Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows is better than I expected. That doesn’t make it good given how low both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have slipped in my estimation. It is, however, a definite and considerable step up from the woeful Alice in Wonderland and, even if it contains all the overdone trademarks of Burton’s drippy style, it’s not an unpleasant viewing experience.

The non-unpleasantness of the experience is mainly as a resultant of Eva Green’s beautiful blonde witch. It might not be much of a stretch for the ethereal sort-of-French beauty but, damn it, does she throw herself at the role. Depp is also less annoying than I have found him in recent outings, like The Rum Diary, which really helps the film. Also helpful is the lack of screen time for Helena Bonham Carter, which makes her impact on the film all the more impressive. You’ll never think of Vampiric oral sex the same way again. The ensemble is rounded off by good performers like Chloe Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley and Johnny Lee Miller doing almost nothing with their time in the shadows.

The film is, however, profoundly problematic. The trailer made it out to be a light-hearted gothic comedy with a great soundtrack and almost none of that turns out to be true. The film is very dark for a 12a certificate and no way near as much fun as it should be. It does have all the campy trademarks of a Burton film but these are rather overridden by the murky gloom, episodic plot and slightly cynical extortion of its star names. It’s not totally reprehensible but it’s also not a movie to spend your hard earned beer money on.

Another Burton experience that is too visual and not nearly intelligent enough. But this isn’t quite on the levels of Alice, Charlie or Apes, so you can relax a bit.

Title: Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley
Running Time: About 2 hours
Certificate: A top end 12a

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