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I saw the new Dark Shadows movie the other day.  I really don’t know why it isn’t doing better.  But then again, I don’t always go with the crowd.  I thought it was fabulous!  And several days later, it’s still making me feel good.

The opening was a quick recap of how Barnabas Collins became a vampire, for those who don’t know. It set us up for an eerie, gothic tale.

However, I laughed out loud several times, had a couple of laughing fits and smiled quite bit.  Even days later.

It was a big picture with stunning interiors and breathtaking exteriors.

There was a love story, too.  Although the emphasis was more on Barnabas and Angelique, rather than his true love, Josette.  He and Angelique had a much funnier relationship.

I have to admit there were some liberties taken with characters and story line, from the original.  But it’s pretty difficult to contain the story developed through a 5-year soap, or even the very amusing 90’s series with 14 episodes.

As always Johnny Depp made Barnabas his own and was completely mesmerizing. (Though I am a little partial to anything he does.)  He wasn’t the engaging Jonathan Frid, nor the sensual Ben Cross.  He was elegant and strong, passionate and loyal. And he was very funny.  These previous Barnabas Collins never had a lot of trouble adjusting to life 200 years in the future.  Set in 1972, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadow of 2012 had lots of fun with the era and Barnabas’ perplexed responses.

Helena Bonham Carter did a great job with the very different Dr. Julia Hoffman.  In other versions she was an intellectual and reserved doctor who was the only one to share Barnabas’ secret.  This incarnation was a worthless drunkard.

Some of the story twists were a bit contrived or out of nowhere.  But I was having such a good time it didn’t bother me at all.

A special feature that I missed on this first viewing was the addition of several actors from the original series, appearing as guests at the Collins’ ball.  Including the recently deceased, Jonathan Frid.

Perhaps its less than stellar box office performance  is because the movie is hard to pin down.  All I know is that I enjoyed every moment of it and still feel delighted when I think of it!

One side note on the negative slant:  After this experience at a movie theater, we have decided that it’s too expensive for what you get.  With a wide screen digital TV at home and a substantial audio system, the picture and sound are better in our living room.  Plus, it’s more comfortable at home and the movie can be paused for bathroom breaks or snacks.  I won’t have to pay $4.75 for tap water in a plastic bottle! Absolutely criminal. Nor will I fork over ridiculous prices to get on.  There will be no trying to shut out anyone talking around me.  Next time, I’m going to wait for the DVD.

I’ve noticed recently a new “Men in Black” III is coming.  I loved the first “Men in Black.” Certainly up there with some of my favorite movies.  I can’t say, though,  that I’m looking forward to the third installment.

The first one had an amazing cast.  Many of whom are not returning.  Most notably, Rip Torn.  And also Linda Fiorentino. Who is always a pleasure.  Vincent D’onofrio, I guess, was destroyed in the first movie.  But Edgar and his wife were some of my favorite characters. The array characters were such fun, intriguing or rich and multi-faceted.

The second one, I have to admit, I saw, but do not remember. Nothing in it touched me. Not like the original at all.

I liked the statement the first movie made about “aliens” vs. people from another country who live on Earth.  It was interesting to me that there’s always something threatening the planet.  We prefer not to know about the weird goings on and feel “we have a bead on things,” according to K.  I appreciated the take on size not mattering and how we humans always think that just because something’s important it has to be big.

There were so many great lines in that movie.  Like Edgar’s wife, when describing him after returning from investigating the loud noise in the front yard, said it was like he was “wearing an Edgar suit.” Perhaps I liked it so much because I was just discovering this new world.

Another thing that struck me was a device MIB had that read thoughts.  K told us that human thought, around the galaxy, is seen as “an infectious disease.”  Perfect!  The ending reverberated with me as we panned way out to see that our galaxy is nothing more than a ball in some creature’s bag on a playing field.  Big thoughts!

Perhaps it‘s not about highlighting universal concepts.  Maybe it’s just about having fun.  I will probably eventually see MIB III.  I can only hope it’s more memorable than the second.  Truthfully, if I was going to the theatre in May, I would see the far more appealing “Dark Shadows.”

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