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Carl the Critic: Reviews "Dark Shadows"
"Dark Shadows" Trailer
There are two kinds of filmmakers in this world: Realist and Formalist. The realist filmmakers generally care more about how close to real life their film is in the dialogue, character development, setting, etc. Formalist on the other hand care more about if their movie is visually interesting, colorful, dynamic, etc.
Obviously Tim Burton is a formalist, that's for damn sure. His use of colors, camera shots, and surreal atmosphere is all the evidence I need to prove this. So when going into a Tim Burton film I always expect the same things:
- Film focus on one particularly strange character
- There's always some sort of black and white color scheme
- Extremely dark Gothic atmosphere in Buildings and set design
- Usually works with the same people
- Music by Danny Elfman (not always but usually)
These are only a few examples of what I usually expect to see in every Tim Burton film. So seeing the poster for "Dark Shadows" and the trailer I knew exactly what to expect. You may notice that I don't have any expectations for the story. This is because with Tim Burton I often give him an opportunity to surprise me, sometimes his films have great stories and visuals, and sometimes the film just has great visuals. So where does "Dark Shadows" come in?
Before I talk about that, what is "Dark Shadows"? Judging by the poster, it looks as though it's a modern day take on "the Addams Family", but that's not the case. "Dark Shadows" is a cult classic T.V. series from the 1960's that I tried to watch, but got bored of really quickly. So my expectations for a story were not very high, and after watching the film... Meh.
So Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a man who came from a life of wealth and had it all taken away when he broke the heart of some chick named Angelique Bouchard (played by Eva Green). Angelique is a witch you see, and she kills off everyone that Barnabas had ever loved, and turns Barnabas into a vampire so that he can suffer. After getting locked in a box for two hundred years, he is released only to find himself in a strange work known as the 1970's. Though only mildly confused, Baranbas returns to his home where the current Collins family is dysfunctional, but not as much as the Addams Family. Also Angelique is now the rich and successful one and when she discovers that Barnabas is alive...
Uh- I actually don't remember a whole lot about the story, because it was kind of dull, and unfocused.
I don't really hate this movie, but it's not Tim Burton's best work, arguably his best work is "Big Fish", "Ed Wood", "Edward Scissorhands", and "Batman". Tim Burton is my favorite filmmaker, but "Dark Shadows" is a film that I feel was more of a cash in on the vampire craze (along with the up coming "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") before it completely dies away.
The film's story is unfortunately it's biggest downfall, the characters are not fully developed, the chemistry between Barnabas and Angelique is actually stronger than the Barnabas and… That girl he was with... what was her name again? Let me see here... Ah yes Victoria Winters Clark (played by Bella Heathcote) who is the girl that we are suppose to be rooting for Barnabas to get together in the end with, but quite frankly she was in only 25-33% of the movie. Barnabas spent more time with Helena Bonham Carter's character than he did with this Victoria character.
Also the story's problem is that it can't quite decide on whether or not it wants to be on one hand it's a comedy, and on the other it's a horror film, but it's not quite a horror-comedy.
So is this a bad film? Story wise, yes, however the visuals are awesome, the characters look great (Eva Green has never looked sexier), and there were some moments that made me laugh. My love for Tim Burton films will never die, because Tim Burton is awesome! This was the guy that got me interested in movies in the first place. I know what to expect from him, therefore I'm not completely disappointed, and that's what's most important. I mentioned in my review of "Insidious", Tim Burton is a filmmaker that you just know whether or not you'll enjoy his movies. He usually makes the same film, with the same people, and the same Tim Burton style that Tim Burton fans will love.
I'll just give my rating for this film. I give "Dark Shadows" a 7.0 out of 10, it's visually great, but its story isn't as much.