Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012) Movie Review

Title: Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green
Year of Release: 2012
Genre: Comedy
Length: 113 minutes
Rated: PG-13

Tagline: Every family has its demons.

Summary: An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.


Review: We all know the Tim Burton formula -- dark, a little comedy, some Helena Bonham Carter, some creepy kids, and Johnny Depp.  This film is no different.  Dark Shadows is based on a television show, and it shows in the movie.  Most everything is underdeveloped and superficial -- the characters, the writing, and the plot line, especially.  With the quick switch in main character toward the end of the beginning, the movie is unable to hold viewers' attention.  Don't get too attached to character Victoria Winters -- she is more or less ignored the rest of the film and is clearly there as a device to the plot and nothing more.

Meanwhile, the acting, as in many of Burton's films, is plastic and over the top.  I'm inclined to think that this is the fault of the director, given its commonality in Burton's films.  Depp tends to be better as an actor, in my opinion, in movies other than those directed by Burton.  This is also the case with Bonham Carter and on the one instance of I've seen with Eva Green (who starred in Womb with Matt Smith).  Other characters, in addition to being portrayed with bad acting, seem entirely unnecessary to the plot, such as David's father and cousin, despite his cousin's action at the end of the film.

The subjects presented in the film were simply too much to handle in a 113-minute movie.  There were too many questions (both relating to the plot and themes of the movie) to tackle.

That said, there were a few redeeming moments of the film, including Alice Cooper's cameo and Depp's character's predictable reaction to Cooper's name and appearance.  Other viewers in the theater did laugh at some parts, though I did not find the attempt at humor funny.  Some of the humor and other content seemed to be pushing it for a PG-13 movie as well.

I'd wait for this one on cable.

Grade: D+

People Who Liked This Film Also Liked (According to IMDB): What Lies Beneath, The Uninvited, The Amityville Horror, The Ring Two, Shutter Island, The Ninth Gate

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