Sadly, this movie can be summed up in one sentence: Tim Burton failed! Wow, it feels bad to say it but it is true. We could also add: Johnny Depp failed! To state it simply and obviously, I was very disappointed in this film.
The previews made this look like another funny, quirky movie from Burton and Depp and it certainly starts that way. The movie begins with a voice-over narrative that introduces Depp’s character Barnabus Collins, a member of the rich Collins family that has founded his town and rules with love and power. However, Barnabus attracts the love of the wrong person when the house maid falls in love with him and he sleeps with her but denies his love for her. He screwed over the wrong person; the maid is in fact a witch and curses Barnabus into a vampire. He is then trapped in a coffin and buried, only to be released by accident two centuries later. When Barnabus returns to the world, it is the 1970’s and he must help his decedents reclaim their company and fortune. This is all fine and well except the plot goes downhill fast after this.
Depp is humorous as usual and the movie mixes a nice dark atmosphere and humor as a Burton film always does…that is until about the thirty minute mark. The plot quickly unravels and I was shocked that a film with such a horrible plot managed to be made! I haven’t seen a plot fall apart like this in a long time and I never expected it to come from Burton and Depp, who I usually love. I have tried to figure out why this movie disappointed me so much. Yes, the plot stunk…I mean really stunk, as in my 13 year old nephew could write a much better one. But what else was it? The acting was good for the crappy script they were given, weird but good, and the soundtrack was fun. Yup, it must have purely been the plot. OH and the fact that this film screamed horribly of being only a paycheck maker! I thought most of these actors could afford to pass on a film like this but apparently they all just needed a quick check to pass their time until their next good film. Really, Johnny Depp? You are worth millions! Really Michelle Pfeiffer? You’re an icon! I’ll give a pass to the lesser known names because I’m sure they needed money, but really Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter? You’re like the Hollywood It Couple for weird money-making movies. You could have scrapped this project before it made it to the screens and stole my money and two hours of my life. Heck, it wasn't even two hours. You could have used an extra fifteen minutes to make it two hours and possibly explain away some of the discrepancies that were THROWN at the audience randomly at the end. Considering this movie was based on the TV show that ran from 1966-1971, you would think they could covered the plot a little better or just thrown out what really wasn’t needed. You know it’s a bad sign when the audience is laughing, not because the movie is funny but because it was ridiculous!
I could write for hours on how disappointed I was by this film but instead I’ll leave it at that. I’m still working on redoing my rating system so I’ll just say, if I had to, I’d give this film a 2 out of 5 stars with the two stars only being earned by the first 30 minutes, some funny lines and a hilarious sex scene. I sure hope Burton’s Frankenweenie will be much better than this monstrosity. I’m hoping the much needed time he neglected to give this film was given to his next film. In the future, it would do him well to actually flesh out the plot and treat his audiences like they are just a wee bit smarter than a cantaloupe. I don’t like plot points being told to me at the end of a movie rather than being shown to me throughout the film, especially when the plot points do nothing for the plot. This was such a sad experience for me…I think I need to go watch Sleepy Hallow and Nightmare Before Christmas to recover!