Movie Review (2012)
Film: “Dark Shadows”
Cast: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green
Director: Tim Burton
Tim Burton is in a fun, irreverent mood as he teams up with Johnny Depp once again to give a film that is at the same time a spoof, a satire, pun and celebration of the movies and popular culture.
This piece of filmmaking called “Dark Shadows” will leave you in splits.
After lying locked in for 200 years in a metal box, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) a vampire, awakens in 1972 to find a very changed world. He heads back to the the family Collinwood estate and gets the sagging fortunes of the family together even as he has to contend with his arch enemy Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who loves and hates him to death.
The results, even as he falls in love with the house nanny with ‘ghostly’ problems of her own, are hilarious.
There isn’t much darkness, or too many shadows in “Dark Shadows”. Instead what you have is a very sophisticated critique as well as tribute to the 1970s. Thus, you have the writers and director taking digs at everyone from The Carpenters and ‘ugliest woman’ Alice Cooper to the flower generation’s habit of collective doping.
In the 200-year-old vampire trapped in a time-wrap, Burton finds the perfect candidate to comment on today. The result is extremely entertaining with scenes and dialogues that will leave you in splits.
“Dark Shadows” thus becomes an extremely intelligent spoof of many movies and genres. The obvious is the vampire genre where contrary to the slick, always in command vampire, we have one who is a relic and finds it hard to adjust to the world around him leading to funny guffaws and slip-of-tongues.
It very conveniently and with ease spoofs the “Twilight” series with many dialogues, scene conceptualisation and a werewolf reminding you of the series.
Depp and Burton had always made a good pair. And their partnership shows in this as Burton takes a 70s TV soap opera to churn out a movie that is a spoof of many current films as it is of a generation.
As with any Burton movie, the production design, the costumes, makeup and effects are all first rate, making it a visual, as much as a visceral delight. It successfully blends in different sub-genres: vampire, comic-horror, gothic, family soap, melodramatic, to give a very cheesy, yet satisfying film.
Burton is one of those filmmakers who is unconcerned with any ‘divine’ purpose for making film. He makes films for no other reason than to experiment with grandiose sets, quirky plots and witty dialogues.
He is irreverent, often in-your-face smacking laughter over your stiff lips and always fun. “Dark Shadows” has Burton exhibiting all these elements. It’s a must watch for anyone who enjoys fun, yet intelligent comedies with no other intention but to entertain the vampire out of you.