When I first saw the theatrical trailer for ‘Dark Shadows’, I got really excited for Tim Burton’s new film. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about the old soap opera upon which it’s based, that wasn’t a stumbling block that impeded my anticipation for the movie. All I noticed was that Tim Burton finally appeared to be returning to his old ‘Beetlejuice‘ roots, so I looked forward to it. Upon seeing it, I can tell you that Burton does in fact get back to that old style he had seemingly forgotten. Unfortunately, the film has more flaws than any other Tim Burton movie to date.
‘Dark Shadows’ teams up (of course) Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Danny Elfman for a quirky little ride. Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a prestigious man in the late 1700s who is cursed by an immortal witch (played by a gorgeous blonde Eva Green) for not loving her. She kills his family and fiancée, damning him to the immortal life of a vampire after burying him alive. When an excavation team stumbles across his long-time resting place, he’s unleashed the world of 1972. Now, Barnabas must learn how to fit into the era, restore his family’s honor and destroy that wicked witch.
The world that Burton establishes is similar to that of ‘Edward Scissorhands‘ and ‘Beetlejuice’. People are either simple-minded or too caught up in themselves to notice the oddities taking place around them. For the first two-thirds, the movie really works. The comedy is smart and funny. Depp and company are great. Most importantly, the film is entertaining. Sadly, then we get to the final act where it all falls apart. What was once apologetically wacky and comical turns campy and corny. Everything good established in the first two-thirds is buried by the ending.
Honestly, if I was headed to the cinema this weekend, I’d pick ‘The Avengers’ – even though I’ve already seen it a few times. For those who haven’t seen ‘The Avengers’, it’s a must-see that’s far superior to the messy ‘Dark Shadows’.