Sunday, 13 May 2012

Review: Dark Shadows

Earlier this week I got to go to an early screening of Dark Shadows, the new Tim Burton: Johnny Depp film so I though I'd share some of my thoughts.

 Dark Shadows is somewhat of a pastiche, with bits and bobs taken from here at there. Based on a 1970s TV show never aired in the UK of the same name, the film is centered around Barnabus Collins (who else but Depp), a young man from the 1700s who broke the heart of the wrong girl, the head strong and flirtacious maid Angelique (Eva Green), when he fell for the pure hearted Josette (Bella Heathcote).

After being jilted Angelique was a bit miffed to say the least, so used her witchy powers to not only have Josette placed under a curse to walk off a cliff into the ferocious sea beneath, but also had Barnabus live the rest of eternity in a coffin as a vampire.

Wizz forward 200 years into the trippy 70s to the world that Barnabus awakens to and what remains of his eccentric family, his manor and his town of Collinsport where the Collins used to run the show with a fishing business have been tipped on their head from how he left them.

He is catapulted into a world of hippies, troll dolls and chevvies with his estate fallen into a shadow of its former grandeur. Barnabus sets his mind on restoring the families luster and regaining control of the fishing enterprise, now overtaken by the new Lord of the land, no other than Angelique.

On the surface Dark Shadows has everything a film ought to have to be enjoyable, the opening 10 minutes show us some great film making, a pale faced protagonist, some dark undertones to life as we know it and some close to the wire additions to our established normality; the trio comfortably fall into their bread and butter of film making.

But when it comes to the meat on the bone, cake under the icing, there just isn't much to see. Narratives seem some what disjointed, characters do as they are intended, nothing more, nothing less, and we sail down a Burton/Depp river, running the same familar course as we have eight times previous.

The film certainly isn't bad, some stand out performances come from both Eva Green and Chloe Moretz as the angsty teenage daughter who comes into her own during the climatic final scene. Even the one liners from Barnabus are enough to raise a smile, despite the trailer revealing about as good as it's going to get, but for me this film didn't bring anything new to the table.

Whilst Burton's signature style no doubt will be applauded by his legions of fans, critics have already given the film an understandable beating and for me at least, whilst Dark Shadows has it's moments it's missing that certain something to really make it remarkable.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a huge fan of Tim Burton films with Depp/Bonham-Carter colabs. I ADORE those two. I agree this film lacked some substance but I still found myself laughing at some of the very clever jokes - always going to be a Burton fan even if his films a bit of a flop x