Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review 108: "Dark Shadows"

Tim Burton made a vampire movie?
Surely you jest!
     Dark Shadows follows Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a family man cursed by evil witch Angelique (Eva Green) into becoming a vampire. After a brief 200 years stay in a coffin, Barnabas awakens in 1972, where he discovers that the Collins family has fallen into disarray. Patriach Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) tries to hold the family together, despite troubles from her teenage daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Mortez) and her good-for-nothing brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller). Barnabas tries to set the family straight, while dealing with a still alive Angelique with the help of mind-controlled Willie (Jackie Earle Haley). But even more complications arrive when he falls for Governess Victoria (Bella Heathcote), who is watching over troubled David (Gulliver McGrath).
    I should preface this review by saying that, like most people I would assume, I have never seen an episode of the original soap opera series and that I had never even heard of the show before the movie was about to be released. And while I can't comment on how well the film adapts the original source material, I can say that the film itself isn't half-bad.

Vampires. They are into some
weird sh*t.
    There is a lot of good in this movie. Director Tim Burton has created his usual. A visually interesting world with lots of really creepy attention to detail and some of the nice special effects in any of his movies thus far. And Depp is his usual good self, completely throwing himself into the role of Barnabas Collins, making all the joke funny, all the drama dramatic, ETC. The rest of the cast is their regular good selves, with Pfeiffer and Mortez both believable in their roles and Heathcote making for an adorable character that has good chemistry with Barnabas. Green steals the show with his fantastic portrayal of the evil with Angelique, being sexy, menacing and funny, usually all at the same time.
    And maybe that's why I just didn't care all that much about Dark Shadows. Everything about this movie is expectedly good. Burton's visuals are the same good visuals he always has. Depp is giving the same good performance he gave in On Stranger Tides and Alice in Wonderland. Even the story is the same good story we've heard a million times before. While nothing in Dark Shadows is obviously bad, nothing about it is obviously original either. It's solid entertainment, but it's entertainment that's been served before and served better. I wouldn't be opposed to watching this movie again or even a sequel, and I would recommend it, but Dark Shadow is destined to be that one movie you will always forget when listing Tim Burton's filmography.

Really werid sh*t.
     Dark Shadows is by no means a bad movie and not even the worst film Tim Burton has ever made (Hello, Alice in Wonderland). It has a great cast, especially Eva Green, and the visuals are well done. However, while the movie is entertaining, it never catches fire, mostly because it's all stuff we've seen before and in better film. It's worth a watch, but not much else. Dark Shadows gets 4 stars out of 6.

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