First Hit: This film was a study in what Tim Burton likes to create, however it wasn’t very entertaining to the audience.
When there are very few laughs in a film that is labeled a comedy there is a problem.
This was a somewhat convoluted story where a witch (how did she become one?) is more powerful than a vampire but not more powerful than a ghost. What was this film about?
Was it a film about long lost love, trying to tie together across 200 years? Or was it was about fishing, fish canning and how one family wanted to control it in a small town in Maine? Or was it was about great sex between a witch and a mortal but it wasn't enough to create a lasting relationship?
Heck, I really don't know but it might have been about Tim Burton plying his trade of creating fun off kilter spooky characters which have little basis in reality with no plot. Barnabas Collins (played by Johnny Depp) is the soul who doesn’t want to love a witch so he is turned into a vampire and is dug up from his grave 200 years later. He returns to his family home now run by Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (played by Michelle Pfeiffer).
She is the matriarch of the now crumbling fishing and canning Collins Empire. Dr. Julia Hoffman (played by Helena Bonham Carter) comes to try and heal the vampire Barnabas. But how and why they found this person is completely left off the script. Which indicated that this was a totally unneeded and unwarranted part, but a way to get Carter, Burton’s wife, some work.
Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) was another useless part as Elizabeth’s son. Eva Green played the witch Angelique Bouchard, who was one of two major protagonists in this story.
The third wheel was Victoria Winters/Josette DePres (played by Bella Heathcote) who was loved by and was in love with Barnabas but was killed centuries ago by Witch Angelique. Again, like Barnabas, she comes back to fulfill her love/dream.
This whole film is convoluted and didn’t make a good story worth telling. There was little intrigue but it did have Burton’s trademark ghoulishness.
Depp was OK as his character but the film was so poor it felt like he was re-treading past Burton work. Pfeiffer was lost and very miscast in this film and she simply doesn’t do ghoul well. She’s better off in a dynamic part. Bonham Carter as she has done lately, try to be over the top (see her stuff in Harry Potter films) as oppose to acting. The part was unneeded for this story and therefore her value was minimal. Miller was a wasted character and I had no idea why it was part of the film. Green was the most interesting of characters in the film. Her gazes and temperament were excellent for this part. Heathcote, was beautiful but in a role which was not fully utilized. There could have been more depth to this part. Jackie Earle Haley has a small part in this film as the Collins mansion handy man and unfortunately there was little Haley could do with this part. Seth Grahame-Smith and John August wrote a wasteful script which had a very flimsy storyline and dialogue was of little use. Burton does great visuals (bright red car, lipstick and dress for Angelique), but overall this story lacked something worth watching. It is a far cry from Edward Scissorhands and, my favorite, Beetlejuice.
Overall: Don’t waste your time. This film isn’t funny nor is it an interesting story.