There’s only one movie seeing a wide release this week. I happen to think that’s because studios knew how successful “The Avengers” was going to be and were afraid to challenge it, even in its second week. Probably a smart move, the superhero flick is still going strong and continues to smash records. Yes, that’s a pun.
Here we have another Tim Burton film in which Johnny Depp plays a suspiciously pale, but ultimately endearing character. You know, sort of like “Edward Scissorhands,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Alice in Wonderland,” I’m sure you get the picture. Oh, Helena Bonham Carter’s in it too. Surprise!
In “Dark Shadows,” Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a wealthy playboy in 18th century Maine. Barnabas makes the mistake of breaking the heart of one Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green. It turns out Angelique is a witch, and she seeks revenge by turning Barnabas into a vampire and burying him alive.
Barnabas is inadvertently released in 1972 by a group of workmen who quickly become his first victims. He quickly returns to his old home, the now dilapidated Collinwood Manor, where some distant relatives reside. The family’s fishing business has been bankrupted by competition from the equally immortal Angelique.
The time period was likely chosen because the soap opera the film is based upon ran from 1966-1971. As such, I imagine the film will combine Burton’s signature macabre humor with a whole lot of “look, it’s the ’70s! Also, I’m a vampire!” jokes. I also imagine such a routine will get tiresome quickly. Critics who have actually seen the movie (mostly) agree, “Dark Shadows” is currently sitting at a 44 rating on the Tomatometer, although no concensus has been formed yet.
If you’re going to see one and only one film this weekend, I reccommend “The Avengers.” Yes, even if you’ve already seen it. That said, if you’re a big fan of Burton’s work, especially his collaborations with Depp, you’ll likely enjoy “Dark Shadows” as well.