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Dark Shadows (2012)

May 14, 2012

Dark Shadows  (2012)  viewed in theater May 11, 2012


General Comments

The Good:  Visually, this is a great film.  Collinswood, in particular, was just splendid, both in its decayed and refurbished state.  Also, the cast performed well — given the material.  But that leads to . . .

The Bad:  The cast had to deal with a poor script.  To be sure, Dark Shadows does have a respectable plot;  it’s just hard to find, buried as it is under a load of silly gags and special effects.

Now, I have nothing against humor or FX per se;  the problem with the DS movie is the misuse of both.  The humor relies heavily on fish-out-of-water gags as Barnabas strives to adjust to the twentieth century, and the gags are often inappropriate.  For example, Barn attacks a television set in an effort to force out the miniature human he thinks is inside.  The problem is that the Collins vampire has been living and interacting with his modern family for quite some time by now.  Surely he has had ample opportunity to learn about modern technology?  Maybe he doesn’t fully understand it all, but he certainly should be aware that there is no ‘tiny songstress” inside a magic box.  The scene make Barnabas seem to be a fool, when he is, in fact, an intelligent being.

And the FX?  In some cases, downright ridiculous.  Whoever thought that airborne sex scene with Barn and Angelique was a good idea?  Ditto for the final confrontation at Collinswood — the talking pictures were ripped off from the Harry Potter series, and Angie’s cracking porcelain skin from Death Becomes Her.  

Great Moments

Not a whole lot, really.  The whole leap-from-widow’s- hill business was pretty impressive, but it would have worked better if we had a bit more background.  Without being able to know Josette and Barnabas very well at this point, it’s hard to feel a connection with the characters.  Perhaps they should have eliminated some of the silly gags and given us more time with Josette and Barn’s romance, shown us how Angelique forced Josette into suicide, and so on.  But I guess that wouldn’t have been comic enough.

Random Thoughts

It was nice to see cameos of four of the original cast, if that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment qualifies as such.  Good heavens, they spent more time with Christopher Lee and he wasn’t involved with the original at all. Yeah, I know.  Lee has more general box office appeal than Frid, Selby, Scott, and Parker.  Which is a shame, really. (no offense intended towards Lee, but if we’re going to have a cameo, it’s a little insulting to give an actor with no connection to the o.s. a speaking part, but not to the original cast.)

Looks like they’ve set things up for a sequel, what with Julia coming back to life, Carolyn  revealed as a werewolf (that was a little OTT there), and mentions of Elizabeth’s absent husband.  Not sure how I feel about that — could be an improvement, but, I fear, it would simply be MOS.

So, a werewolf daughter, a son who sees dead people, and a vampire cousin.  With the jocular tone this seems more like the Munsters than the Collins family.


2 out of 5.  Not a total disaster, but not very good, either.  I won’t be buying the DVD.

written on May 14, 2012


Another year cometh

December 31, 2011

Pretty obvious that I’ve been neglecting this blog of late — one of those things that couldn’t be helped.  But a new year is upon us, with new goals and activities, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, we’ve all heard that before, right?

But, seriously, there’s some changes afoot.  The new approach is indicated by a new name for the blog (no longer Millei’s Journal; now called Mill’s Miscellany), and it is no longer “mostly Doctor Who”.  Not that I will be abandoning the good Doctor (how could I?)  I will be commenting on Dark Shadows as well as the adventures of the Time Traveller, plus a movie now and then.

Here’s to a great 2012 to all.



The Daemons

May 20, 2010

Several months have passed since my viewing of this story, and, I’m sorry to say, I’m having difficulty decoding my notes.  (i.e., can’t read my own handwriting!) Consequently, this will be a very limited review.

It’s a good story, marred only by a little silliness at the end.  I grade it a 4/5.

Food and drink

Yates and Benson are served corned beef sandwiches.

Policeman on night duty unwraps a sandwich; later, he drinks out of a mug.

Doctor request hot water and hot sweet tea to treat Benson.

Hawthorne serves Benton china tea, with milk or lemon.

New season for Doctor Who

April 17, 2010

New season, new doctor, new companion.  It wasn’t a bad start, although I was less than overwhelmed by the “The Eleventh Hour” plot line.  “Aliens threaten earth, Doctor saves the day”.  We’ve seen that same old plot recycled a few too many times.

Nevertheless, Matt Smith does pretty well as the new Doctor, the new companion looks promising, and there’s some intriguing hints on a new plot arc.  Looks like some romance may develop,  judging by Amy’s manner as the Doctor changes his clothing — and her reluctance to admit she’s on the verge of being married as he whisks her off in the TARDIS.

It’s early days, yet, of course.  Matt Smith and Karen Gillan still need to grow into their roles.  I was a little bothered that Smith’s Doctor is a bit too similar to Tennant’s, but  no doubt his version of the Doctor will evolve with time.

Anyway, here’s to  the the new season!

Vampire circus with a time-lady

July 22, 2009

Stayed up to watch a really stupid vampire flick — why, oh, why do I do these things? –A circus of vampires and vampire sympathizers who want to bring back to life a vampire count (not Dracula). Meanwhile, a plague is raging and . . .Oh, well, it really isn’t worth going into, but I was startled to see  Lalla Ward as one of the vampires.  Not one of her greater roles . . .

I’ve been watching the new Torchwood series — now, there’s something to take your breath away.  Torchwood, in the past, has been a bit uneven in quality, but this is really super stuff.  Way to go, TW cast and crew!

A Little Puzzled

March 8, 2009

I’m pretty new to this whole blogging thing, so I’ve got a lot left to learn.  Something that puzzles me a lot is the statistics page; in particular, the referral section — you know, the part that shows you what people clicked on to get to your blog.  A while back some one got to my blog via “Tea Leoni”.  How can that be, since I’ve never mentioned her?  Today  someone used the tag “bondservant of Christ”.  Huh?  Now how do you go from that to a Doctor Who blog?

Just something to ponder on a cold afternoon . . .

The Web Planet

February 11, 2009


An ambitious and imaginative story.  Like most 6-parters, it suffers from padding, and I found some of it a bit confusing.  Hardly a classic, but it’s a worthy offering.  I’ll give it a “C” (respectable grade, by the way), and an “A” for effort.


Food and Drink

Not much to talk about here — after all, there’s not much to eat on a barren, rocky planet riddled with pools of acid.  I suppose there’s enough vegetation left for the Zarbi and Optera to survive.  How the Menoptera have survived in their exile — or, for that matter, how they will rebuild their planet — is hard to say.


The Shipping Report

I enjoy watching how the Doctor/Vicki relationship develops.  They seem to be much more “in sync” than the Doctor and Susan.  Or maybe it’s just that Vicki is not so prone to hysteria; with a clearer head, she can respond better in a crisis.