Saturday, 12 May 2012
REVIEW: DARK SHADOWS
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote. Director: Tim Burton. Screenplay: Seth Grahame-Smith
There's something strange going on between legendary actor Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. OK so that's nothing new but the perfectly peculiar partnership have created a legendary legacy of classics. From sweet characters with scissors for hands to those who prefer to use barber tools for more sinister purposes this dynamic duo are the Scorsese and De Niro of the 'weird' genre. The stranger they've got the better they've got. They've just made too many good films.
As a matter of fact for all in sake and purpose let's reel them off; 'Edward Scissorhands', 'Ed Wood', 'Sleepy Hollow', 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory', 'Corpse Bride', 'Sweeney Todd' and 'Alice in Wonderland'. Now after Depp made a classic cameo in the movie remake of the icon T.V. series that made him ('21 Jump Street' (what a movie)), Burton brings him back for the film adaptation of the sixties/seventies Gothic soap opera 'Dark Shadows'.
In 'Dark Shadows', Depp-a class act who's played all sorts of creatures-finally gets his fangs into the role of a vampire (Barnabas Collins). A role he seems overdue and born to play. Showing the 'Twilight' generation how it's really done with light skin, but a sparkling bright personality Johnny owns and for the most part carries this piece. It's not that this is a bad movie. With a stellar supporting, formidable female cast of Michelle Pfeiffer (back beautifully and boldly), Helena Bonham Carter (as Tim Burton per), the beautiful Eva Green (we'll settle your wonder now, you recognise her from 'Casino Royale' )and Chloë Grace Moretz, (growing in classy, cool charm and charisma) this really is an enthusiastic ensemble piece. Still, with the other classics in the Depp/Burton filmography it slightly pales in comparison like vampire complexion.
Still this television spin-off/remake is at least fresh feeling in all cobweb old, samey vampire films that are coming out by the coffin load. Sure it's dark, but with lighter tones making it more likely to be invited in by fanged fans who prefer their Buffy's to their Edward's. It's stranger too, making it one of the more marvels of modern-day cinema. Witches and bold body special effects haven't been this wonderfully weird since Bruce Willis had to choose between wives in the nighties.
Still you really feel the length of this movie in parts and although it's a perfect seventies period piece, just like the era between the Sixties and Eighties it somewhat feels dated even if it is a fresh idea (no offence). Still from Chevy's to Curtis Mayfield 'Superfly' records there's nothing wrong (more 'fond') with the familiar. Playing a vampire that's woken up after a cursed 200 year sleep (sounds more like a coma), Depp gives us some of his best one liners in his career while adapting to new terrains and hippies. Downing great gags like pints of blood Depp is on fine form but just like his classy crime caper ('The Tourist'), or his last smooth number ('The Rum Diary') it's just all a little sweet and sedate in comparison to his best work.
There's nothing wrong with that for the most part in another enjoyable film. Still if Depp and Burton want to continue to push the envelope they forced open further, they'll have to look to send up more shock and awe in the future. There is nothing wrong with this movie but it's clear with this actor/director combo that something more is lurking in the shadows. Something darker. TIM DAVID HARVEY.