Matt’s Review: ‘Dark Shadows’ is a Another Burton/Depp Fiasco Not Worth Theater DollarsBy
A Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp? Say what? Of course I’m kidding, because this is not the first time this pair has collaborated with one another — not to mention another Burton regular Danny Elfman scoring Dark Shadows and Helena Bonham Carter also being in the mix. All the familiar sights and sounds were there, but towards the end I was just hoping it would end quickly. All the cards on the table, I am not a big fan of Tim Burton anyway. He’s just not my type of storyteller. Even aside from this obvious bias, Dark Shadows is not a very good movie — most of all because I could not buy into or care for Depp’s Barnabas Collins, his plight, or any of the other supporting cast members.
The stunning Eva Green stars as the conniving witch Angelique who goes crazy when Barnabas will not return her love. She uses her dark magic to kill Barnabas’ true love, his parents, she haunts his family, she overtakes the Collins’ fishing business, and worst of all, she makes Depp’s character even pastier by turning him into a vampire and locking him in a steel coffin for centuries — he eventually breaks free in the 1970′s awaking in an era he is completely unfamiliar with. This led to some comical proceedings, but Barnabas’ fish-out-of-water antics grew old far too quickly. His plight to get revenge on Eva Green’s manipulative character didn’t carry much weight either, despite their chemistry onscreen together — the story and all its unfolding pieces were tired.
The film had a strong supporting cast in Jackie Earle Haley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonny Lee Miller, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Even amidst all these notable names, none really brought anything of worth to the table minus Haley. His role was humorous and one of the few bright spots in the aforementioned ‘blah’ supporting cast.
The biggest downfall of Dark Shadows came from Barnabas trying ever so desperately to win the heart of the Collins family nanny. Despite the film dedicating so much time to this storyline, there was no heart in the proceedings, I felt no drive to will them together as an audience member. The pair had no chemistry, a stark contrast from Barnabas and the film’s antagonist Angelique. Even with the conflict between the two, the odd couple had some of the best scenes in the movie together — not to mention one of the absolute worst sex scenes I’ve ever seen.
Overall, Dark Shadows may please die-hard Burton fans who blindly follow his work, but I even doubt they will be pleased. For the rest of us, this comes off as another disappointment, something that has become more common in recent Burton flicks. The film lacks a sense of humanity to make us care about the characters and lacks chemistry between Depp’s character and his depicted love. Again, I’ve never been a fan of Burton’s work (except for Big Fish) and this film is another example why — overly pasty white people, a trivial story intertwined with dark elements and images mixed with a light-hearted Elfman soundtrack does nothing for me.
What Should You Do? Skip this one in the theater. If you’re really curious, wait for the rental.