In the Olympics we had the dream team when it came to basketball. In Hollywood there are a couple of “dream teams” as well. One of those is made up of Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, and Helena Bonham Carter. They are back this time in a rendition of the long running 60’s TV series, DARK SHADOWS. Mainly it is just an excuse for Depp to dress funny and walk around in a strange stupor. But we love when he does that so it is ok.
Barnabas Collins (Depp) is from a well-to-do family in Maine. When he is cursed to be a Vampire by a scorned lover he goes to sleep in the 1700s only to be released again in the 1970’s; still a vampire. He finds his family estate and dysfunctional relatives to be in need of not only financial help but a little family counseling as well. The current matriarch (Michelle Pfeiffer) is trying to cope with her angst filled daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz), money hungry hubby (Jonny Lee Miller), and a live in therapist (Helena Bonham Carter) who is there for her troubled nephew (Gulliver McGrath). In order to save the family business Barnabas must wage war against the very witch (Eva Green) who put the spell on him and drove his family to ruins.
This has director Tim Burton’s fingerprints all over it. His set design and signature graphics make this a must see for fans. The look and styling is very similar to Sleepy Hollow, though the story is not nearly as strong. This tale rides bareback on a few silly characters and Depp’s ability to perform. It needed more though. The solid moments are when Barnabas is trying to acclimate himself to the 1900’s and especially the 70’s. There is much in that decade to poke fun at and the movie shines when doing that. The rest of the time it is a monster mash of Barnabas and the witch that can’t have him.
The main issue is that though the film is superb to look at it doesn’t have enough humor or creative dialogue. All the characters are one dimensional and fairly cliché. After a few scenes you sort of want more. Plus the writing is far from unique. The predictable moments are eye rolling and a majority of the thunder is stolen in the trailer.
DARK SHADOWS is rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking. Parents should be concerned when it comes to any member under the age of 16. Though never gratuitous it is certainly a bit much for those new to the teenage years. Plus there is the element of sorcery, blood sucking vampires, witches and spells. So do with that what you will. I wanted to love this film since I am a huge fan of Depp and Burton. Sadly it left me bored. I would certainly recommend it as a renter and it should be seen. I am just not sure it is worth the box office ticket price. I give it 2.5 out of 5 jive talking disco balls. It just didn’t quite shake my groove thang.
Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.