Film #346: DARK SHADOWS
2.75 out of 5 stars
[Note: I rewatched this as a result of our recent podcast on Tim Burton] Oh, Tim… Forever behind your camera… pushing your Hot Topic-friendly oddball esthetic. Don’t get me wrong… Your visual sense is superb. Despite yourself, you’ve created some truly beautiful cinematic moments, ones that will appear in your “Best Of…” montages until the end of time. Sadly though, someone once told you that your goofy visual look was cool and you believed them. In an unlikely sequence of events, it somehow made you think that what you did was also funny. So, Tim, as someone who’s observed your work since its beginning, I gotta say, buddy… stop it. You’re the polar opposite of funny. You’re like Anti-funny. You’re goofy and infantile and it makes me not like the films that you do. And that’s sad because I really do adore your visual sense. Its spooky tone is one that resonates with me… and I want you – really WANT you - to be good. But then…. You do shit like you did at the end of PLANET OF THE APES. Or you cast Anthony Michael Hall in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Or you don’t slap Johnny Depp when he shows you his ideas for the makeup for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Don’t get me wrong. You can make a good film. I mean, I loved SLEEPY HOLLOW. I liked SWEENY TODD (sorta… you missed the boat on casting, but what's here is better than nothing). PEE WEE… BEETLEJUICE… You’re not a slouch. But yeah… DARK SHADOWS. I’ll say this… The plot is simple. It’s really easy to follow. Very little plot happens, in fact. I mean, I’ve read children’s books with a deeper narrative. Collinswood is beautiful and it rivals the house in Jan de Bont’s THE HAUNTING for the title of Best House in Cinema. That said, by no means, is DARK SHADOWS the utter shit-heap some people would have you believe. Admittedly, the original series was weird and goofy and stumbled throughout its run-time for years. But again, plotwise – don’t get me started. At the end of the day, I did like portions of DARK SHADOWS… it’s weird and goofy albeit not particularly funny, but it does have that sort of element of Burton charm. Viewers should just go in knowing it is certainly not what it could have been, but it is fun and everyone involved seems to be having a good time chewing their portion of scenery. Rentable… but get it SOLELY for the visuals & for the house.