Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dark Shadows - Movie Review

Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, Bella Heathcoate, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Gully McGrath, Alice Cooper and Christopher Lee. Directed by Tim Burton.


What is it with Tim Burton and a twisted tree on a cliff? All of his movies have that image in there somewhere. A tree, with gnarled branches, near a cliff. Even Big Fish had it.

Anyway, this eighth collaboration between Burton and Johnny Depp is a decent entertainment, even if it's more about visuals and dialogue than story. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire who's awakened in 1972 and must recalibrate accordingly. He finds his descendants hanging on their vast manor of a house, but barely. Their fishing business is on the skids. Ah, but Barnabas knows where the money's buried and he's determined to turn this family around.

There to throw a wrench in his plans is Angelique (Eva Green), the witch who cursed him and locked him away and has spent the past couple centuries making his family fail.

This is one of Depp's better characters under Burton's watch. Barnabas is an 18th-century aristocrat with some adjusting to do, and Depp's umpteenth variant on the Eurotrash accent still entertains. Most of the supporting cast is good in their less-flashy roles. (I just like seeing Michelle Pfeiffer get work).

The main problem for me was the ending, by which I mean the last twenty minutes or so. Tis a giant mess. Each thread is tied up, but the pacing and general clumsy execution is as though pages 80-95 of the script just said "Hijinks ensue."

I loved the early 1970's soundtrack. It's worth a rental, but you can wait until then.

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