Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dark Shadows

Rating: ★★★

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp sitting in a tree...
Guess what? Tim Burton's making a film with Johnny Depp! No surprise there.

Dark Shadows is about an 18th-century man called Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) who is transformed into a vampire and buried underground by a jealous witch (Eva Green). When Barnabas finally escapes, he finds himself in the 1970s. Groovy.

Dark-ish Shadows
First things first, is Dark Shadows as good as  Tim Burton classics such as Edward Scissorhands and Beatlejuice? In terms of style its a definite yes. Even though this film is more colorful and upbeat than Tim's usual dark style it's still very Gothic and Halloweeny (if that was a word).

Dark Shadows is based on a 70s soap of the same name. The new film has given the story a comic element similar to the very successful 21 Jump Street. Fans of the TV show might not appreciate this pastiche but anything could add some integrity to the vampire movie genre after the incredibly virginal and clean-cut Twilight Saga.

The humor is very often to do with Barnabas not understanding 70s life. It's the tyical fish-out-of-water story. There is one very funny scene when he is asking Chloe Grace Moretz's character for contemporary dating advise.

Johnny Depp must love the dressing-up box
I can't be the only person who's noticed Johnny Depp's performances are getting more and more similar with every film he makes. Dark Shadows is no exception. Johnny could easily write a book called how to act like Johnny Depp.
  • Step one: get a weird hair cut, crazy make-up and strange clothes. 
  • Step two: talk really slowly as if you're mad. 
  • Step three: move like your either really drunk or really high. 
Johnny Depp has become undeniably predictable.

We also get to see Chloe Grace Moretz in her first teenage role as the daughter of the Collins family.  And she does a fantastic job at portraying a realist 70s teenager. She is definitely proving her worth in Hollywood showing that she is not just a child star but intends on making the difficult transition in to an adult actress.      

Dawn of the Depp
The plot of Dark Shadows is its major weakness. There are far too many unrelated subplots going on at once. I was hoping that by the end of the film they would all be concluded and tied together in a clever twist but I was not so lucky. The ending scene is very exciting to watch but very confusing and disappointing overall. I can imagine that this kind of story structure would work perfectly for a long-running TV show but was way too ambitious to fit in a feature film.

I came out of Dark Shadows feeling very confused. It had a lot of really good elements but overall was a bit of a mess. Even though it was very enjoyable it will never compete with Tim Burton's classics. In that respect, similar to the vampire, Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows sucked.

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