Archive for the ‘Dark Shadows’ Category

Dark Shadows – review

The marriage between Tim Burton’s directing and Johnny Depp’s acting began over 20 years ago with the story of a bizarre man, who had scissors for hands.  Since then they have made 7 other films, and when they are at their best (Ed Wood), they are a force to be reckoned with.  Unfortunately they’ve combined to make mostly mediocre films, and Tim Burton’s past few films have been downright horrid, with Depp in either the lead or in a supporting role.  They team together this time to take on a beloved 70’scult show in Dark Shadows….and unfortunately we are left with probably the most poorly written and directed Burton/Depp collaboration of all time.

There was a time when I thought Tim Burton was one of the 5 best directors in Hollywood.  I don’t think he’s made a good film in almost 10 years, with Big Fish being his last.  After that film, Burton went a different route with his filmmaking…add Johnny Depp in everything, and try and make a box office hit out of it.  2010’s Alice in Wonderland made me realize how far Burton was willing to go, by destroying one of the most beloved characters of all time….”Hey do we have a spot for Johnny in this film?  People love that guy! Put him somewhere!”

Dark Shadows follows the story of Barnabas Collins, cursed by a witch who he refused to love, and thrown in a locked coffin to rot ,until he is found 200 years later in the grooving 1970’s.  Barnabas is busted out and vows to hunt down the witch that did this to him and murdered his love in the 1770’s, all while trying to rebuild the Collins family name and business.  The Collins family started a shipping business, that has since become run down and forgotten in the town of Collinsport, that was built by Barnabas and his family.

What we are given is line after line of schlock humor.  Barnabas has never seen things such as TV, or lava lamps.  He’s amazed by these things and makes ridiculous comments about them intended to be funny…they’re not funny.  The entire script isn’t funny.  In fact the film flips back and forth from being extremely violent, to attempting Scooby Doo, who-dunit, mystery comedy…zoinks!  Barnabas will violently slaughter an entire group of people, and then be trading one liners with members of his family in the next scene.  Burton’s attempt at Dark Comedy falls flat on its face, and Depp can’t save the film.   The entire premise of the film goes off the rails too.  All of the surrounding cast don’t seem to really have a point in the film, or at least it’s hinted that there is some important plot-line involving them, and then the film never goes back to that.

Dark Shadows has one of the dumbest endings that I’ve seen in a film in a long time.  Everything just gets thrown at the screen in the finale….”Hey what’s hot nowadays? Vampires? Werewolfs? Spirits? Throw all that stuff in there somewhere too.”  Head-scratching.

I’m at a loss for words as to the direction Tim Burton’s career has gone, and even the great Johnny Depp might want to start questioning that collaboration.

Grade: D+