In ‘Dark Shadows’, the feature film remake of the 60’s gothic soap opera, director Tim Burton once again trots out those nearest and dearest to him to make yet another quirky fantasy flick character vehicle for Johnny Depp, that doesn’t even remotely resemble the original material.
The new offering of ‘Dark Shadows’ see Barnabas Collins, the heir to a fishing empire, cursed by a witch, Angelique (Eva Green) when he does not return her affections and falls for another woman. Angelique turns Barnabas into a vampire and sets the whole town on him, who lock him in a coffin, and bury him for nearly 200 years... until they decide to build a McDonalds. It’s now 1972, the Collins name and business is in ruins, Angelique hasn’t aged a day and neither have her feelings for Barnabas. Meanwhile, a young woman who goes by the name Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) joins the Collins clan as a governess who captures Barnabas’ eye...
There’s a bit more to it than that but it all gets lost in the convoluted story and the fact that once Barnabas hits the screen the whole film becomes The Johnny Depp Show. The plot gets thrown out the window and we forget that in the end, this was simply supposed to be the story of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
This fabulous and rejuvenated concept could have been great. The "fish out of water" angle is only touched upon, as is Eva Green's "scorned woman" bit - in their place are a series of nonsensical scenes played out by highly-talented, underdeveloped and underused actors and characters that serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Even Burton’s visual theatrics are considerably tame in this outing - disappointing considering he had a whole town and the Collins manor, where most of the film takes place, to play with.
Even Burton’s visual theatrics are considerably tame in this outing.
Johnny Depp once again owns his character and dominates every frame, while Eva Green puts on an overly strong and distractingly uncomfortable American accent - not to mention she spends almost the entire film wearing the hell out of knee-high boots and dresses with thigh-high slits to rival Elizabeth Hurley. The rest of the almost exclusively A-list cast and two Aussie newcomers fluff around, appearing in scenes from time to time in an effort to bring depth to this tragically two-dimensional tale.
In short - if you’ve seen the trailer there’s no need to see the remaining 113 minutes. The film doesn’t deliver nearly enough laughs to warrant a comedy label - and if you’re a fan of any of the supporting actors, you’ll just be paying to see them waste their time and talent.