Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why Dark Shadows will ultimately fail

Make fun of soap opera fans at your own risk.

That’s not a threat, just a warning.

Sure, it’s easy to pick on a group of people who enjoy watching a genre where evil twins, multiple personalities and back from the dead characters are the norm rather than the exception.

When you do that, though, you should realize that soap opera fans are fanatical about their genre.

We can go on message boards and bash the characters, writers, directors and other posters – but we love our shows. Those that are going to look down their noses at us should probably beware.

Tim Burton is now on that list of people who better hope he’s never in a dark alley with a group of soap opera fans – because he won’t come out alive.

When I first heard they were turning ‘Dark Shadows’ into a theatrical movie I was thrilled. My mother almost named me Daphne because of this show (thankfully that didn’t happen) – but the soap still rocked.

When I heard who the director and star (Johnny Depp) were going to be, I was intrigued. Not only was the original a campy wonder, but the 1990s revival was an atmospheric masterpiece. Burton and Depp could do something amazing with this story.

Then, when I saw the trailer, I was livid. Not only did Burton spit in the face of soap fans when he approached the project as a spoof, but he also appears to have lost his edge if the trailer is any indication. He went for every single lame joke that is out there – including the trite “tiny minstrels” in the television.

I will not see this movie on general principle.

I know it makes me a hypocrite to bash it without seeing it – something I would call others out on – but I refuse to give Burton a dime of my money for this hack job.

First of all, the reviews have been abysmal. Not only does everyone say the spoof aspect doesn’t work, but apparently Depp basically mugs his way through the entire film. He’s even been named one of the lamest vampires of all time.

Deadline is reporting that the movie looks to be limping to a $28 million opening (on a $175 million budget – ouch). That’s really not a bad number for a normal movie. For something that was supposed to be a summer blockbuster, though, and rake in $60 million in its opening weekend that is dismal.

When you add to that the fact that ‘Dark Shadows’ is now losing one morning show and one evening show so theaters can add two additional daily showings of ‘The Avengers’ – it looks like this movie is going to have a very short theater life.

Usually, I don’t wish actual financial devastation on any film. In this case, I’ll make an exception.
Burton’s last few films haven’t been great. I still thought he was a good filmmaker, though. Let’s hope he’s learned an important lesson here. If you take on soap fans, you might want to take them seriously.

What do you think? Are you glad ‘Dark Shadows’ is failing?


Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM 
Blogger Mike said...

It isn't failing.

I just came back from watching this movie, and it was FANTASTIC!

I am 53, saw the original series when it aired. Yup, I "ran home from school" to watch it. I LOVED the movie. Could some things have been done better? Maybe, but this was a great effort.

If you don't go see it yourself, you are simply giving in to the Burton HATERS that will hate ANYTHING Burton does no matter what. So I challenge you to see it for yourself, and do your OWN thinking! If you still think it's bad, so be it, but do that with your own thoughts, not somebody elses.

May 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

I'm a Burton lover -- but I will not give him a dime for this movie because he didn't approach it seriously. And it is failing. It's getting more than 60 percent unfavorable reviews and it's having theaters yanked from it. That is failing.

May 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM 
Blogger Mike said...

Then you are nothing but one of the small-minded haters, and I'm sad for you that you are taking this stance.

Dark Shadows as a whole was changed, and modified MANY times by Dan Curtis himself. Starting with "House of Dark Shadows" before the series even ended. Are you going to claim that the Willie Loomis of the 1991 series was meant to be SERIOUS? He was a buffoon, and DAN CURTIS who created the series was the one who made him that way.

I'm letting you know that if you don't see the movie yourself, you are WRONG to accept what you read from the other small-minded haters.

May 12, 2012 at 6:55 PM 
Blogger Mike said...

$65.5 MILLION posted this weekend alone worldwide!

That's failing?


[quote]Total Lifetime Grosses
Domestic: $28,805,000 44.0%
+ Foreign: $36,700,000 56.0%[/quote]

I just came back from seeing it a second time today. I think it's simply brilliant, and almost a home run.

May 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM 
Blogger Jessica said...

I saw this movie as well, tonight with my Mom and Dad. Mom watched the show in the 10th grade, LITERALLY running all the way home from school to watch it. I watched it in syndication on the SciFi network in the early 00s and was immediately hooked. Dad and I treated Mom to go it for Mother's day. Do NOT go thinking it's going to be EXACTLY like the show, because it's not, but it is a great movie! The original cast(including the now-late Jonathan Frid)do have a cameo in it. It's not a long one at all, but at least they're in it, and in Fangoria when interviewed they all enjoyed being a part of the movie (Lara and David still look fantastic!). Not a fan of the new Angelique and the ending(without giving anything away)was a bit weird for me, but my mom loved it and said it was a really cool twist and left wanting to see more. Do not let the preview(it's very dark and not as funny as they make it out to be) or negative movie reviews prevent you from seeing it. It really is a great movie and I WILL be seeing it again!

May 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM 
Blogger startreker said...

Im so glad this movie flopped during opening weekend. Being a "TRUE" Dark Shadows fan, I wouldn't spend 5 cents on this abomination!! Johhny Depp and his partner Tim Burton, CAN KISS IT WHERE THE SUN DONT SHINE!!

May 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM 
Blogger Jane said...

Thanks for the positive comments, Mike and Jessica. I can't wait to see this movie! And I am an original Dark Shadows fan, one who ran home from school to see it! I'm watching it again on Netflix right now. I also have the 90s version on dvd. Can't wait to see Burton's version with Depp as Barnabas!

May 23, 2012 at 5:36 AM 
Blogger Lewis said...

When I learned that both Burton and Depp were Dark Shadows fans, I thought they would do something decent -- which would be a change because I haven't liked any of their other collaborations. However, as soon as I saw the photos of Depp in costume -- in which he looked more like Michael Jackson than Barnabas Collins -- I knew it would be a flop. The next photo I saw was of Depp's talons, which were disgusting! What these two did to Dark Shadows was unforgivable. Absolutely NOTHING in the movie is reminiscent of the REAL Dark Shadows, i.e., the TV soap.

BTW, I noticed you mentioned liking the 1992 Dark Shadows revival. Well, you are one of the few who liked it. If someone other than Ben Cross had been chosen for the role of Barnabas, it might have been somewhat successful, but Cross lacked the appeal of Jonathan Frid. Furthermore, his height and booming voice made him come across as something more on the order of the Frankenstein monster than Barnabas, the reluctant vampire.

July 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM 

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