Thanks to Roadshow Films, we had the chance to see Tim Burton‘s Dark Shadows before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say; we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
Based on 1960s/70s soap opera of the same name, Dark Shadows tells the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Deep) a member of one of the richest families in the fishing industry in North America. As their business grew around the seaside, the town is renamed to Collinsport in honour to them. Everything seems to be perfect, until Barnabas falls in love with Josette (Bella Heathcote), ignoring the feelings his own house-servant Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) has for him, without knowing she was a witch, who cursed him killing his parents and his beloved one and condemning him to be a vampire for all eternity. He was locked in a coffin for almost 200 years until he finally escapes, having to face a totally different era in town, meeting his relatives (a very weird family clan) falling in love with the current incarnation of Josette and facing his old enemy Angelique, now the most powerful person in town.
Dark Shadows is a film full of Tim Burton‘s signature elements, with gothic designs, soft comedy, a soundtrack by Danny Elfman and his favorite actors alongside him such as Johnny Deep, Helena Bonham Carter (playing the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins) plus the inclusion of Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Chloë Moretz and Bella Heathcote, etc. This film clearly reflects more freedom on Director’s part in comparison with his previous work Alice in Wonderland, where he was limited with Disney style, as he mentioned in Melbourne in 2010 for the opening of his Exhibition.
In this film, we can see the director’s full potential in working with his all-star cast, resulting in brilliant performances from every one of them, being as usual Johnny Deep delivering a funny, innocent and lovable character that interacts perfectly with everyone on-screen. Antagonist, Eva Green on the other hand brings the “Dark Musa” style to this film that needs a strong evil female character which she totally accomplishes.
Despite the simplicity of the plot, and the small sub stories in between the film such as Dr.Hoffman’s looking for a vampire cure (or not?), the film is very well done and moves along very quick, so you don`t notice the 2 hours gone by watching it as there are too much going on in every scene and so many things to discover, like dark pop culture stuff from the 70`s carefully selected such as posters, old cinemas, etc giving a full atmosphere to the film. It even includes a long appearance of the great Alice Cooper playing a couple of hits, fitting perfectly in the story. Moreover, Tim Burton‘s famous trees are also everywhere which we personally love to see on each one of his films.
Danny Elfman, is back on the Burton’s team as well for the music score, doing what he does best with timeless melodies like old 70`s sounds mixed with marvelous modern chords
Perhaps, the only let down of the film is that it seems to be too short for the amount of characters on-screen, having to leave some a bit under developed (Eg. Chloë Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard), or perhaps ready for an eventual sequel. However, this issue does not affect the movie overall, which is a great entertainment and enjoyable dark comedy with the unique style from the man who brought us masterpieces such as Ed Wood and stories like The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Dark Shadows opens in Australia on 10 May 2012