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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dark Shadows


I can't say I'm disappointed with this movie because it was pretty much what I expected it to be. As a fan of the old soap I tried to put away any preconceived ideas about what I thought they should do and just give Tim Burton's vision a chance.

The problem is, the approach didn't work. It makes a few stabs at being a comedy but the jokes come off as an after thought and end up falling flat. There's a bit of a pass at earnestly adapting the show, but it doesn't really have the tone and feel of the old show enough to work as an adaptation. With a few character name changes, this movie could have been anything. If I hadn't heard that Burton and Depp were big fans of the show I would have assumed this was just another redo that fell into the hands of people who didn't know or care much about the source material.

What's sad is there was so much fodder for a fun revamp given that the show was a gothic vampire daytime soap opera. All you really had to do was play it straight to get the laughs, but this was just a standard atmospheric Tim Burton movie with everyone painted and hamming everything to the point that it felt more like famous people playing dress-up. Not that the performances are bad (especially Michelle Pfeiffer, who does her best to class the whole thing up), but it's like they're getting together to do a Halloween haunted house instead of a movie.

Even the music becomes infuriating. Danny Elfman is credited with the score, but it must have been the easiest money he ever made because the movie is crammed with period appropriate pop hits that constantly remind us that the story is set in 1972. It just robs the story of that fun gothic feel that was so great about the show and should have been right up Tim Burton's alley.

I'm happy they got to make the movie they wanted to make, but I'd rather watch the old show or even the 90's revamp series than watch this one.

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