Written by / 5/11/2012 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

DEPP & BURTON REMAKE DARK SHADOWS

2013 rating: **
DARK SHADOWS, based loosely on the strange and unique Dan Curtis soap opera of yesteryear, has a new generation’s Barnabas Collins played by Johnny Depp who, resembling Eddie Munster had he grown up to appear on The Beatles' Revolver cover, is given a simple choice: love a jealous witch or, after being turned into a Vampire, pay the consequences: That being a two-hundred-year burial where he wakes up in 1972 (a year after the original show went off the air): his colonial world having been transformed into hot rod cars and rock music.

The continuous gag of the newly awakened vamp’s dazed fascination with modern devices – from a television to a lava lamp – gets pretty tiresome. After the intriguing and rather spooky prologue followed by an ultraviolent massacre of those who awakened him, one might expect a more lethal antihero. And God knows Depp, lavishing the accent and prowess with his usual wily charm, deserves a darker ride. Playing a character that one-minute slaughters the innocent and the next is a lovable klutz, he seems a bit lost and incomplete. And director Tim Burton, a pioneer of mixing horror and comedy, is never quite sure which way to lean at the right moments.

Although our cunning antagonist Angelique Bouchard tries her best to sharpen those fangs with sexually driven rampage, this film remains a cartoon. Collins family members including Michelle Pfeiffer as the mansion mom and Chloë Grace Moretzas a mopey teen daughter (with a dark secret of her own) add only filler dialog to the proceedings. While the lovely Bella Heathcote, as Barnabus’s love interest from both time periods and the character we follow into the modern story, is all but forgotten not long after the opening credits. And despite the abundance of murky downtime, the finale, as the family bands together to protect their home, is, like the prologue, quite entertaining. But mostly we have two neat looking bookends holding a dusty novel with empty pages.
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