorly so--but I still enjoyed it.  Many times I found myself laughing out loud over something when I least expected it.  There were parts that were just silly, and IMHO it gave only a passing resemblance to the original, but it was fun, never-the-less.

The only thing I took exception to was...  ***SPOILER ALERT***

The sex scene between Angelique and Barnabas.  It was awful.  I mean, not in a too much sex way.  They made it silly and stupid, the both of them rolling around her office, destroying furniture and ripping holes in each other's clothes.  I think they were hoping for CAMP, but it was so over the top I cringed through the whole scene.  I was grateful for the obligatory cigarette at the end.  At least I knew it was over.

Part of it was it always bothers me when  a character--vampire, human, werewolf or space alien from the planet Zenox--has sex with someone they despise just to save the one they love.  Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.  As a plot device you'll NEVER see me using it.  One, I find it despicable when lovers cheat-no matter what reason--and two, it's lazy.  Find another way to introduce angst.  But keep his pants on while you do it!

Now you may think I'm panning this movie, but I'm not.  Other than a few missteps, I think it was very entertaining.  They set up for a sequel and I'd go see it.  But I warn all who are fans of the original, don't see the movie expecting a trip back in time to the Collinswood of your memories.  I'll say it again, it ISN'T your childhood Dark Shadows.

Instead try going into it with an open mind and just let it entertain you.  Once I did that, I had a great time.  Except for the weird makeup...and the sex scene.   And Helena Bonham Carter's hair.

Have you seen this movie?  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

See you on Friday with a tale from the Lighter Side of Life!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I have not seen it yet. I was very afraid when I first started seeing previews. Some of them made me laugh out loud...and I think the movie will too. The line about placing your two lips on my posterior is hilarious! Not sure when I can go to see it. But I will keep reminding myself that it is NOT my Dark Shadows and let it go for the extreme camp.

CJ England said...

Exactly, Phylis. I was too. Just don't think of it as the one you knew before and I think you WILL enjoy it.

Bellina said...

Hello CJ, saw Dark Shadows this weekend and was dissapointed. It was not funny enought to be a comedy, not creepy enough to be a thriller. You are so right about Depp's makeup and Bonham-Carter's hair. Ha-ha! The sex scene...yeah, didn't do much for me or really for the movie, IMOHO. The scene that most bothered me *spoiler alert* was the one with the hippies. They were such nice kids, I didn't want to see them die. It really made me dislike Barnabas after that.

No, it didn't suck big hairy donkey balls (ha-ha again!), but I wish we had seen Men In Black instead.

Good post!

Kelley Heckart said...

I saw Dark Shadows and was entertained, but I didn't love the movie. I don't remember much about the original series so maybe I went into it with a more open mind. From what I saw in the trailers, I expected the movie to be a lot funnier, I guess.

CJ England said...

Hey Bellina,

I'd forgotten about the hippies. And you're right. I hated that scene as well. It was hard to see Barnabas as a hero after that.

And go see Men in Black. It was awesome!!!

CJ England said...

I was entertained, too, CC. At least during parts of it. But it was bits and pieces funny, not laugh out loud funny.

Unknown said...

I'm a huge fan of the original. It was a fav childhood show.

I loved the new one. It was classic Tim Burton. Over the top and it never tried to be too serious. Had I expected a clone, it would have been a let down but we laughed all the way through it. The sex scene wasn't the best scene but I don't think it detracted from the movie too much. LOL