Friday, May 25, 2012

Dark Shadows

Dir. Tim Burton, 2012

The latest feature film from director Tim Burton is based on the gothic horror soap opera of the same name which ran from 1966-1971. The plot centres on Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp); a vampire who is set free after 200 years of imprisonment. He returns to his ancestral home where his descendants are a dysfunctional and mere shadow of his once proud and respected family.

Apart from the plot being disjointed and the story failing to really excel, I quite enjoyed it overall. It’s dark, funny and gorgeous film to look at. Visually it reminded me of some of Burton’s earlier films like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. Set in 1972 it looks more 70s than actual films made in that era, which often looked quite bland.

Johnny Depp is terrific as Barnabas, a likeable character who at times hovers over that fine line between good and evil. Also he delivers the very witty dialogue brilliantly. Eva Green almost steals it as the film’s antagonist, the sexy and deliciously evil witch Angelique. And Michelle Pfeiffer is also very good as the Collins family matriarch, Elizabeth. It’s been 20 years since she last starred in a Tim Burton film, which was Batman Returns.

I must mention how much enjoyed the opening credits with the song; Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues playing as we the audience follow Victoria (Isabella Heathcote) on her journey to Collinsport. It captured the mood so well; I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, I was in heaven. It’s such a beautiful and well shot sequence.

The soundtrack to this film is awesome, comprising of many hit songs from the era. I haven’t purchased a soundtrack in years, at least not one in the physical form of CD, but I’m buying this one for sure.

Dark Shadows is an entertaining film despite its flaws. It’s one of those films that provide a great means of escape from reality for a couple of hours. 3.5/5

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