Friday, July 12, 2013

PCP on DVD - Dark Shadows

I had never seen any original episodes of the old TV show Dark Shadows. So, coming in to this film, I had no preconceptions as to what the plot or characters were supposed to be or how they were supposed to behave. So keep that in mind as my review would likely be different if I was more familiar with the source material. (For example, in my review of Alex Cross, I dinged it 2 points for massively deviating from the source material).

Dark Shadows - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating: 6.5 out of 10.

Gee, a movie directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp as a weirdo character. Where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, every Tim Burton movie ever. Also starring in the film is Helena Bonham Carter, another frequent Burton collaborator (as well as his real-life significant other). The two of them (Depp & HBC) play oddballs here, just like they do in pretty much every Burton film ever. Seriously people, branch out and do something different for a change!

Aside from my gripes about those two, who are actually enjoyable to watch despite the fact they keep playing variants on the same character, the rest of the cast is pretty solid, especially former Bond girl Eva Green as a villainous witch and Kick-Ass star Chole Grace Moretz as a bratty teen descendant of Depp's character.

As the previews gave away, Depp is a vampire from the 1700s who is freed from imprisonment in the 1970s and has to deal with massive culture shock. Some of those jokes are quite funny, especially a few good ones about cameo rock star Alice Cooper. He has to restore his dysfunctional family to their former glory, while fighting off the immortal witch that cursed him with vampirism in the first place.

The film has its moments, and has the usual grand Tim Burton visual flair, but the film also has plenty of hollow moments and dull spots as well. Those come in especially when the movie has to do an exposition dump to explain a character's history or actions, which drags down its overall score. It leaves open a possibility of a sequel, but I doubt the film did well enough at the box office for that to get greenlit. Too bad, because having gotten the characters' backstories out of the way, a sequel to this film could have actually been pretty good.

Bottom line: if you are a Depp or Burton fanatic, you've probably already seen this film. If you're not, it's serviceable but there are better vampire movies out there than this one.

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