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22 May 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)

Directed by: Tim Burton
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
USA
Colour, 113 Minutes
After seeing the trailer, one thinks to themselves, “Well, this seems like an improvement to Tim Burton’s last venture Alice in Wonderland” and that it might be a fun-filled Gothic styled comedy. This is quite wrong. For most people, the film has been a disappointment (not that expectations were exceedingly high anyway), but the film’s zany narrative that is simply all over the place, making most of it boring and tedious. The visuals are fantastic, but the comedy is lacking when it tries and the plot definitely brings it down.



An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection. 





I will begin with saying the positives of the film. Johnny Depp gives a great comedic performance as Barnabas Collins, even if it feels like a bit of a mash-up of his recent Burton collaboration performances. Here, we see Depp playing a character with a new and strange-to-him environment definitely creates a good deal of comedy. The film has few funny gags, with one involving Barnabas approaching a TV and destroying it saying, “Come out of their tiny seamstress!”

The film also has some interesting characters, but lack development with the plot. This includes the characters at the Collins home.

The biggest problem is that it simply does not find its feet with genre. At times it tries to be funny- and fails, and times when it tries to be scary- also fails. It is not a complete killjoy of a film, but there are some face-palming moments. The best in the cast were Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter, who all brought a bit of life to the film.

I think that Burton has let nostalgia get to the better of him here as the film sets itself in 1972- a memorable time in Depp’s life when he was a teenager. It is an interesting outlet to set this vampire in, but how many films are there you know involving out of place characters that end up in a place unfamiliar and strange to them. The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, Edward Scissorhands….the list goes on. The film really does not have anything original going on for it both visually and story wise. It is just a mash-up of previous workings with fun comedy involved. 

What is this strange solid matter on the earth?
One thing I wish Dark Shadows could have been is resemble Beetlejuice more with comedy, visuals and structure. I hope that Frankenweenie will save Burton from his recently damaged reputation with critics and film fans and that it turns out to be the old Burton we used to know with classics like Ed Wood, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

Verdict: Some may enjoy the film’s plot that jumps all over the place, others will find it distracting and annoying. The film has finely constructed cinematography and visual effects, but ultimately the film fails to be entertaining.

Rating: 4.5/10

2 comments:

  1. Sadly I feel that Depp didn't give as much of his all in his classic unique way as he use to. but you're generally spot on regardless. Very good review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with most of what you wrote. The film couldn't decide what parts of the story it should focus on.

    ReplyDelete

 

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