Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Dark Shadows [2012]

Release Date: 10 May 2012 (Malaysia), 11 May 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Seth Grahame-Smith, John August
Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller, Gulliver McGrath, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley
Duration: 113 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Rich and powerful Barnabas Collins (played by Johnny Depp) made the mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (played by Eva Green), whom worked at his manor but is also secretly a witch. Angelique kills Barnabas' parents, causes his wife - Josette (played by Bella Heathcote) to commit suicide, and conjures a curse that turns him into a vampire. The village people then buries Barnabas in coffin where he remains for almost 200 years before finally escaping. Now in the year 1972, Barnabas returns to his old manor where he meets the dysfunctional remnants of his Collins family - Elizabeth (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), Carolyn (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), Roger (played by Jonny Lee Miller), and David (played by Gulliver McGrath).
Thumbs Up:
+ A visually appealing film, mostly through the impressive production design
+ If you buy into Johnny Depp's charm, then his performance offers some salvage
Thumbs Down:
- The comedy largely fails to work and are somewhat predictable
- Lacklustre and uninspiring plot
- Important characters are underdeveloped
- A rather disappointing finale showdown

The Verdict Is In:
I have never seen the 1960s TV show that this film was based upon but I would have guessed that it was similar to other 60s TV shows like The Addams Family [1964-1966] and The Munsters [1964-1966], which I actually do have some vague memories of. If that was the case, then Tim Burton would be a shoe-in to make this movie. Apparently though, from what I gathered from the Internet, the original series was not a comedy like those other shows. But apart from fans of the original series, I'd say that most people wouldn't mind this being a comedy as long as it was good. So did Tim Burton succeed? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Other than Johnny Depp's goofy-charm, there's not much to enjoy from the comedy on display especially regarding the fish-out-of-water jokes. Sure, Barnabas comes from two centuries ago but the humour seems to have been done quite frequently before, and much better too. I mean how many times have we seen, for example, the scene of seeing a TV and going "how did that person get inside a box?". Even the other types of comedy feels flat. The characters and plot seemed to have the potential of being something really entertaining but nothing inspiring seemed to result from it. Shame, Burton used to churn out some really good films. Let's hope his next effort, Frankenweenie [2012] is able to capture back some of that magic.
5 out of 10


  1. alamak!, am gonna go watch it tonight...dah book..but mmg ada vibe it's gonna either suck or gonna be awesome...but then again some movies kita xda same taste..hehe

    but I do agree that Burton has lost his steam Willy Wonka? urgh

  2. Ooh ouch, I was kinda hoping it will be a good one after the mediocre Alice in Wonderland. Eva Green really deserves to be in better movies.

  3. To be fair, the movie is getting mix reactions so there's a possibility you guys could still enjoy it. A bad review has never stopped me from going to see a movie that I planned to see. It just didn't work for me.

  4. Damn was hoping for this to be Burton's return to form after too many years. Still that bit in the trailer where Depp goes behind the TV and says 'reveal yourself tiny songstress' did make me laugh so maybe I'll be amused!

  5. I was hoping that too. I actually do enjoy Burton's work especially his early ones, and I like Johnny Depp too, but this just didn't do it for me.

  6. I agree with thumbs up and thumbs down, but somehow the pluses won me over. I did enjoy this film. I love such visually gorgeous pictures.

  7. You're right Lesya, it is indeed visually appealling. That's an aspect I've always love in Tim Burton's work. He has a very vivid imagination.

  8. I just saw this. It's not good. I started to think that Depp's glory days is probably over? The visuals, especially the ending part was gorgeous. And yes, some big actress/actors have underdeveloped character, like Helena Bonham Carter.
    I think the only suitable music in the movie was Alice Cooper, not The Carpenters or some others.

  9. I still have faith in Depp. Maybe the problem was Burton-Depp had done too many films together and become comfortable. Maybe its time for them to break up.

  10. I was looking forward to this one. The trailer looked promising but sadly the general negative reaction has put me off making the trip to the cinema. I'll wait for TV.

  11. Yup, it was a similar tale for a lot of people. Many really were looking forward to this, but were left underwhelmed. One of the year's hugest disappointments.


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