Monday, May 7, 2012

Outlook: Optimistic

So, the new Dark Shadows movie finally opens this week. Fans have been strangely quiet lately, possibly exhausted from our constant bitching about the many, many things wrong with that first trailer. A lot of folks are too angry, while a lot of others are too forgiving. Most of us drew our battle lines a long time ago and have been content to sulk on the sidelines as Warner Bros has continued its hostile takeover of the Dark Shadows brand.

Our civil war hasn't been terribly civil, and I feel fortunate that this blog has forced me to take a moderate approach to the new movie. Yes, I know I used the words "hostile takeover" in the previous paragraph, but I'm mostly bitter about the way fans have been ignored by the Warner Bros movie machine. These are the people who kept interest alive in a television show for four decades after its cancellation. If anyone is talking about a Dark Shadows movie, it's because of the fans. Without them it would be just another cancelled TV show.

As far as WB is concerned, though, these people don't even exist. The studio had no significant presence at previous Dark Shadows festivals and have not reached out to any of the online fan sites. It's as though they decided long ago that the only audience they care about are 14 year olds who watch movies on their cell phones. I'm not suggesting the studios ignore the youth market, but I'd like them to stop acting like predators that are only interested in separating inexperienced children from their money.

I'm expecting the movie's marketing to reach a fever pitch this week and I've decided to let myself get a little excited about it. Yes, I was deeply offended by the trailer and made no secret that I thought the entire concept look like a tired rehash of Austin Powers and Encino Man. But it's a Dark Shadows movie that features a lot of impressive on-screen talent, so why not embrace that for a few days? If it's stupid to decide you like a movie you haven't seen, then why is it acceptable to declare war while suffering the same level of ignorance?

I'm going to try on a little optimism this week and see how it fits. I'm willing to be entertained.
Note: Dark Shadows has an uphill battle ahead of it as The Avengers continues to dominate headlines and box offices. The Avengers brought in $200 million last weekend and, if the movie sees a 60% drop in ticket sales in the coming weekend, Dark Shadows will still have to pull in $80 million to avoid being an also-ran. It's not impossible, but it's unlikely.


Anonymous said...

Actually, after 6 trailers and 2 featurettes and a slew of clips, and the "It's a comedy"/"It's not a comedy" (It's clearly a comedy)interviews; and several people involved with the film saying the original "Was awful" with "bad acting" and it "was a crappy show," I've pretty much decided to let those who want to see it go right ahead. In order to get House and Night of Dark Shadows restored and out on DVD, they can take my place and spend their money and time on the farce so I don't have to. And until Lara Parker made her comment about original fans being "a drop in the bucket compared to Depp fans," and likening us to the "Tea Party," and saying we'll go anyway, even if we say we won't; I decided my drop in the bucket isn't needed, and it can stay in my pocket instead of paying for this $125 mil mess. After being excited about this film, then seeing the makeup, and trailers and featurettes, I've absolutely no desire to lose two hours of my life listening to boob jokes, ball jokes, birthing hips jokes, and a 10 year old describing his 16 year old sister masturbating. I was that age in '72, and didn't even think of such things. I also know what mom and dad would have done if I had made such an announcement at dinner. Yet another anachronistic jaring bit to yank you out of the year they so purposefully set it in without doing any research. Even the music's from '73, '74 and later. Stupid to think people wouldn't notice. And shows how much care was taken. And if you watch "Dracula Dead and Loving It", you will see exactly where many jokes came from, nearly lifted intact. The Angelique boob joke, Barnabas hypnotizing Willie... All there. I'm sure there's more, since originality seems to be in short supply here. Pity they didn't just copy the original, it was a success and had everything laid out for them. And yes, WB has made it a policy point not to reach out to original fans or promote the original material, other than using original actors as extras for publicity purposes and to be able to say they have "street cred." Sad. And quite a slap in the face to all involved. So, my prediciton is, it'll be a hit for the 12-14 year olds, because they don't know any better. And of course Depplets and Burtoniacs. $125 mil on this... Well, the sets are nice. Elfman's score is not bad. That's about all I can say at this point. If you watch the featurette, you see the cameo entrance by Jon Frid, so you can save your money there. I can just imagine him saying "Harumph! Some party, the clown is the door greeter." as he walks in. Poor Jon. He was right to demand to return home upon finding out they wouldn't even tell the originals what they'd be doing, much less give them scripts. Selby, Parker and Scott are merely seen talking to Pfeiffer for a second, and that's it. At least Pfeiffer was honest, as opposed to all others involved - "fans of the original probably won't like this film." So, yeah. it's all sad. However, I shall enjoy my box set in July, and hopefully well get House and Night of Dark Shadows restored and released, finally. Now THAT'S something to be optimistic about!

Erica said...

(sigh) I am seeing it Thursday at the Vista Theater. I will try to have an open mind, despite my many reservations.

Here's what I'm predicting. If I pretend I've never seen or heard of Dark Shadows and am seeing this on its own merit, I'll probably get a couple of chuckles out of it. I will probably like the Danny Elfman score. I'll wince at all the 70s references, because the 70s basically sucked. And then I'll make the best assessment I can, albeit grudgingly.

Lara Parker said THAT? You know what? The two times I have seen her at DS events, she's been cold and detached, acting like she didn't want to be there. When my friend commented on how nice it was for her to show up in period costume, she made a face and replied, "We were told to." This latest bit of information just confirms my impression of how ungracious she is. Disappointing.

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