Dark Shadows: casting a light on the new Burton & Depp collaboration

As a huge fan of Tim Burton’s films, I was highly anticipating the release of new film Dark Shadows, released in UK cinemas on May 11th. And when I say ‘highly anticipating’, I mean dribbling profusely and squealing every time the adverts came on my telly box.

But when I went to see it at the cinema, armed with too much popcorn and a just-as-excited best friend, I came out in two minds. One half of me emerged the ever-loyal superfan, gushing about how everything was so epic and excellent; the other half of me came out  a horrendously cynical critic, as it was so far from what I was expecting.

 

What I managed to surmise from the middle meeting point of these two opinions was this.

Pros –

  • It’s fantastically fantastical . (get your head around that one.) From the O.T.T. costumes to Depp’s silly makeup to the impeccable acting, it fulfills our deepest gothic guilty pleasures.
  • The Burton – Bonham-Carter – Depp combo never fails. Ever. I defy anyone to find me a film involving those three working together that isn’t hugely entertaining.
  • The clever styling techniques to bring us back to the 70’s were brilliant. Great tunes, great clothes, great era.
  • With a star studded cast featuring Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, and of course J-Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the acting is believeable and enjoyable. One to watch: Chloe Mortez (the wee lass from Kick-Ass all grown up) – she plays the rebellious teenage stereotype hilariously; her acting is very, very impressive.
  • Johnny Depp is still sexy, even with pointy teeth and too much white paint on his face. Doesn’t matter if you’re not that way inclined – you still know it, the mans a beaut.

Cons –

  • Too many trailers released ruined all the funny bits. All of them. It was still funny , but because of this, no-where near as amusing as I was expecting – but hey, this film has NOT been advertised as a comedy.
  • The childish feel of most of Burton’s films was ever-present. This is just a personal con, as with this film, my opinion is that it could have done with a slightly more adult twist. (Calm down, I don’t mean X-rated.)
  • Although it was excellent, the storyline (a few surprises aside) was extremely predictable. However, the predictability of it actually made it rather charming, as it made you wonder how Burton was going to put his own stamp on the much-exploited vampire theme.

Go and see it if: You love a fairy-tale, you’re a Burton/Depp fan, you love all things gothic.

Give it a miss if: You can’t deal with predictability, magic and myth, or have seen all the adverts.

My rating: 7/10

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