This is not because the overall view is necessarily wrong but because the way it has been judged is unfair. Since the film released its trailer (and the trailer is too comically orientated for the overall tone of the film) there has been outraged spat furiously across the internet. This comes from those who were fans of the original series. I never saw any of it until recently, indeed most outside the US never did. I did, regular readers will recall, look at the Barnabas Collins UK set very recently and I enjoyed it… I enjoyed it despite itself, despite visible equipment, rocking sets and fluffed lines. The soap opera was compelling (but, of course, that is what the soap opera formula is renowned for) but this film should be judged on its own merits and failures, and not through rose-tinted glasses that have been wedged to one’s nose with a fanatical hand.
As I look at this, my first impression of the film, I shall attempt to look at it on its own merits and will therefore offer spoilers, and if the previous paragraphs seem harsh I will say that I stand by them especially as the film is flawed enough in its own right.
Why flawed? Well the film, I think, is a vehicle of missed opportunity that contains issues that were either a very clever pastiche of the Soap Opera formula or unforgivable lapses in logic. It was a film that looks gorgeous on the surface but lacked substance underneath and perhaps included too much as those who created the story (John August and Seth Grahame-Smith) lost track of what to par down and what to keep.
|Barnabas and Angelique|
|Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth|
|Carolyn publicity still|
|Bella Heathcote as Josette|
|A man out of time|
|Johnny Depp as Barnabas|
Overall I found the film average. I will watch again, I will enjoy Depp’s performance for what it is (and enjoy Chloë Grace Moretz stealing her scenes), I will chuckle at the genuinely amusing moments and I will enjoy the obvious style but I will mourn the lack of story and absence of substance. EDIT: After re-watching on DVD I have decided that this should be scored at 5 out of 10 - and I think I am being generous as, despite the look, performances from the key stars and my love of Burton films this is a disjointed, narrative free effort.
The imdb page is here.