Blu-ray Review “Dark Shadows”

Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Running Time: 113 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I heard that Tim Burton was directing Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in “Dark Shadows”, I almost fell out of my chair. I am a big fan of the original series and low the duo’s past collaborations. This film was a bit disappointing and has a lot of story and pacing issues. Johnny Depp is brilliant in the film that otherwise feelings cloudy and claustrophobic. The screenplay is from Seth Grahame-Smith, author of “Pride & Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. This was also the last film that was produced by Oscar® winner Richard D. Zanuck (“Jaws”). Besides Depp, this also has a great supporting cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green (my second favorite) and Chloë Grace Moretz. Upon second viewing this film improved a bit but not even close enough to make this one of my top 20 of the year.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a high-definition Blu-ray and standard definition DVD copy of the film as well as an UltraViolet digital streaming copy. The 1080p transfer looks nearly perfect and really shines. The colors in the film are absolutely sharp and works well with light and dark situations. The audio is also nearly perfect with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The film relies heavily on its score and themed 70’s music and it comes with very clearly with this track. The special features are decent but lacking any commentary tracks, which I would have liked to seen with this release.

The special features are primarily made up with nine behind-the-film Focus Points. The first is called “Becoming Barnabas”, which takes us through Depp’s transformation. “Welcome to Collinsport!” takes us on a trip through the created town. “A Melee of Monstrous Proporitions” looks into the plans for the final battle sequence. “Angelique: A Witch Scorned” is a character profile with Johnny Depp and Eva Green chatting about their plot-relationship. “Reliving a Decade” takes Collinsport into the music of the 70s. “Dark Shadowy Secrets” brings us into the mind of Tim Burton for the films props and special effects that bring this world alive. “The Collinses: Every Family Has It’s Demons” looks at the rest of the Collin family with Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and their co-stars. “Cooper Rocks Collinsport!” is a party featurette with Alice Cooper and cast on the roof of Collinsport Manor. “Vampires, Witches and Werewolves, Oh My!” examines the twists behind Burton’s plans to include his favorite classic movie monsters in the gothic universe of Dark Shadows.

Synopsis: From the wonderfully warped imagination of Tim Burton comes the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a dashing aristocrat who is turned into a vampire by a jilted lover and entombed for two centuries. Emerging from his coffin into the world of 1972, he returns to his once-majestic home, only to the few dysfunctional descendants of the Collins family who remain. Determined to return his family name to its former glory, Barnabas is thwarted at every turn by his former lover – the seductive witch Angelique (Eva Green).

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